While in vet school, I couldn’t wait to walk across that stage to get my white coat. It was the bright white light at the end of a very long tunnel, that opened to a new tunnel filled with opportunities and the start of the career I had been waiting for my whole life. I didn’t realize when I got that white coat how it would make me feel important and ready to do everything.
When I first started as an associate veterinarian, that coat was my security blanket. I could walk into appointments with that on and people just KNEW I was the doctor, because I had my fancy white coat. Did it make them believe that I was not twelve years old? Probably not. I walked into an exam room in my first week of practice and basically got shouted at, “What?! Are you Doogie Howser’s daughter?!” Did it make clients trust the new doc on the block? Probably not. No matter what clients thought, it at least reminded me what I was and that was someone who spent eight years in school, a ton of money in student loans, and countless hours working for various barns and vet clinics to get where I am today.
I’ll tell you what, I hardly wear my white coat now. I wear it when I’m cold. I’m so fortunate to have built up a wonderful client base who trust me and know me well enough to not need to see me in a white coat to know I’m a doctor. While my impostor syndrome is still very real sometimes, I also believe that I’m a doctor now–I don’t need a white coat to make myself believe that. I’ve seen what I can do and I know I’m only going to do so many more amazing things in the coming years.