The summer before, I had been living in my hometown. One of my best friends was living there as well as all of the people that I knew in town. I was dating a guy and my sister still lived there. I was close to many of the people that I worked in the restaurant with. They all knew that I was awaiting my letter from the veterinary college.
I had envisioned a great celebration and proudly walking around telling everyone that I had gotten into veterinary medicine. There was some debate in the restaurant about whether or not I would ever actually be accepted. The feeling was that a waitress could not become a doctor. This is peculiar. With the exception of royalty, no one really knows what they will do as an adult. Everyone must be young before they are old and that would often include doing various minimum wage jobs.
I was confident that I would prove them all wrong when my acceptance arrived. Being an athlete, I was always chosen for sports teams including the city softball team and the elite swim team in town. As a gifted student, I always won the scholarships and entrance exams. Many of my friends, that applied, did not even get accepted into university. It was just a matter of having patience and waiting for my letter to arrive.
Receiving the rejection letter was sobering and surreal. It forced me to face the fact that I might not ever get into veterinary medicine. Could the cook at the restaurant be right? It was one of the first times that I had not been chosen for something. To be faced with the possibility that my dream of becoming a veterinarian might not come true was quite a blow to my self-esteem.
When my acceptance letter did arrive, during my stay at the veterinarian’s farm up north, it was anticlimactic. I had already travelled to my hometown that summer to realize that there was no one there anymore. I did not feel particularly close to anyone that I was living with and it is understandable that there was a certain amount of tension between the women in the house.
I had gone down the lane to get the mail that day and I had found the letter in the mailbox. I stood at the end of the lane and read it right away. You don’t need to open these letters to know what they say inside. If they do not admit you, all they send is a form letter written on a single piece of paper in an eleven inch envelope.
On the other hand, when you get accepted, an entire package comes. You need to make decisions about accommodations, choose courses, be familiar with outlines and you need to reply accepting the offer, which requires another envelope to be included inside. When the package was huge—especially relative to the summer before—I knew that I had been accepted but I wanted to read it anyhow.
With full knowledge that I had been accepted, I walked back to the house. It was almost mealtime so I carted all of the mail up to the kitchen and put it on a side table. I took the envelope up to my room and put it with my things. I did not tell anyone. I did not want to share this news with people I barely knew and didn’t really like. I had just received life altering news and I had no one to share it with.
At this point, I had already completed two years of a bachelor of science, or B.Sc., and it was possible to complete the courses that I needed to get a general B.Sc. as well as do my pre-vet year. The other option was to go to school part time and work the rest of the time. I chose the former. There was some benefit to having a B.Sc. as well as a doctor of veterinary medicine, or D.V.M., but honestly, at this stage of my life the B.Sc. was more of a label marking me as someone that was not successful during her first attempt to get into veterinary medicine. I’ve gotten over that now.
So I settled into third year in my two-bedroom apartment with the commuter roommate and focused on my studies. All of the pressure to get really high marks had been eliminated. They used to kid around in class and say, “Do you know what they call the person that graduates at the bottom of the class?” Wait for it…..
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