Sometimes, in the middle of a particularly mind-numbing lecture about gastric motility or glomerular filtration, I find myself longing for the long, hectic hours I’ll spend as a new vet in my first job. Yes, I know that those first few years of life as a new grad will be exhausting in all meanings of the word—physically, mentally, and emotionally. I know that my biggest battle in my first few years of practice will be about building and maintaining my self-confidence as a diagnostician, surgeon, and professional. And I know that I’ll be feeling the pinch when it comes time to start paying off my loans.
It may seem counterintuitive, or just plain crazy, that I look forward to the emotional distress and exhaustion that awaits me in the future. But with that comes the opportunity to do the thing I love: veterinary medicine. I’ll get to form friendships with the amazing families in my community. I’ll get to watch the lives of a beloved family member unfold, as it progresses from a wiggly puppy to a devoted canine senior citizen. I’ll get to share information with my community that will increase a pet’s comfort, while improving animal health and the health of owners and community members by extension. I’ll get to apply the knowledge I’ve gained by studying subjects I love—science and medicine—to solve everyday mysteries. I’ll get to save lives.
Professors and guest lecturers often mention that we’ll grow to miss our vet school days, between the classmate comraderie, the excitement of learning, and the access to fantastic academic resources and other opportunities. But for the moment, I’ll take a break from the overwhelming information of gastrointestinal histology. I’ll lean back, close my eyes, and continue daydreaming.