With the new first-year class preparing to embark on their veterinary school journeys, I find myself reflecting, yet again on my journey thus far. In doing so, I hope that some of the things that I have learned along the way can serve others.
Keep an open heart and an open mind.
Those of us who choose to pursue veterinary medicine are often planning people. I love to have a to-do list and, even more, I love crossing things off my to-do list. Much of what helped us to be successful and get to this point in our lives was being able to plan for this path. From high school, to undergraduate coursework, clinic experience and accruing veterinary hours, a lot of planning went into bringing us here. The stability and assurance that comes along with planning is great, but I have also learned that so much can come to you when you accept the unexpected and keep an open heart and open mind about the things that come your way. Don’t close off opportunities because they don’t fit perfectly with your plan or vision. Some of my best adventures and experiences were the result of unexpected paths.
Find mystery and awe in what you do.
No matter what you do, look deeper at the world around you. Regardless of the situation you’re facing, we are surrounded by incredible things. For me, sunsets are the perfect reminder that mystery and awe exists every day. Look around you, and no matter how difficult things seem, find something every day that speaks to your soul and reminds you that there is something bigger than all of us out there and we are just one crucial brush stroke of a much larger, insanely beautiful piece of art.
Quiet times are so necessary. Time to recharge and reboot. Time to think. Time to just be. Honor the gift of silence and don’t brush it away as we are so apt to do nowadays. Silence is not a burden. Silence isn’t awkward. Silence is a gift. Remember this in relationships, in stressful situations and in interactions with clients. Sometimes, the most precious gift you can give someone, or yourself, is a bit of silence and an opportunity to be heard.
Remember the passion that led you here.
This journey is an amazing one. Keep the passion that brought you here in the first place alive and don’t lose yourself in the process. You are more than enough, right here, right now. You have done phenomenal things and will continue to use your skills and passion to help others. Don’t forget to also help yourself or seek help from others. You deserve to be accepted, honored and valued, just as you accept, honor, and value the animals and people around you.
We are a community of support and shared passion, welcome!