As a resident at an academic institution, a major part of the job is teaching the veterinary students. I love this part, probably because I have such fond memories of being a student myself and having the radiology residents at the time teach me whatever they could. What I enjoy even more than teaching veterinary students is mentoring our first-year radiology residents. I do not know that I have a specific reason for enjoying this part of the job so much. There is at least some selfishness ascribed to it, of course: having someone look up to you for answers on complicated cases is at the very least flattering. This can also be very nerve-racking, as there is a certain amount of pressure to be “right” and not let them down. I enjoy being a part of their learning process and giving them advice in areas in which I struggled a year prior or concepts with which I still currently struggle.
All of the mentors that I have had throughout my life have been so selfless, encouraging and helpful in getting me to where I am today, that it is my opinion that the way in which I am able to keep that legacy going is by paying it forward. Admittedly, I am not always the greatest teacher, either due to my lack of knowledge, sleep, coffee, patience, or any combination of the four on any given day. I frequently have to remind myself to pay my good fortune forward. It is not every day that you get the chance to achieve your lifelong goals and none of this could have happened had someone not told me they believed in me many years ago.