I recently ran into a friend I hadn’t seen since high school. When I told her I was preparing to start veterinary school, she smirked as she told me she couldn’t see me doing anything else. “I remember you making us sleep with your giant golden retriever whenever I slept over!” she said. I guess I never thought twice about that–of course, the dogs sleep in the bed!
I was lucky to be raised in a family that fostered my love of animals from a young age. The dogs were my shadows and growing up in sunny Arizona they were the perfect companions for hiking, swimming, and long runs. I had fish, hermit crabs, and even caught lizards in my backyard. My mom and I would walk to feed the ducks near our house and we were regulars at the Phoenix Zoo, where I was a camper in their summer programs. From there, I turned into an elementary school girl who at birthday parties was probably chasing your cat under the bed or petting your dog while also crawling into its kennel. You know, normal party behavior.
Although my love for animals has been a part of who I am since I was little, I didn’t always want to be a veterinarian. I actually began undergrad as a journalism major on the pre-medical track while also dabbling in business classes. I remember shadowing my first doctor, an orthopedic surgeon. I spent the night before reading about the surgery he was performing, so excited to get a taste of what my future could be. I went to my advisor after shadowing, and although I was grateful for the experience, I just didn’t feel a passion for medicine. I was a college athlete and when I was on the soccer field I felt a spark that I also wanted to feel in my future career, and it just wasn’t there in human medicine. He recommended I talk to a veterinarian based on my love of animals. I was hesitant, not wanting to have to see sick animals. But I remember immediately falling in love after my first shadowing experience. I was so impressed watching the doctors solve problems based on very little information and liked how intimate the relationships with their clients could be. I was sold!
I’ve been aware of Iowa State’s Veterinary School for as long as I can remember. My grandpa was a proud alumnus from the veterinary program and he went on to be a faculty member for years. Although he passed away, I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to spend the next four years pursuing my dream in a place where I feel his presence the most. I’m so excited for this next chapter of my life in veterinary school and cannot wait to keep you posted about my experiences through Vet Student Stories! There truly is nothing else I could see myself doing other than veterinary medicine.