My story starts a little bit different then most future veterinarians. I grew up as the daughter of a mother who was a nurse and a father who was a nurse, paramedic, and firefighter. As a little girl, I looked up to my parents and thought that one day I would follow in their footsteps. In middle school, I decided I would go to medical school and become a doctor. This decision was made mostly because of my parents. My dad could of and should have gone to medical school, but he realized his passions very late, so i figured I would accomplish it sort of "in his honor". Soon though, I realized that something was missing. And it took me years to figure out what that something was.
Soon after my seventeenth birthday, I was laying in bed, watching videos online of animals. I have always had a special connection with animals ever since I was a little girl. And then... it just hit me. I wanted to work with animals so much more than people. I know what your thinking, it could just be a phase. But you know when something just hits you, like a lightning bolt, and you just know that this is your destiny? That is exactly how I felt and still do to this day.
After a new light had awoken inside of me, it was time to study. I finally enjoyed learning about my future career. Goodbye human biology and hello animals! I was actually enjoying learning everything I could, and that still has not changed to this day.
A month went by, when I saw an ad online: "University of Florida Vet School Open House 2018", I knew I had to go. The University of Florida has been my dream school since the womb, and to prove it, I had moved to Gainesville just a few months prior.
When the day finally arrived, being excited was an understatement. Walking into what would hopefully be my future school, felt like a dream. I made sure i did not miss a thing, and took everything in. Talking with current vet school students only made my dream stronger. They encouraged me to keep working hard, and one day I could be where they are now. I soaked in every moment, and it is an experience that I will never forget.
Fast forward to a month later, I was researching for high school summer vet programs. I came across a company by the name of Broadreach. They offered a three week trip to Costa Rica for a veterinarian experience. I had found summer programs similar in the past, but never had the opportunity to participate. But I knew, this was something that I had to do. I needed to prove to myself and my family that I could travel to another country by myself, which I had never done before, so that I could become closer to my dream.
After months of hard work and tons of determination, it happened. I went to Costa Rica and learned so much, I never thought I would know this much until vet school. I got hands on experience like no other, which I thought I would not even get until I was a vet myself. This trip put my dream into an even bigger spotlight in my life. It is now the thing that keeps me going. Animals are my life and I will do anything I can to help protect them, take care of them, and make sure they have the life that they deserve. This is my purpose in life.
Now, I am getting ready to start school again. Being a homeschool student, I have the flexibility to work with animals almost anytime that I want. I currently volunteer at my local animal shelter, a primate sanctuary, a wildlife sanctuary, and a bat sanctuary. I even work with a program that spays and neuters feral cats in the community. I will be able to perform these surgeries before I even get to vet school! I am also getting ready to start applying to the vet school summer programs for next summer.
All in all, I have figured out my life's work at just seventeen years of age. All of this happened in just a span of eight months, and I could not be prouder of myself. My dreams are coming true and I cannot wait for my future.
Thanks for taking the time to read my story, Meghan.
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