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Don’t be a dreamer, be a doer

INSTAGRAM @breannabananaa   
Breanna Aguilar is an incoming first-year veterinary student at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California. She was born and raised in Los Angeles and graduated from Fresno State with a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science with a pre-veterinary emphasis. She has an interest in ophthalmology and dermatology in small animal medicine and hopes to further her education in those fields once in school. Breanna enjoys dancing, baking, and spending time with her family, friends, and pets, Phoebe Buffay and Chowder Puff.

Like most aspiring veterinarians, I have dreamt of working in this field for as long as I can remember.

When relatives would ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” the answer was always been the same. When applying to undergrad, I was only interested in schools that offered Animal Science as a major because I was certain of my path. I attended California State University, Fresno and graduated in four and a half years. My path was not perfect though.

In the last weeks of my fall semester of senior year, I was on a high after completing an interview with my number one choice of vet schools, when I received the news of two family member’s passing. The grief was overwhelming and as a result my studies suffered, and I did not pass one of my core classes. I was forced to take on an extra semester and was devastated when I had to withdraw my vet school application.

I could have let this incident deter me from applying a second time, but instead it pushed me to work harder to prove a grade did not define me. With the extra semester at Fresno State I was able to become vice-president of my sorority and truly grow as an individual. I graduated the following fall, received a waitlist position from my top school, and was able to return home to Los Angeles, where I got to be a support system for my mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer. I returned to my previous work as a veterinary assistant as I awaited better news, but unfortunately never made it off the waitlist. At this point, I felt defeated and became unsure if the luck would ever turn in my favor. I began to question my life-long dream and wonder if it would ever become a reality.

My mother was my beacon of light during this confusing time. If she could remain so positive during a truly difficult time of her life and know that everything will happen as it should, then why shouldn’t I have the same faith? At the time I also found some inspiration in a book by my favorite TV producer Shonda Rhimes, called “Year of Yes.” In the book, she writes, “Ditch the dream. Be a doer. Not a dreamer.” We all dream of a perfect life and picture how our life should look like at a certain point, but no path is perfect and instead of dreaming, we should get on our feet and make it happen. I did not want to give up and look back years down the line and wonder, what if? So, I made the decision to apply again and if I had to continue applying until I got an offer, then I would.

Luckily for me, the third time was a charm. On February 6, 2020, while at work, I was shocked to receive the news. I screamed, “I got in” throughout the hallways and eventually fell to my knees in tears. I was no longer dreaming of this moment, I was living it. My top school, a school I had interviewed with every year for the last three years and fell more in love with each time, finally chose me.

I felt honored, but I also knew I worked hard for this moment and this was my time. In life, things happen as they should, when they should. It may not always feel like it, but I am a believer that everything happens on its own time, we just have to wait for ours. For all of my fellow pre-vet students, know your time will come and never let rejection stop you from trying. Rejection is not an end and trying again only allows the possibility for success. No veterinarian’s road to success is perfect, and none look the same. Everyone has their own path, and you owe it to yourself, and the little boy or girl inside of you who dreamed of this time, to stay on it. So, keep trying, allow the setbacks to motivate you, and never let anyone, including yourself, tell you that you can’t do it. Follow your passion and don’t just dream of the life and career you want, but make it happen.

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