Good gift for a vet student?
December 2, 2010 2:33 PM   Subscribe

My soon-to-be sister-in-law is a first-year vet student, going to school in the UK. I wanted to get her a relevant present for the holidays (something related to being a vet student, perhaps?), but am drawing a blank. There's just a little bit

Other pertinent info: She has a dog who is there with her. She's also craftsy and loves handmade stuff, so I went to Etsy first, but no luck...

All ideas are appreciated!! Even if they don't necessarily relate to vet school, but to something else I've mentioned in my (admittedly brief) description. Thanks!
posted by mingodingo to Shopping (10 answers total)
Does she have her stethoscope yet? I remember when my sister went to vet school that was one of the major purchases but I think she may have had to have it before she started.
posted by missmagenta at 3:06 PM on December 2, 2010

1. I must show love for the original British Kindly Vet author, James Herriot. (Also on DVD!) However agonizing vet school may periodically feel, at least she won't be knee-deep in Yorkshire mud with both arms up an infected cow uterus in the era before penicillin.

2. Good for expats in general: Offer to send her, after the first couple of months, a carebox or series of careboxes with the local foods/toiletries/etc. that she can't find in the UK and will be dying without.
posted by nicebookrack at 3:43 PM on December 2, 2010

Stethoscope is a good idea. I went to vet school in the UK I didn't need mine until 2nd year. Downside is that it's kind of a personal purchase (at least it was for me) - I wanted to buy a quality one (I did and I'm still using it 6 years later) plus I had it engraved.

Is she coming home for the holidays? If not, care packages with American food (Hershey's, Reese's, Twizzlers, Peeps, American penaut butter, Fluff, baking mixes, Kraft Mac and Cheese, etc) never go amiss (check out websites that cater to US expats for more ideas of stuff that people want when abroad).

Black's or Saunders Veterinary Dictionaries are good gift ideas too.

On preview, nicebookrack has it! James Herriot and/or care packages FTW!
posted by peanut butter milkshake at 3:47 PM on December 2, 2010

When I have friends with pets, I love sending things to pamper the pets. Do you have a fancy pet boutique store nearby? A fun new toy can be really awesome.
posted by amtho at 3:51 PM on December 2, 2010

I'll admit, my own immediate thought was also of James Herriot. Perhaps buy her a collection of the books? (Also a fan of Dick Francis, but that's horses specifically, not just animals.)
posted by Stormfeather at 4:20 PM on December 2, 2010

I will second (third?) the stethoscope. When my wife went away to vet school, one of her most treasured (and used) gifts was a very nice stethoscope, a gift from the vet she worked for at the time.

I'd imagine that, on the more extravagant side, a device like an iPad could come in handy these days, modern-classrooms and all.
posted by theplatypus at 4:38 PM on December 2, 2010

I'm going to go against the grain here. If you don't know what kind of nice equipment/text she would like, and don't want to ask her specifically, here is my radical suggestion:

Get her something that reminds her she's more than a veterinary student. Something that reflects other personal interests, or reminds her of home, that she can enjoy in short increments and that doesn't require too much intellectual investment. (Supplies for small crafty projects, DVDs, popular reads that are not related to vet med, tasty foods from home.)

Give her something to support who she is outside of her studies and chosen profession.

No matter how focused and excited she may be, there usually comes a time when students tunnel-vision into a very narrow world, populated by a lot of interesting folk, and it gets harsh--not to mention lonely. The more students' identities and the identities they believe others assign them are tied up with veterinary school, the more they tend to internalize some pretty severe pressure, and will get down on themselves for things that are--in the long view--trivial but don't feel trivial at the time. And it kills me to watch good kids beat themselves up. Not to mention that life will keep going and it's not any kinder to vet students than the rest of us, so there will be life stuff happening, too. She'll need to have a good amount of her identity and self-esteem built on other aspects of her self/life so she can recover from the hard days and temporarily escape the bubble. She'll need to remember that's she's bright and resilient and can roll with the punches, and that she can handle events that will feel like catastrophe in the weird fish-bowl world of professional school. Because she can. She is more than a professional student, and she will be more than a veterinarian.

Support the person before the 'future veterinarian.' I'm telling you as someone who instructs first-year veterinary students, and loves them more than pretty much any other group of people in the world at all, ever: sure, help them with expensive things...but also consider the message you send about how you perceive them.

(ps: kids, if you're reading: we're gonna rock the end of the semester. and then? you do not have to see me for a whole three weeks. I KNOW. I'M REALLY SICK OF ME, TOO. So let's DO THIS.)
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 6:37 PM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Is she large or small animal? If she's large animal a nice warm article of clothing/ footwear will make you very popular.
posted by fshgrl at 7:17 PM on December 2, 2010

Just weighing in because my wife is currently in her last year of vet school here in the states, so I have some experience with making gifts to vet students:

1. The stethoscope: good idea. But, seconding peanut butter milkshake, a good stethoscope is a necessity, is pretty expensive, and should be a personal purchase.

2. Care package: great idea! It's coming up on the end of a semester, so she is probably spending all of her time studying for final exams. Pre-packaged food and snacks to be consumed while frantically studying is something my wife always appreciated.

3. James Herriot: probably not going to be read. My wife has a stack of James Herriot books gifted by various persons over these last four years and I don't think she has read a single page of any of them. Your soon-to-be sis-in-law is getting more veterinary medicine/science/case studies than she can take right now and she will probably not want to include more of it in her recreational reading.

4. My personal recommendation: spa gift certificate or something else related to a chance for her to relax during x-mas break. She is probably under a lot of stress right now and needs something relaxing to look forward to. This is what my wife always asks for. From everybody.

Best of luck to your future sis-in-law!
posted by SugarFreeGum at 6:45 AM on December 3, 2010

My sister in law is a vet. She spends her days up to her neck in animal poo, blood, pee, vomit etc. It is stressful, and vet school was stressful too.

She loves getting nice bath stuff/smellies. When she comes home and switches off, she wants to switch off. I know it's not strictly the way your question was going, but worth a thought.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:41 AM on December 3, 2010

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