004: Embracing Failure & Heading Back To Vet School w/ Kelsey Cates


How many times have you changed the direction of your career path? Did you get a degree in one area but decide to chuck it all and completely start over somewhere else? Today’s guest got her degree in cultural anthropology with a certificate in conflict management but is now going back to school in hopes of getting accepted into Veterinary Medicine school.

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Show Notes: 

Kelsey Cates grew up surrounded by small local farms and veterinary medicine as her grandfather ran a successful vet clinic but while she loved animals she wasn’t sure if it was the right path for her. She got her degree, got married and spent a year traveling the world before the passion she felt for vet medicine finally grabbed hold of her and implored her to change everything and start anew again.

We discuss what being a vet med student looks like today, what vet schools are looking for when they are going through the thousands of applications they receive, and how you should never be afraid of failure or the need to change directions every so often.

When was the last time you failed at something? What did you learn from that experience? Leave a comment below!

In this episode:

  • Why learning to pivot in your career choices can lead you to ultimate success and happiness
  • What are vet programs looking for in their applicants
  • How embracing failure can lead to an overall better life
  • Where should you look to find a support system?
  • How taking some time to travel can teach you lessons that will improve your life and career


“We had a lot of heart to hearts; I think traveling with anybody can be difficult and we certainly had some challenges. We had to come to terms with what was not making us happy in our jobs before, what do we want to do, and what are we good at? A blessing and a curse is that we both are spoiled for options in our lives.” (12:51)

“[There are] three major parts of the application. You’ve got the academic side, you need your vet hours, and then she said the third part that everybody doesn’t pay enough attention to is the personal side. What makes you different? What do you do outside of the vet world? What makes you special?” (25:32)

“There are a lot of things we did wrong and we had to start over. It’s humbling and it’s difficult but you realize that ‘Hey, I am fine’. I made it out the other side and I can pick myself back up. I think that was a skill and something that I have had to learn along the way that I didn’t start with. I think it is something that held me back from applying to vet school the first time around and sticking with my original goal of doing a science-based undergraduate degree.” (37:15)


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John Arnold