One of the most tragic events for vet students has turned into a true shining moment for the veterinary community. In the last few weeks, two veterinary students passed away. I had the privilege to know one of these students, Kelly Smith, and my heart goes out to her family here, and to the family of Whitney Engler of UC Davis.
The loss of a colleague has impressed on me the importance of selflessness; in other words, being able to act as a resource for others despite what may be going on in my own life. It’s hit me. Letting the minutia of the day distract me from being attentive to others around me or inhibiting me from simply being a source of support is unacceptable. There are far more important things than a looming exam or task. One professor described his take on practice to me as making everyone feel as if they are the most important person to you at that very moment. Although we had interacted only a few times, Kelly Smith made me feel like a long-time friend and was always so generous in sharing her advice as an upperclass student.
It’s easy to forget in the face of all of life’s challenges, but we are in a professional program and the ultimate objective is to become stewards of our communities. Despite my sadness at the passing of two colleagues, I am proud of the profession that I belong to for coming together. The fellowship of veterinary students and professionals across the country has been inspirational. These past weeks have confirmed that our life is not measured in the years we live, but in the lives we touch.