GUEST BLOGGER ALERT! I love having people guest writing on my site because I get to showcase the stories of people I admire and experiences different from my own. I’m so proud to say that Shannon is back with this post to give us all an update on her life and career path. This woman is one of the hardest working people I know and I’m glad I can call her a friend. Without further ado, here’s the post…
Hey, lovelies! It’s Shan – back again. You may remember me from the endometriosis post or the one where getting into university didn’t go to plan.
I didn’t say explicitly when I was headed or what I was going to do. The truth is I have always wanted to be a vet but, when I didn’t meet my UCAS offer requirements and had to go through Clearing, I was embarrassed. Still, I want nothing more than to look after animals and it didn’t matter how hard I had to work.
This feeling of failure fuelled a belief that any results lower than a First wouldn’t be good enough for graduate veterinary school. The standard offer is a 2:1 but I was worried that a lower grade would bring my A-Levels under scrutiny.
When I look back on my undergrad timetable, I have no idea how I did it. My longest days started at 7am and ended at 11pm; I squeezed out every ounce of productivity I could, kept my breaks short and took every opportunity that presented itself. The list of opportunities and roles that arose was long: Course Rep, School Rep, Sustainability Officer, Student and Course Ambassador and Cheerleader. All this on top of part time work and volunteering at a local veterinary practice.
I can be obsessive when I have a goal and when I want to prove that I’ve not failed. When you’ve had your heart set on a career since the age of three, you reserve the right to get a bit obsessive. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.
The next step was to apply to a graduate entry veterinary science course. The downside? It costs £37,000! Good job, Shan, you picked a goal where, upon finishing one degree, you have to do another that costs £37,000 and comes with zero tuition loans. Cue a family argument.
Despite this obstacle, I continued to work four part time jobs, turn up to all my lectures, labs, work experience, training sessions, competitions and all the meetings required by my university roles. Somehow, I still managed to fit in sleep. I applied to a single vet school and had the joy of waiting to hear back from UCAS once again.
If all this academic stress and the write up of my dissertation wasn’t enough, I also underwent my third endometriosis operation.
Tears came however when I received the offer to study at Bristol; I just had to graduate Upper Second Class with Honours. So, I sat the last of my exams and continued to work my delightful 14 hour shifts.
I actually found out I got into vet school at one of the service stations on the M5; the whole McDonalds crowd got to overhear me happy cry on the phone to my mum. However, it wasn’t until graduation, when my mum saw my modular breakdown, that she knew I had achieved a First because I had been so focused on my acceptance to vet school. Finally, I had made it!
If I had to assign meaning or a moral to my story it would be this: anything can happen if you believe it can. Everyone has goals and dreams and sometimes they seem totally mad. You’ll be told they’re pipe dreams (cheers, Dad) and your goals might be easier to achieve for others, but circumstances make it harder for you. It would have been easy for me to pack my dream in and pursue working with animals in a different setting, but I refused to give up and now I’m preparing to sit my first-year vet exams.
As always, thank you for reading. Keep safe and well, and never stop dreaming. ×