New York native Peter-James Miller is grateful for his veterinary education. Having been in private practice in Florida for almost 19 years, he has recently published his first novel, which draws on his career.
|Year of Graduation||1999|
Your time at the University
I initially chose the Dick Vet to pursue my veterinary degree because of the vet school’s tremendous international reputation, and the experience to study abroad in the United Kingdom. I will admit that initially there was a bit of culture shock, especially in the nineties when internet technology wasn’t anywhere near the level it is today. I had limited ability to research on what to expect academically, as well as what to expect living Edinburgh.
The learning curve was a little steep in both departments but well worth it. Academically, there were no frequent multiple-choice exams like in the United States. Instead our exams were all essay based, and usually one or two for the entire year’s course.
Adjusting to life in Edinburgh was a bit easier, since I grew up in New York City. Because of this, I seemed to gravitate towards the students who were also from cities, especially those from Edinburgh and Glasgow. I learned that despite being an ocean apart in origin geographically, there was a shared sense of humour that bonded us.
My favourite memories would have to include lambing in the spring, after which I would use the money earned to travel with friends. I also enjoyed the beautiful Scottish country side and regret that I didn’t go hill walking and exploring more often. I would be remiss if I didn’t include enjoying Edinburgh’s night life among my treasured memories of Scotland.
I have always toyed with the idea of writing a book, and last year I finally published my first novel: “Cute Poodles, Sweet Old Ladies, and Hugs.” It’s a comedic look at my veterinary journey, as well as interesting cases and clients.
Your experiences since leaving the University
It seems since graduating, life and time has really flown by. I have been in private veterinary practice in the US (Florida) for almost 19 years now. Of which, I have owned my own practice for the last 11 years.
Having been in private practice, I appreciate the education I received at the Dick Vet even more now. The manner in which I was taught with problem-based learning, and the practical approach to solving clinical cases has been invaluable as a veterinarian. I frequently tell my colleagues, most of who were trained here in the US, that the Dick Vet brought my analytical thinking to another level. I strongly believe that there are few veterinary schools in the world, where I could have received a comparable education.
It also seems time has flown by in my family life as well. I am also now married, and have two young children. My children are, as most parents complain: “growing up way too fast”.
I have always toyed with the idea of writing a book, and last year I finally published my first novel: “Cute Poodles, Sweet Old Ladies, and Hugs.” It’s a comedic look at my veterinary journey, as well as interesting cases and clients. It also includes a bit about my time in Edinburgh. I was surprised by the amount of positive feedback I received from both people in and outside of the veterinary profession. Because of this, and the encouragement of friends, family and most notably my staff, I am now almost finished with my second novel. So, stay tuned for Part II!
For students reading this, I have the same recycled advice that I heard, and that they’ve have no doubt already heard. Maybe, unlike me, they’ll do a bit better taking it to heart reading it here. I’d tell them to appreciate their time in Edinburgh, and time with friends. Take time to travel and enjoy it.
I heard the same advice, and was focused on my goal of graduating veterinary school. Like most young students, especially in a five-year course, I couldn’t wait to be done with university and finally start my career as a vet. One of my classmates and dear friend, Robert Edwards, had a quote from George Bernard Shaw that he would frequently recite during our five-year course: “Youth is wasted on the young.” He’s four years younger than I am, but nonetheless was a lot wiser. I have come to appreciate that quote now more than ever.
Dr Miller's website (external link)