Finding the Joy
I'm sure we all remember when we opened our acceptance letter to
veterinary school. I admit, I screamed. Our hard work had finally
paid off! All the sweat, blood, and tears that went into filling
out applications, taking the GRE, and slaving over books had been
worth it. For many of us this was the fulfillment of a lifelong
dream. I talked to the teacher who screened me for kindergarten
about hippopotamuses, and told my second grade teacher that if I
could have more of anything, I would pick cats. Acceptance to vet
school meant I got to work with animals every day for the rest of
my life! What many of us didn't realize, however, is that
veterinary school is the beginning of a journey, not an end.
I see the first years in the fishbowl every day waiting for
anatomy and remember how much of a shock that class was for me. I
became discouraged really fast when I realized I had to learn every
little bump on every little dog bone when the only thing I was
familiar with was a human funny bone. Even now, though I've learned
to tolerate the "drinking out of a fire hose" amount of
information, I still worry about setting up externships for fourth
year, organizing my wet lab for ZEW, and networking to find a job.
Being in school is like a full time job, except it doesn't end at
five when you leave the building. It's easy to become
However, even when life's worries pile up, I have to remind
myself that I have so much to be thankful for. I've already had so
many great experiences! Just today I got to do my first surgery on
a goat. How cool is that?? And last week, I did my first thorough
eye exam on a horse. I felt pretty grown up using all the fancy
instruments with some authority. This summer I went to the
northeast and learned the basics of marine and aquatic medicine,
which included penguin handling and seal phlebotomy. Those are
experiences I'll never forget.
Besides, we have to remember that veterinary school is not just
about the animals; it's about the people as well. Some of my very
best friends are fellow students. We're in class together, we study
together, and we hang out every weekend. They understand what it's
like to cry over a physiology test or to get excited about
palpating a cow. And it's not just the students that make life
great, my professors have been fantastic mentors and friends. The
relationships I develop here are priceless, and I should treasure
every moment I have to spend with my future colleagues.
Though tests can get stressful, it pays to remember why we're in
veterinary school, and how excited we were to get in. For, as Louis
L'amour said, "The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail.
Travel too fast and you miss all you were traveling for."