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I have a jam packed summer ahead of me and I am very excited to be able to gain animal and veterinary experience, especially after the difficulties of finding opportunities with the pandemic situation last summer. I was wondering if everyone could weigh in on strategies or ways I could make the most out of my experience?
What kinds of questions should I be asking or knowledge should I have going into volunteering at a clinic? Are there any skills or things to know that would make me a more valuable or active contributor to the clinic environment as a volunteer?
How should I go about asking vets or staff if they are comfortable with being my references?
That's great that you are getting involved and gaining some experience! I would personally suggest asking as many questions as you can! Of course – be conscious and never interrupt a veterinarian during an appointment, when they are speaking with a client or a colleague, or if they are in the middle of a particularly stressful procedure. But as you observe, take note of anything that you don't understand, were confused about, or were curious about finding out more. When the vet is less busy, always ask if now is a good time to ask questions and if yes, ask away! They will be more than happy to ask questions.
In terms of particular skills – always tell someone if you think you made a mistake. It is totally okay that you made it and you will make lots as you learn new skills! But it is extremely important for others to be aware of this mistake and to help you fix it and learn from it. Especially in the animal husbandry industry.
In terms of asking for references – just go for it! Once people have known you long enough and you have built a positive relationship with them, they will be more than happy to provide you with one.