Getting a jump on his dream

IHS grad gains early admission to veterinarian school.

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January 28, 2020 - 12:51 PM

Iola High School graduate and current K-State student Jack Eyster poses with his faithful feline companion, Buddy. COURTESY PHOTO Photo by

Jack Eyster, who graduated from Iola High School last May, has recently earned an Early Admittance Fellowship from the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Only 17 students were selected to receive this prestigious honor. 

When asked what inspired him to pursue a career as a vet, Eyster said that rather than one pivotal experience, there were many, but added, laughing, that he was influenced by “whoever I found on the street and bringing them home for mom and dad to deal with.” 

Eyster was also inspired to pursue a veterinary career based on his time working at the Iola Animal Clinic, as well as taking part in Future Farmers of America and various livestock competitions. He especially enjoyed “assisting with grooming, learning proper treatment and handling, working with large animals inside and outside, and experience at the sale barn.”

One of the benefits of the K-State fellowship is that it provides automatic acceptance into graduate school, provided one meets certain requirements. These requirements are noteworthy, though, as they go far beyond simply getting good grades to encouraging significant community involvement.

Being a veterinarian means being part of a community, remarked Eyster, and so students in the program are “working to develop social skills as well.”

In order to obtain the fellowship, Jack had to fill out a lengthy application, attend an in-depth interview, and much more. For instance, he wrote an essay focusing on his lawn-care business in Iola, especially on the customer service he provided. This focus was rewarded by the college, as when it comes to being a successful vet, he said, “communicating with an animal’s owner is as important as working with the animals themselves.”

In fact, Eyster later added he thought that communication was the most important part of being a good vet, period, both with animals and their owners.

He said he’s not 100 percent sure what he plans to do with his veterinary degree, but this is mostly because there are so many options available to vets that most people don’t realize. For example, there are careers connected to nutrition, vaccination, disease research, testing, and more. As he put it, “the range of opportunities excites me,” especially since “there are animals everywhere” and so one can live almost anywhere.

Eyster did add, however, that he’d “like to work with large and small animals in a rural setting.” So although he’d not yet decided, he said  he’d “definitely consider coming back” to southeast Kansas or Allen County rather than having a “get-out-of-here kind of mentality.”

When asked what appealed to him about rural places, he pointed out how they’re “not so crowded,” and that there isn’t “the congestion or traffic.” He also emphasized how much he enjoys “the sense of community” and “the interactions between people,” in particular, how people know one another’s names, where they’re from, what they do outside of work, and so on.

“It’s a lot easier to feel alienated in an urban community than in a rural one,” Jack contended.

And he’s not only concerned about what makes “human animals” like himself happy and healthy, but about the emotional and psychological health of animals as well. “People having stressors can affect healing,” he noted, “and it’s the same for animals.”

This helps explain why, then, when it comes to him caring for beings of all kinds, especially cats, which are his favorite, “a lot of what I’m thinking about is what the animal is thinking about.”

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