This is going to sound lame, but when the idea of embarking on this vet school journey first occurred to me, I pondered it for a long long time. A long time. I don't take big decisions lightly because (you may have gotten this from reading this blog) quitting and/or failure are akin to a death by fire for me. In the end, what ultimately made my decision for me was something intangible. Something tiny. Vet school is a lot of debt and a lot of hard work, and did I really want to do this? I mean, I SAW the animals who needed help and I KNEW I had all the tools to accomplish my goals, but this was a pretty big mountain... and not all of it was within my control (obviously.) Was I willing to deal with all of that? The more I thought about it, the more I warmed to the idea. I tossed it out to a couple of people whose opinions I trusted, and instead of mercilessly making fun of me, they seemed supportive. Like maybe I COULD do it?
What tipped the scales for me was an image. A sort of picture of what I wanted for the future. (To recap, a large part of this decision was based on a fantasy. Argh. There goes the whole "logical" thing I try to stick to.) There's not a whole story entwined in this image, it's just a clear picture of a moment in time, and it hasn't changed in almost four years. (Even with my aging and failing memory.)
As someone who never really had career goals... who wanted nothing more than to be "happy," I didn't really take this image seriously at first. I mean, it doesn't encompass ALL of the reasons why I want to do this, does it? And even when I wanted to start this road, it was huge and daunting and scary and all sorts of unknown. I cried about it (surprise!) to a friend who told me to just make a list and get started. So I did. And this image... it sort of faded in the daily grind of ochem and applications and interviews and certainty that I was never going to get accepted.
In this image, it's almost like I'm watching TV where I'm the main character. I'm wearing scrubs. My hair is long and tied back in a ponytail. (It also has some curl to it, which is completely unrealistic and I attribute that to complete dreaming.) I have a stethoscope around my neck and a white doctor's coat on, so I know I'm a vet. I'm talking to a patient. My scrubs are a bright blue and they're a size small. I'm not smiling, but I just know I'm happy. I look happy. And fulfilled. Is that possible? The most embarrassing part? I'm wearing a ridiculously sparkly diamond on my left hand.
(Who knew I really did want to get married?)
It's probably a ridiculously idealized image of my future. I'm under no illusions that being a veterinarian will be easy, or that I'll be happy all of the time. But this snapshot... it just stays in my mind.
Soooo... let's recap. To accomplish this I need to:
-Get in to vet school (check!)
-Actually GRADUATE from vet school
-Fit into scrubs that are a size small
-NOT cut my hair
-Find a job after graduating from vet school that allows me to work with clients
-Help underprivileged animals (I'm assuming this will take care of the "fulfilled" part, right?)
Seems manageable enough. (Gulp.)
(I didn't put 'get married' on there because I can buy my own sparkly diamond if need be. So there.)