I have wanted to be a vet since I was a small child. I honestly can’t remember a time when I, realistically, wanted to be anything else. I’ve mulled it over, tossed it around, muddled through excuses and explanations, and ultimately come to the conclusion that being a Vet is what I was literally born to do. That and gardening (but that’s a different blog). In high school I was convinced that I would go to college, get into a pre-vet program, and graduate directly into UCDavis. But instead I went to Chapman University (a very good school), dropped out of their Biology major and into Sociology.
I knew that it would be much more difficult to make my dream come true by switching majors, but I didn’t really care. Living seemed like a much more important step than making future me happy (what with dying meaning there was no future me to make happy). I struggled through several different health concerns (some stress related) and graduated with a BA in Sociology with a minor in English (because I took all the classes for fun and thought it silly to waste it).
As you can tell, I interrupt myself a great deal (usually with parenthetical asides), but this is much easier to read than my former internet writing style of “stream of consciousness”…which used many ellipses and few paragraph breaks…pretty mind numbing but much easier to type.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand. With my shiny new bachelors degree burning a hole in my pocket, I went about looking into following my dream or whatever. I realised at that point that getting into a US school was going to take a full year of Organic Chemistry (dun dun DUN!) and Physics (even WORSE) so I looked out of the country. In high school my best friend and I had joked about going to New Zealand for our undergrad to study with the hobbits in Middle Earth. Surprisingly enough that very same school has a very good veterinary program, and is accredited in more countries than I care to remember or recite. I applied to Massey University’s pre-vet selection semester, hoping to take the prerequisite one semester of O.Chem and Physics, pass everything with flying colours, and then become an amazing vet.
That didn’t work out so well. My first year out of the country consisted of procrastination, freezing, and homesickness. I spent more time talking with people back home than I did studying, and my grades reflected that. C+ in O.Chem, C+ in Physics, B+ in Bio of Cells, B+ in Bio of Animals. All passing, and all acceptable. Everything just depended on the other applicants (about 40 trying for 14 spaces) and how well they had studied. I knew quite a few who had turned to drinking and partying instead of studying, a number who found a passion for another subject and moved on, and some like me who just missed the marks we needed. I waited with baited breath for my email. I did not get in.
Crushed, I flew home a week later and wallowed in self pity for about two weeks. Then I pulled my head out of my ass and decided to give it another go. If I could bring my grades up to A’s (preferably A+’s) I had a fighting chance. With this plan in my head I applied for classes and went back for a second try, same semester. This time I was ready, and (most importantly) not taking any chem classes. I studied hard and kicked academic butt, discovered a passion for genetics and animal science (big surprise right?) and a loathing for plants (remember that gardening thing up top? yeah I don’t get it either…maybe its a sick control thing…or I like killing their babies when I eat the fruits of my labor…not sure). A+ Introduction to Animal Science, A- Psychology as a Natural Science, B+ Human Genetics, B+ Plants.
Again I waited for my email.
Again, they denied me.
Crushed for a second time, I wallowed in a delicious shot of Glenfiddich 17 yrs for about an hour, went to bed, and woke up determined again to make my dream come true (with some nagging from my very wonderful and supportive boyfriend). I called the “international pre-vet handler” and asked how close I had been. She sounded genuinely surprised that I had not made the cut. We worked out that if I had another equally good semester that my chances of getting in the next try were very good. I determined that if I got straight A’s I would take a semester off and see family and friends and enjoy one last summer in So Cal.
Back to school I went. Studying even harder, keeping to a strict sleep schedule, eating proper, and scheduling in relaxation time when needed. A+ in Biology of Mammals, A in Psychology as a Social Science, A in Biochemistry of Cells, A in Animal Health, Behaviour, and Welfare. I got my Straight A’s and was staying home for the first semester of the next year.
I worked the Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire with my friends and family, enjoyed Christmas parties and celebrated my birthday. I worked the Corona Renaissance Festival with one of my dearest friends, reconnected with an old friend thought lost, and visited my bestie (the one who planted the seed of Massey in my head in the first place) up in Oregon. I thoroughly enjoyed my time home, especially the sunshine. I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted as often as I wanted, but I saw them all at least once. On the day that I was to receive my email of acceptance (or denial) I went to an Irish pub and surrounded myself with friends, family, booze, and good food. At 8:45 pm PST I received my email and at 8:46 pm PST pulled my brain out of wherever it had gotten to and shouted to everyone gathered that I was going to be a vet. I also swallowed a fuzzy and coughed for the next 5 minutes. The universe is just trying to keep me humble I guess. We celebrated that night with Guinness, Whiskey, and Cider. My darling sister bought my Guinness, my dearest brother bought me my Whiskey, and someone else had the cider. I stayed up long past my bedtime, and early the next morning was up and ready to do the things required of me to officially accept the offered place.
Two days later I was on a plane headed for Palmy, and now I’m here, freezing my butt off wondering what in the world possessed me to do this the hardest way possible. Whatever it was, I’m mostly glad of it because it has brought me to this beautiful country and allowed me to meet some wonderful people. Everything isn’t puppies and kisses (though there are lots of animals in my life now), but I’ll take what I can get.
School starts in 5 days. I am going to try to update this blog daily with my adventures in Vet School (the weird things people say/do, the heartbreak, the loneliness, the craziness, etc). Some days I will likely be too tired to write more than small posts, and other days I will wright super long 1,000 word pieces to make up for them. For the most part I just hope I remember to write every day.
Now you know where I came from, lets get to where I’m going.