I Feel Old….
I feel old. I know, I know. Everyone out there is
thinking, what in the world is this guy talking about? He is
only 24-years-old, and he is complaining about being old. He
is not even halfway through his twenties with many, many years
ahead of him. Why would he complain about being old?
Someday he would love to be back in his twenties again.
What's up with that? (Any SNL fans out there?) That is unless
you are in high school like my sister, then I do seem old.
But I digress.
Originally, I had planned on discussing life outside of vet
school. Yes I try to have a life outside of the confines and
tests of second year (operative word in this sentence being
try). I was going to discuss how my wife and I never miss a
home Aggie basketball game (the Ags have won 4 straight, Whoop!),
or how we had a lovely Valentine's Day picnic at the pond by the
Bush '41 Library. But then I made the mistake of turning on
Sportscenter last night. I see that a 20-year-old won the
Daytona 500. While I am not a huge NASCAR fan, I do
know that Daytona is the biggest race all year, the NASCAR Super
Bowl if you will. Here was this kid, I doubt he shaves as
much as I do, and I barely shave, beaming from ear to ear talking
about how awesome it was and how he still couldn't believe that he
had won stock car's biggest race, especially at such a young
age. I felt like a loser. Oh, but it gets better.
Then ESPN, who has apparently garnered the ability to read my mind
through some cerebral cortex implant, decided to drive the knife a
little deeper. They showed a montage of young athletes
winning on the highest level. They had highlights of Magic
Johnson winning the NBA Finals MVP at 20, Ben Rotehlisberger
winning a Super Bowl at age 23, and some other 22-year-old,
starting and winning game 7 of the World Series. I know, each
one of these individuals has more talent in their fingernail on
their little pinkie then I have in my whole body, but man, I felt
like a loser. Add in other youthful stars like Facebook's
founder and I just feel like I haven't done anything with my
Coincidently, my wife and I had been having a similar discussion
earlier in the day regarding this very topic. (I am sure by
now you are wonder what this has to do with veterinary medicine or
veterinary school. I am getting there.) We were
discussing how some of our undergraduate friends were buying new
cars, houses, taking vacations, etc. and we were here in our
lovely, not being sarcastic, 700 square foot apartment here in
College Station, TX. Just to clarify, we are both
happy. The Lord has provided us with more than enough.
We love our apartment, even if I don't have an office or a
desk. We do like College Station. If we didn't live
here, we wouldn't be able to make any of our beloved Aggie
Basketball games. Furthermore, College Station has great
people, a safe and relaxed atmosphere, and a low cost of
living. That doesn't change the fact that we both want to
experience new places, explore different parts of the world, and
well, get on living our lives, but I am here in vet school.
I am not alone. Several of my classmates have shared the
same view. I don't think any of us would trade being in vet
school or would trade our future careers to do anything else.
However, as second year vet students, we are far enough into our
education that the newness of vet school has worn off.
Additionally, we are only second years so we haven't started really
getting into clinical medicine. That starts in the fall. We
are just in this weird bridge period. Our classes are
important, if not the most exciting. Currently, we are
learning how to read blood reports which is highly relevant to
everyday medicine, but it is not the same without a breathing
animal in front of you. Yes, I know, crawl before you walk
and all that jazz, but it is hard not to look at the
accomplishments of those around you and think that you are getting
further and further behind.
This is why it is so hard to get into vet school. This is
why the admissions committee has applicants write essays, fill out
experience forms, and undergo an intense interview process.
They want to make sure that an applicant has the determination,
will power, and fortitude to make it through vet school. In
short, you really have to want it. You know, putting it in
that light, I'm really not that different from Lebron James.
Yes I just went there. No I didn't sign a $100 million dollar
endorsement deal out of high school (boy that would be awesome),
and I don't play a sport for a living. But, we are both
mid-twenties guys who have sacrificed to get where we are and must
sacrifice further to get where we want to go. I know that all
of those star athletes and celebrities I have mentioned above had
to give up a lot to get where they are. They were out of bed
before their peers to work out and practice. They didn't go
out all the time with their buddies because they needed to focus on
becoming the best that they could be. As a vet student, I may
not work out at 6 a.m., but I am up studying. At night when
my friends hit the town, I am huddled around my books or in the
clinics observing a patient. I am doing the same kinds of
things that those guys are doing, only I am not an athlete.
This is the life of a professional. Lebron is a
professional basketball player, and I will be a professional in
veterinary medicine. It takes a special person to become any
kind of professional. That person must sacrifice, especially
in the short term, if they want to maximize their potential.
I believe all professional students (law, vet, medical, etc.)
experience the same kinds of short-term frustrations.
However, I know without a doubt that it will be well worth it in
the end. I am getting into the greatest profession with the
best people on the planet. Lebron may have all the money and
fame now, but I will still be living my dream profession long after
he has retired. I may feel old and behind now, but I will
catch up to my friends soon enough. One day they may even
look in my direction and say, man, look at how much he has done
with his life. As for now, I will get back to my books with a
renewed sense of purpose. Maybe I can be the Lebron of
veterinary medicine, without the Nike endorsement of course.