Inspiration in Action


Last week I had the opportunity to participate in an amazing program that helps prepare new veterinary students for the academic and personal challenges ahead.   As the keynote speaker for the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicines White Coat ceremony this year, I was invited to take part in the orientation program, known as Cougar Orientation and Leadership Experience (COLE), for the class of 2015.  It was an opportunity to connect with the new veterinary students and hear about their dreams and goals.  Many of them have dreamed of becoming a veterinarian for as long as they could remember.   Held at a pristine waterfront camp in Northern Idaho, we worked through challenge courses that were both mental and physical and got to know each other on a pretty deep level, considering the length of the program.  The students came away from the experience with an amazing level of enthusiasm and a reassurance that they would not be going through veterinary school alone.  It’s very different from how my class started veterinary school 18 years ago where we just showed up at the Anatomy lab on the first day and got to work.   Another difference I noticed was that the career goals of todays’ veterinary students have shifted.   It seems like more students are thinking beyond private practice to more diverse opportunities including research, international work, public health and exotics.  Their generation is ready and willing to change the world.  It was inspiring to hear their future plans and also to hear that many of them were keeping an open mind to all the possibilities this diverse and amazing profession has to offer.  As I delivered my keynote address, I challenged them to find the courage to discover and pursue their true passion, whatever it may be.  Every journey is made up of many individual steps and all you have to do is be facing in the right direction and take one step at a time.  They have the opportunity to discover what inspires them and turn that into their life’s work.  Fortunately, the opportunity to turn inspiration to action is not just for veterinary students, but for all of us.