We all have our excuses — what’s yours? And why are you letting it stop you?
Let me tell you my story.
Back in 2007 I had a B.A. degree in Psychology, a cushy job that I hated, and plans already set to return to grad school in Psychology. I volunteered at the Pasadena Humane Society on weekends doing everything from socialization of dogs to taking dogs out in the community with the Mobile Outreach program. One day, I was out with the Mobile Outreach with a girl who was an undergraduate student at Cal Poly Pomona. She was a pre-vet major and very excited about becoming a veterinarian. I mentioned in passing that that was what I wanted to be when I was “growing up” and, to my surprise, she asked me the most frank and life-altering question of my life to date, “So what’s stopping you.”
I was taken aback and for a few moments struggled to find my voice. When I did, I replied, “It’s too late.” I went on to make all sorts of excuses, “I already have a degree, I don’t have the coursework, I’m starting grad school in a few months,” I went on and on, “It’s just too late!”
She let it go, but that question haunted me for months. I was making all of these excuses that all revolved around time essentially. Did I really think that it was just too late? No, I think I thought it was just too inconvenient to even consider. So I went about my life, started grad school in psychology, took a few law classes in addition, and spent most of the time continuing on that path and continuing to suppress my vet dreams.
That was, until one day.
At one point during the fall term — in either October or November I remember hitting what I now consider a “breaking point.” I was completely bored with my graduate school courses and research and the law classes proved to be even more vapid. I was stuck.
I called my father up and confessed my unhappiness to him. He didn’t argue with my feelings about my current life course but instead posed a question, “So, what do you want to do?”
I hesitated for a moment as I mentally and emotionally dug up my vet dreams from wherever they were hiding in the back of my mind for the past decade and replied, “I want to be a vet.” I teared up upon hearing myself say the words (as I still do today, just recalling that conversation. I was finally being honest with myself and with someone who’s opinion is truly important to me and immediately I felt relief when he replied, “So what do we have to do to make that happen?”
At that point I realized that my admonition came so prematurely that I had not even looked into what I would need to do. I confessed to him that I had no idea, but I anticipated there was coursework I needed to complete and that would likely take a few years. He urged me to look into it and I did.
I spent the rest of fall term researching what I would need to do to make the transition from Psychology to Veterinary Medicine. Everything seemed like a giant rush — perhaps because for the first time in years, I had decided that it was not too late to pursue my dream and now I was doing everything I could to make up for lost time. As I completed the fall term in grad school I contemplated whether or not I would be able to finish my Masters while taking my pre-requisite coursework for vet school. I was pretty certain it was doable, it just wouldn’t be fun. Fortunately for me, my father stepped in and pushed me to choose. He said I needed to decide for sure what I wanted to do, I couldn’t have both — if I wanted my vet dream, I needed to commit to it wholeheartedly and not look back. I knew deep down he was right, but it was hard at first to make that transition and commit to it without any guarantee that I would be successful.
Clearly, it was worth it. While the original plan was to apply for the Class of 2014, I managed to apply and get accepted with the Class of 2013. So I really have been making up for lost time! But time is no longer what’s stopping me from pursuing my dreams — veterinary or non-veterinary related! I’ve realized that just like my transition to veterinary medicine, the first steps to pursuing any goal are the hardest. But once you start, you wonder why you ever waited to begin with.