Every veterinarian has a coming of age story that defines their growth and maturity as a doctor—a turning point, defined by an intense moment or transient realization, resulting in recognition of their ability and respectability in their field of practice. The field of veterinary medicine is diverse, as we know, so prominence can be had in an array of fields, and it is this prominence that is highlighted in every veterinarian’s story.
These stories carry weight and significance. They’re all interesting, and they’re all worth discussing. Even for people outside of veterinarian medicine, everyone has a story, and every story has a teachable lesson or two.
My backstory isn’t that special or unique. I’m sure others have had the same story, or some variation of it. Perhaps there is a new lesson someone could glean from it, but if not, I would hope it encapsulates the reality that, if I could become a veterinarian, anyone can. All you must do is work hard, keep your head down and mind open, take constructive criticism seriously, and always be yourself. Just do you. Quietly, in the back of your mind, always remember everything happens for a reason and very few things truly matter at all.
I started college with a 2.8 GPA, lost my scholarship, reorganized a little bit, got a degree in ecology and conservation, and seriously considered a PhD in ecology. But I didn’t want to sit in a lab all day behind a computer crunching numbers and doing statistics. Obviously, there’s more to a career in ecology and conservation, but a life of statistics scared me (and it still does). I loved medicine and physiology, in addition to my almost instinctual interest in the natural world, so I figured veterinary medicine would be an effective compromise. I could practice clinical medicine (currently as a surgery intern) and with free time I could still get involved with projects and research in the realm of ecology and conservation. In the years to come, I could only hope to get even more involved at the international level with ecology, conservation, and wildlife protection. How, I’m not too sure, but that’s the fun part about keeping an open mind and letting things happen as they happen.
All veterinarians have a backstory. We all come from somewhere and we all navigate this career in our own way. It’s an adventure for sure and it’s all worth something. It’s interesting to think how versatile our lives can be, we can do so much in wildly diverse settings because we are trained to do so. It’s nice to know that we can be quite autonomous in our career, if we choose to be so. How freeing and comforting that feels as time goes on and our hair grays!
Read more by Andrew.