Are You the New Guy from Purdue...
Mar 9, 2011
Are You the New Guy from Purdue?
I wanted to write my first official blog as an introduction (slightly long introduction). I have no real experience writing blogs and frankly have no real idea of what I will talk about. I have an idea of what blogs should be and what people want to read about, but would love to hear from everyone some topics that they would like to see in "From the Recovery Room".
A client was picking up a horse the other day and asked if the "New Guy from Purdue" was here. He had some questions... So over the next few blog posts I hope to answer some of his questions.
My name is Ryan Rothenbuhler. I am the head surgeon here at Conley and Koontz Equine Hospital. I moved to northeast Indiana a year and half ago to help build Indiana's first full service equine hospital and referral center. Before I dive into more of my veterinary experience, I wanted to cover a little bit more about me and how I became a veterinarian. My future blogs over the next few days will cover a little bit more about my training and experiences.
I remember writing my first letter to Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine as a seventh grader at Decatur Central Junior High school on the south side of Indianapolis. It was for an English class assignment. I explained how I had always wanted to be a veterinarian and that I just wanted some information regarding what I would have to do to become a veterinarian. My mom had told me that while other kids wanted to be mountain climbers or garbage truck drivers, I always insisted that I wanted to be a veterinarian. I waited a couple of weeks for a response from the vet school hoping that they would have all of the answers. I finally received a letter and a brochure.
The letter read something like this...
Thanks for your interest in Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. You must first graduate from high school and then go to college.
**Disclaimer** Thoughts portrayed may not be exactly as they appeared in 1989.
That settled it, I was going to go to high school, graduate, and then go to college. I was sure to get into vet school. In the years leading up to high school graduation, I tried to gain as much animal experience as I could through 4-H and other experiences. Sometime during my early teenage years, I decided I was going to buy a horse. My brother and I sold everything we owned to buy our first horse. He was a fast steed. He was rescued out of a Mexican slaughter trailer. Mostly out of his own stubbornness, he taught me everything I know about basic horse care.
In 1994 I graduated somewhere in the top 25% of my high school class and off to Purdue I went to become a veterinarian. That being said I had no idea how many other kids were at Purdue to become a veterinarian as well. During the first couple weeks of college I attended my first pre-vet club meeting. I was 1 kid in a fish bowl of about 600 students who all wanted to be a veterinarian. The very first meeting the speaker stood up in front of all of these kids and basically said if you wanted to get into vet school you had to be better than essentially all of the kids in this room because they only take 60ish students per class. That was my very last pre-vet meeting that I attended. I wanted to do something different. So a couple days later I attended the Purdue Equestrian Team. Up until that point I wanted to be a large animal veterinarian. That was where I officially decided that horses were going to be my career.
The next couple of years were basically keeping my head above water, learning how to study, and enjoying my time at Purdue. I had managed to get through high school and truly had no idea how to study. That wasn't going to fly at Purdue. My first year, was terrible, but I got through it. The second year got better, and the third year got even easier.
During my 3rd year at Purdue I decided that I was going to apply to vet school. I was only going to apply to Purdue my first year and if I did not get in I would open the full onslaught the next year and apply everywhere I could. In February, I was lucky enough to get an interview. That basically meant that now I was 1 fish in a fish bowl of about 200 students, all fighting for 60 spots.
Most people probably don't remember much about their interviews from vet school. They put you in a small room with 2-3 people who drill you for 30 minutes about why you want to be a veterinarian and what you would do if you did not get in. The only real question I remember was, "Ryan, can you tell me what has happened in Chinese politics recently?" I was in shock! I knew the answer! Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese dictator had died the week before. My dad, god love him, handed me a Newsweek before my interview and told me to be current on global news because people loved to ask questions like that to see how well you handled stress. I passed with flying colors. My interview was over and now was the waiting game.
A few weeks later, I received a letter from Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. The real important part before I opened it was...Was it thin or thick? Thin meant you were going to vet school next year, and thick meant you were probably going to be going through the application process again. Well, it was thick. I took my time opening it. It never got any thinner.
I opened it up later that evening to find...
"sorry to inform you, but you have not been accepted to veterinary school, but hey, at least you're an alternate..."
Written on the bottom was a small note that read...
Ryan-- Come see me at your earliest convenience. Denise
I ran to the student services office the next day. Denise who was in charge of student services told me that I had a really good chance to get into vet school, but I had to wait to see how many people did not accept admission. I had to enroll in my senior year of animal science.
Later that summer (July 2) while driving along interstate 74 going to towards Cincinnati, I got a call from the student services. Ryan you have been accepted into veterinary school, but we need to know tomorrow if you accept. As I was driving off the road in excitement, I screamed yes. A short time later, I was arriving back to Purdue University, not as an animal science major, but as a first year veterinary student.