Staff Profile: Balancing Work and School

This blog was written by Kaitlyn Sammut, VA at North Hill Animal Hospital.  Kaitlyn is currently fulfilling her dream of going back to school to become a Registered Veterinary Technician while balancing life and a full time job.  We are very proud of her and thought it was an experience that she could share with other people who may be looking to go back to school while continuing with a full time job.


Many people today, especially young adults like myself, are very particular about their career. We want to make sure we enjoy it, it makes us feel fulfilled, and will provide an adequate living. I am currently a Veterinary Assistant at North Hill and while I do enjoy my job, I had a desire for something more; I wanted to be a Registered Veterinary Technician.


The difference between these two careers is quite substantial, with greater responsibilities of being more medically involved in the care of our patients and further educating our clients. The greatest complication in fulfilling this goal is being able to support myself financially while simultaneously going to school. I decided to enroll in the Animal Health Technician distance education program out of Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia. This program allows and requires you to work at a veterinary clinic while earning your diploma. It is 3 years long (opposed to the typical 2) and you complete 2 courses a semester and have 3 semesters a year.


Now I had a whole other issue on my hands, I had to learn how to balance full-time work with full-time school. Let me tell you this was not an easy task.


It takes a lot of self-control. For example, I don’t see my family or friends as often as I would like. After an exhausting shift, going home to do the dishes and walking the dogs, studying for a midterm is the last thing I feel like doing. This is the stressful territory of working while going to school. The way I look at it is, it doesn’t matter which way you earn your education, you’re going to be stressed. School isn’t an easy thing but the best things are the ones worth working hard for.  I ask my friends to hang out on my months off, I take advantage of long weekends to visit my parents, and sometimes the dogs just get to play in the backyard instead of going to the park.


The benefits that have come out of earning my diploma this way are my strengthened communication skills; I had to put myself out there to learn, I asked questions, I asked to be taught, and I asked to try. I will come out with more hands on and real life experience than, in my opinion, any regular program could have given me. I am now about to enter my second semester of my final year and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.


By: Kaitlyn Sammut, VA