vet school graduation

I am a Veterinarian!

Hello and happy Monday!

I am officially a VETERINARIAN! Wow. It feels incredible to say those words.

Currently, I am writing to you from Tampa, Florida in my new apartment. It has been a whirlwind since last Saturday when I graduated from veterinary school. To put things in perspective, I finished my clinical rotations, graduated, and moved all in a two-week span. It. was. CHAOS. Now that I am almost settled in, I decided to sit down and write a more traditional blog post / informal life update.

My last rotation was dermatology, which if you are a veterinary student, I highly recommend as a final rotation. If you are going into General Practice, this rotation is incredible to have last as it will be fresh on your brain when you start working. Also, the schedule is really nice. Some days, we didn’t have to go into the hospital until noon! Because I was moving so soon after graduation, this gave me a great opportunity to pack and prepare. It is mind-boggling how much stuff I accumulated over the four years I lived in Athens, Georgia.

As far as graduation goes, I am unbelievably grateful that we were able to have an in-person event. My family came in town and my aunt rented an Airbnb that was within walking distance to downtown Athens. After the graduation ceremony, we went there and had mimosas, ate food, and caught up before heading to my favorite restaurant for dinner.

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Found a stray cat to take photos with me in my graduation regalia.

Saying Goodbye

We spent the day following graduation packing up a U-Haul and emptying out my apartment. Everything happened so quickly that I barely got to say goodbye to anyone or anything. Luckily, I have a growing community in Tampa with quite a few of my close friends who have accepted veterinarian jobs in the area. That Sunday, I spent the night at my aunt’s Airbnb with my boyfriend and then we woke up in the morning and hit the road. It felt very surreal driving away from Athens for the last time. I lived there for most of my twenties after all. Athens will always feel like home to me. It is the place where I truly grew up. I moved there for the first time as an 18-year-old girl, living in a high-rise dorm (Russell hall for those familiar with UGA), then transitioning to a sorority house, and finally my own house with three roommates. I left Athens at 22, only to return at 26 for veterinary school, and live in a tiny one-bedroom apartment where my neighbors would become my family.

To be honest, I will miss Athens so much. From my friends to the veterinary hospital where I basically lived over the past year, I have so many memories. I will miss going to the river and tailgating at football games. I will miss the bar scene that my friends and I frequented over the past four years. The live music, my yoga studio, the walking trails that wrap around and through the city, the restaurants, my apartment… I will miss it all.

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Apollo and I in our empty apartment.

moving to Tampa

I officially moved into my new place on May 11th. My apartment is a two-bedroom one-bath right outside of Hyde Park in Tampa. I haven’t lived in a “big city” before, but I did live right off the main strip in Santa Barbara, California and this new apartment reminds me of that in a way. Everything is very walkable, which I absolutely love! My boyfriend is a big walker and he has been dragging me on long walks almost every day (literally DRAGGING!) This is hilarious because I am a big health nut, but if I am being honest the stress of doing so much at once is getting to me. Moving takes so much work! On top of that, my mom gave me giant boxes of my dad’s old belongings (talk about emotional distress lol), along with boxes of beanie babies and pokemon cards for me to sort through somehow. This makes the organization process a bit more time-consuming/overwhelming than I imagine it would normally be.

Overall, I am happy and grateful to be where I am now. When I graduated from the University of Georgia the first time (for my undergraduate degree), I made a bucket list for my life because I had no clue what career path to pursue.  Even after that, it felt like I was floundering around for a long time. However, that bucket list forever changed my life. As cliche as it sounds, I learned how to follow my heart. And my heart led me to veterinary medicine. The next year as a new grad veterinarian will not be easy. I will be pushed to the limits of my emotional, intellectual, and physical capabilities. When that happens, I will look back and remind myself of how far I have come. And I am beyond thankful for this supportive community that we have built.

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If you are wondering about my journey to veterinary medicine, I recorded two podcasts on the subject that you can check out here. Alternatively, you can read about my story by clicking here.

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