The start of senior year as a biomedical sciences student is an exciting time. This will be my last football season to sit in the student section, many of my friends are getting “big kid” jobs and moving across the state (sometimes across the country!), and, on top of it all, I am applying to veterinary school.
Knowing that I wanted to be a vet since I was 7 years old, I spent the majority of my time growing up and as an undergraduate pursuing that goal. I have so much passion for this field and I have worked so hard, but how do I put all of that into words on an application? While inputting every activity, calculating every hour, and writing every essay, I can’t help but feel that years and years of energy, growth, and preparation have all led up to this moment. It can be exciting! But, more often than not, it’s scary and it’s stressful.
Summoning the courage to hit the final “submit” button on these applications has taught me a few things. One, my grades do not define me. Two, I have the best support system in the world. And three, it’s OK that I don’t have it all figured out.
Of course, grades are the most important part of college. After all, school is the whole reason any of us are here. In preparing for vet school, though, I have found that experiences matter just as much. Whether these experiences stem from plunging head-first into a 16-hour semester, volunteering out of your comfort zone, or shadowing in a veterinary field you thought you had no interest in, it all begins to shape you. Now, being a senior, the way I view and approach my classes has changed drastically since my freshman year. My courses are no longer daunting obstacles that stand between me and my goals but tools to help me get where I want to be. It is a wonderful feeling when suddenly class work has apparent, real-world applications, just as great, in fact, as realizing that the only reason you understand a metabolic pathway in biochemistry is because the underlying concepts were taught in CHEM 101. In other words, my classes have become part of my experiences. Through coursework, just as with extracurricular activities, I have found topics I enjoy and want to pursue, along with topics that do not intrigue me as much. I give the same piece of advice to every prospective student who takes a tour with me of VBEC: your classes have to interest you. The “A” on an official transcript may not have made me who I am, but the intellectual expansion and inspiration gathered from that class did.
College is a time of major change. My family has always been the most important part of my life, and I had to leave them three hours behind in Arlington to attend A&M. Breaking out of your shell to make college home and find new friends is hard, but once you do, they are friends for life. Between school, work, shadowing, and volunteering, my schedule can be hectic. Fortunately, my friends and family have been my biggest fans throughout the entire vet school application process. Be it with dinner dates, long phone calls, or simply studying with me, they have found ways to be sources of constant encouragement. In turn, they have taught me to be a better friend and support system to those around me.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I have realized that my career goals are dynamic. Growing up with horses, I had always thought of being a large-animal veterinarian. Now, thanks to fun trips I have taken, incredible people I have met, and unique opportunities I have had, I want to go into veterinary research. Though I am fully confident that this is what I want to do with my life, I could not tell you what kind of research I want to do; I only know what interests me. Vet school will be a new, wonderful chapter in my life, and I am positive it will change my perspective and bring my attention to new areas of focus. I may not know exactly where I will be in five or 10 years, but I do know that I am following my passion and am on the right path.