As a second-year veterinary school student, I think I can speak for everyone when I say that veterinary school has a funny way of warping your priorities in life.
With the high volume of information and stress that students are typically under, it’s very easy to let things like sleep, self-care, and maintaining relationships fall to the wayside in favor of reviewing just one more lecture or finishing just one more assignment until you look up to find that it’s midnight.
This was the unfortunate cycle I found myself in just two weeks ago as I tried to catch up on school after missing a week because of the flu. I likely would’ve continued this way until at least Spring Break.
However, life had other plans.
Friday, Feb. 21, found me not carefully following my meticulous study schedule like I had planned for the weekend but holding the hand of my best friend in the emergency room.
She had been experiencing shortness of breath for a couple of weeks but, as we all do, decided to attempt to manage her symptoms the best she could until we had a break in exams. If she was still experiencing issues at that point, she would go to the doctor to see about getting treatment, since it was more likely something like bronchitis rather than allergies.
Neither of us could have ever been prepared when the doctor informed us they had found a mass roughly the size of an orange sitting in the center of her chest and the cause for the shortness of breath she was experiencing was likely cancer.
In that single instance, my priorities completely rearranged.
No longer was I worried about the upcoming assignment that was due or catching up. My No. 1 priority became doing anything and everything I could to support my best friend.
The next 48 hours were a blur of family, meetings with doctors, discussing hospital possibilities, and developing a plan of action. As we progressed through the week, faculty members and our classmates were informed of the events of the weekend.
I am still in awe of the response. I watched as my classmates completely reorganized their lives, and the hours that were normally spent secluding ourselves in a study bubble were readily forgotten in favor of organizing events to support my best friend, which became top priority.
The way our CVM family has come together to support one of our own has been an amazing reminder that we are all here for the same dream, but we can’t accomplish that dream alone. Dreams and goals are so important, but they are nothing compared to the people beside us.
May you all remember to look up from the books once awhile and take in the life around you…because life comes at you fast.