The surgeon asked me if I was ready with the towel. I vividly remember the sticky bead of sweat trickling down my forehead. I was overcome with emotion because it was my first time assisting in surgery and I could not afford to mess this one up. The surgeon sliced the pregnant Chihuahua open and pulled out what looked like gooey sausage links. After a few more precise cuts, a puppy was plopped right into my arms. I was stunned and found myself locked in a frozen stare with the limp three ounce body in my hands. The veterinary technician brought me back to reality, “rub, Leyla, rub!” I massaged the tiny creature vigorously, while at the same time I kept in mind that this precious life was now in my hands. After what seemed like an eternity, I heard a squeaky cry come from the little animal. The baby girl was alive and I helped make that happen! This experience was life changing for me. I knew from that point on that in order for me to be truly happy I needed to work in a field that would allow me to help those in need. Oddly enough, I completely owe a new-found passion and curiosity to my deeply rooted love of animals.
Working so closely with animals in a veterinary hospital for more than two years has opened my eyes to a side of veterinary medicine that most people overlook: the human element. The pets and their human counterparts both play huge roles in veterinary medicine. I argue that we work with people just as much, if not more than with the animals themselves. I have had amazing opportunities to learn every aspect of the fast paced veterinary field since the age of seventeen. I originally thought that I wanted to work with animals exclusively. It never occurred to me that I would be working with the pets’ owners as well. I have come to the realization that I feel the greatest satisfaction from seeing my clients happy. Pets are members of the family and I treat them as such and my clients appreciate that. The connection that I have made with these families and seeing the impact that I have on their lives is huge for me. This has lead to my interest in pursuing a
career that allows me to directly help people in any way that I can. I have some more exploring to do but I finally have a clear idea of what makes me truly happy.
A recent opportunity for the trip of a lifetime has presented itself to me. A nonprofit organization is in need of volunteers to travel to Gweru, Zimbabwe to help educate orphaned youth during the weekdays. Weekends will be spent rehabilitating lions in the animal sanctuary nearby. I get to help make the lives of both people and animals a little bit better. I have been blessed with the perfect way to combine my old passion with my new passion. I may also come across some potential careers during this trip. I will be working closely with local schools and communities, teaching and enriching the lives of children, learning the people’s culture, while also playing a vital role in lion conservation.
Just thinking about the positive change I can have a on a person’s life makes me tremendously happy. I certainly see myself helping people as a lifelong career. I am excited for my future and I am eager to discover how pursuing a career in something that I am so passionate about will change the course of my life. By gaining knowledge through doing what I love and learning in a competitive educational environment I believe that I can be successful in whatever career path I choose. The sky is the limit and I cannot wait to learn more!