From a young age, I have always wanted to be a vet. However, my journey to veterinary medicine has not been the most traditional one. I did not gain entry through A-levels and this happened for a multitude of reasons, ones I’m sure that some prospective students may face on their journey. At a time where necessary support systems weren’t in place for me, coupled with an impressionable mind full of unfounded doubts – I questioned if I could do it.
If I could pause here to affirm that anyone reading this who is struggling from sending off their UCAS application to even a student considering their GCSE options. If you’re feeling unworthy or scared of rejection; like you, I have been there. You may feel like the veterinary profession is held to such high regard that you don’t believe you can reach because you aren’t the ‘perfect applicant’, and as cliché as it sounds – YOU CAN DO IT!
Whether you need to click send on that submit button, sit a few extra resits or like me do an undergraduate degree before re-applying, anything is possible with a growth mindset. Don’t allow external influences sway you from the truth that is your dreams are always attainable, or a self-deprecating mind distort the reality that is achieving any goal is possible with resilience, determination and a strong work ethic.
If it makes any difference, these words are coming from someone nearer the ‘bottom’ of the socio-economic totem pole being a member of LGBTQIA+, a person of colour, having a learning difference and not inherited into affluence. I understand and appreciate all your issues and I know some barriers may be out of your hands. But practising and maintaining self-belief and personal development is vital at the start of your journey towards a life in any profession and to sustain them once you are solidified in your respective careers.
A few things that helped me navigate through these challenging times were being surrounded by encouraging and supportive friends and family. I know families may not always be the most approving group for many minorities in the case of studying Veterinary Medicine. However, having people in your corner, supporting your dreams will uplift you when you can be your own biggest sceptic.
Setting and achieving smaller goals will strengthen the trust in yourself that whatever you set out to accomplish you can deliver. Believing that you can achieve anything is the much-needed beginning that can propel a turn of events, converting far distant dreams into an attainable reality.
I would advise those who are struggling with constant pressures that diminish their spirit and mental wellbeing to engage in Mindfulness practises as well as reading self-help books (a great one – ‘Happiness Now!’ by Robert Holden). These are great tools to promote bliss and serenity. Furthermore, listening to podcasts (Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations, Jay Shetty, Red Table Talk) or reading articles about those who have experienced and overcome issues you may be facing (Navaratnam Partheeban, DreadyVet) will help you picture that there is always light on the other side of the tunnel.
I would like to end with this inspiring quote by Robertson Davies “The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.”