The Dog Zombie is currently in veterinary school. She figures she will be a veterinarian for at least five years before changing careers again. You can read her blog at http://dogzombie.blogspot.com/
Yesterday I went to five farms with a cow veterinarian. I put a needle into a sick cow’s vein so she could be given medication, and I assisted in surgery on another cow right there on her farm, not in a hospital. The day before that I spent eleven hours in a veterinary emergency room, seeing cases with the doctors. I did physical exams on dogs and cats, and talked to their owners to find out why they had come in to the ER. One year from now, I will finish vet school and be a veterinarian.
These are things I never thought I would be able to do when I was you. I thought I knew exactly who I was: someone who loved to read, loved to write, was good in English class and history class but terrible in science class. Which was fine, because I found science really boring when I was you — partly because I wasn’t good at it and partly because I didn’t see the point of it.
So what I want to tell you is this: you can do anything you want. You know who you are and what you are good at right now, but that doesn’t mean that you will always be content with those limits. Right now, you don’t want to be a veterinarian because all you have seen vets do is basic health care for dogs and cats. It is going to take discovering that there are specialist veterinarians, particularly vets who spend their entire careers dealing just with dogs with behavior problems, before you will think this might be the career for you.
When I decided I wanted to go to vet school, I was terrified of having to take basic science classes and actually do well in them. But here is the secret to doing well in classes: having a reason to do well in them. In high school, you resented science classes because you didn’t think learning that stuff would be useful, and therefore it wasn’t interesting. When there was a reason to do it — when I had a goal that I really cared about — suddenly they were much more interesting. And when something is interesting, it’s a lot easier to do well at it. It may take a while to get the hang of something new, but if you keep trying, and you really want it, you can do it.
You might be wondering if I regret having been you, if I wish that I had figured things out sooner so I didn’t wait to start vet school until I was 33. (It’s not all that old, but it feels that way when most of your classmates are 22.) No way. You are still part of me. I still care about all those things you cared about, and I am glad we took the time to learn to do them well before starting on something new. When I was you, I thought I would grow up to be a novelist. Now that I’m me, I still
write, but instead of writing fiction, I write about animal behavior and being a vet student. Thank you for being who you are. Just know that it is not all you can ever be.
The Dog Zombie graduated high school in 1991. After college graduation, she was an online publishing programmer for eleven years, transforming books from their print versions to their web versions. Then she changed careers and entered veterinary school. She figures she will be a veterinarian for at least five years before changing careers again. You can read her blog at http://dogzombie.blogspot.com/