At the end of January, I was transported back in time to the year before when I interviewed at one of my top choices for vet school. I was sitting in the cafe outside of the administrative office waiting for my name to be called to begin the interview process. I was decked out in my business suit, complete with my patent leather heels, looking as professional as I could. I was trying so hard to mask the anxiety and insecurity I was feeling. I was so nervous that I could barely sip my coffee and I hadn’t even touched the muffin sitting on the table in front of me. Vet students were bustling in and out of the little seating area, busily imbibing caffeine. In that moment, I wanted nothing more than to be one of them.
I know that I looked just as nervous as I felt. As I sat there, immersed in my own world of worry, one of the students came up to my table. In her hand, she held a tiny little square of paper. “Hey there,” she said to me, “Are you ready for your interview?” I stammered a, “H-h-hi,” in response and muttered a barely audible, “I think so…” that was anything but convincing. She laughed a little and held out her hand to give me the piece of paper. “Here,” she said, “It has a little inspiration for you. No matter what happens today, just remember to be proud of who you are.” She walked away then to join her classmates that were leaving the cafe. I looked at the tea bag tag which reiterated her words, “Be Proud of Who You Are.”
I will never forget that moment. It’s so easy to keep looking to the future to the “next step” that I often forget to take pride in how far I’ve come. In that moment, all I wanted was to fast forward, to be a vet student—so much, in fact, that I was blind to all the reasons I had to have confidence. Her words resonated with me. Be proud of who you are. Not who I might be. Not who I thought I should be. But who I was in that moment. If we saw each other again, I’m sure neither of us would recognize the other, but she, unknowingly, made such a difference in my life that day. She didn’t need to say anything to me, but she did.
You never know whose life you are going to impact. So to all of you, I offer a virtual version of the inspirational tea bag tag because sometimes we can all use a little reminder to, “Be Proud of Who You Are!”