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An open letter to my vet school

INSTAGRAM @fania_thevetstudent    TWITTER @fania383   
Maria Estefania Colon is a fourth-year veterinary student at Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine. She was born and raised in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. At a young age, her family fostered her genuine interest for animal welfare and she became dedicated to take care of injured stray cats in her neighborhood. In her free time, she loves reading, writing, and telling her stories as a student blogger for Merck Manual Vet Stories blog. She also aspires to become a role model for low-income students and inspire them to pursue their dreams of becoming a vet.

Dear vet school,

Since the moment I received your acceptance letter, I knew my life was about to change. I left my temporary, full-time job and moved to another place 1,870 miles away. I went from the Caribbean to the West Coast and then to the South. I knew I was preparing myself for this moment for the last couple of years. I was ready to meet you and start our journey together. A journey filled with a lot of studying, stress, and new challenges, but I knew everything would be worth it.

In the past four years, I have been immersed in the veterinary world and you have shown me I belong here. I have put my heart, my mind, and all my effort to make my long live dream true. It has not been an easy journey and sometimes it feels like riding a rollercoaster. I have all the feels and I never knew for sure what was next but committed myself to this crazy ride and have learned so much from it.

I am thankful for all the things I have learned and accomplished. You have provided me with the skills and knowledge to save animal lives and the opportunities to grow as a person and a professional. You have given me the opportunity to get accepted into my dream externships, where I worked with animals of all sizes. You have helped me to discover my interest for high-volume spay/neuter surgical procedures, preventative care, and the human-animal bond. You have allowed me to travel to the most beautiful cities in the United States, such as Asheville, Chicago, and Manhattan. You have taught me that hard work always pays off and being passionate about my goals is the key to success. You have let me be more grateful for what I have and what the future will bring. You have also given me new friends, good mentors, and sweet four-legged nieces.

In the good and bad times, I have given you all I had. You have taught me how hard is losing a pet and how to use grief to become a better doctor. You have showed me anxiety is real, and it will try to stop me if I don’t know how to cope with it. You have reminded me failure is part of this journey by teaching me to try harder and never give up.  I will be forever grateful for this journey.

Today, I wanted to let you know our journey is coming to an end. I am might not be ready to let you go, but I am excited to start a new chapter in my life. I will be stepping into the world as the veterinarian you have sculpted me as. In just a few weeks, I will finally achieve my hopes and dreams by becoming who I always wanted to be… a doctor for animals. I know you have been preparing me for this and I promise that I will make you proud mother Tuskegee.

Sincerely,

Maria Estefania Colon

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