Maya And The Imaginary Veterinarian

It was the summer after 4th grade. My mom had just gotten home from work with exciting news that she had a surprise for my brother and me. She said we had to wait until the weekend to find out what it was. Anxiously awaiting for Saturday to come, there was literally nothing I could do but wonder what it was. When the day finally came, we jumped in the car and were on our way. Every ten minutes, but what seemed like hours, I would ask “Are we there yet???” and the answer was always “not yet!” After six hours of driving, we finally pulled up in front of a house in some random neighborhood. My mom covered my eyes as we walked inside the house to the backyard. When she finally let go, all I could see was about a dozen white puppies. I knelt down to eagerly pet them when all of a sudden, one jumped on my back. I instantly became a proud owner of a pure bred white German Shepard; I named her Maya. I took full responsibility of her.  I walked, bathed, fed and best part, played with her more than anyone else. At that time in my life, Maya was my main priority. I loved her so much, I didn’t know what I would do if anything bad were to have happened to her. I have loved animals for as long as I can remember, but the unconditional love that I felt for Maya was the driving force behind my career choice on becoming a Veterinarian.

I became interested in this field because I really enjoyed the idea of being able to help animals. I can say with certainty that every person at some point in their life has pondered the question, what if animals could talk? The only fact that can be said about that question is its answer…they can’t. The thought of being able to help the helpless seems so gratifying.

I started my studies at San Francisco State University in 2006. Although I had always contemplated following the path towards veterinary medicine, the what seemed like bottomless pit of degree options left me undecided. For four years I struggled with trying to figure out with what exactly I wanted to do. As I came close to completing my GE courses, I realized that I was running out of time to declare a major. I went into the advising office with hopes that someone would be able to point me in the right direction. I spoke with an advisor and told him that the only thing that I really ever thought about doing was studying veterinary medicine.  I understood the competitiveness and difficulty of veterinary school but expressed to him that I was thinking about giving it a shot. He told me that I have wasted too much time and I would be setting myself up for failure with veterinary school. The advisers’ pessimistic attitude left me feeling overwhelmingly discouraged and even more indecisive then before.

Despite my uncertainty, I declared my major in Biology in the Fall semester of 2010. With a concentration in Zoology, I decided to venture down the path of pursing veterinary medicine. Throughout my involvement as a Zoology major, I have had the pleasure to take a variety of courses. These spread from broad sciences, such as general biology and animal physiology, to more specific classes like Ornithology and Entomology. My experiences within these courses have been far from easy. I found the extensiveness of general sciences to be a bit more challenging. The wide range of material  being taught was not only hard to retain but difficult to stay engaged with. Upper division courses on the other hand were much more interesting. Majority of them came in pairs containing a lecture and a lab. These were the courses where I gained valuable learning experiences. The hands on experience given by lab courses helped deepen my understanding and appreciation. The dispassionate attitude that I had towards college during my first few years at SFSU has completely developed into quite the opposite. Now that I am graduating this December, I am not ready to leave.

The wide spectrum of courses and experiences throughout this seven year college journey has sadly left me dazed and confused. Pursuing veterinary medicine has traveled from an exciting idea to a reality but has sadly fallen into a lost hope. I wanted so badly to prove that advisor wrong; I wanted to show him that I am capable. However, the seven years that I have spent studying and doing homework has strained me practically empty. Veterinary school is not only extremely competitive, but very extensive and expensive. My childhood dream will remain just that, a dream.

There is one thing that I cannot allow myself to do, which is exit college just as indecisive as I entered. Although my dream of helping animals as a veterinarian has almost fallen off my radar, I know one thing is for certain; I want to help someone. Working well under pressure, my career choice is now leaning towards working my way from an EMT to a paramedic. Yes this will involve more schooling and extensive training, but it will be much more reachable and just at rewarding.

Receiving a college diploma has always been such an unfathomable idea, but as graduation lies just a few months ahead, I am happy to say that I had an amazing, yet directionally challenged, journey that has pointed me in the right direction.

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