Summarising Stamina

Yesterday, I made an Instagram post about the experience that was my final day of vet school lectures. It’s been three years coming, and a day I don’t think I ever quite believed would be real until it actually happened.

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March 2018: Wading into my clinical years… and a river in the Philippines, where I spent two weeks on placement with Wildlife In Need Rescue Center.
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August 2018: Donkeys in the Galapagos, where I worked as part of the Darwin Animal Doctor clinical team for a month while also conducting research on species-differentiated attitudes towards animal health and welfare.
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December 2018: Some of ZAASO’s long-term residents outside the clinic in Zanzibar, where I spent long hours developing my surgical skills spaying and neutering local cats when we weren’t out on call.

…Which has been a pretty accurate description of my whole vet school experience. So much has happened – continues to happen, on a weekly and even daily basis – that it’s sometimes hard to summarise. How do you compact so many tendrils of adventure? How do you distill the lessons in grind from so much time spent hashing out the concept of saving lives that cannot tell you in what way they are threatened? How do you explain the visceral realisations about practice and patience and pain stretched out over 5895 m of elevation?

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January 2019: Kilimanjaro

It’s difficult.

Vet school has been such a journey. Over the past three years, I’ve gone from a newly matriculated hopeful fresh from clawing desperately for a dream to a determined, scarily-soon-but-still-not-soon-enough vet who’s withstood buffeting Scottish winds, conducted consults in three different languages on three different continents (thanks Duolingo), and has along the way somehow turned into a runner – but who also still knows that no matter how much fifteen or ten or even five-years-ago-me would have been astounded by the places my soles have logged traction, it’s still not time to let up yet.

Lectures may be done, but there is still so much more to know.

Mountains have been climbed, but there are still other peaks.

Wounds have been sutured and scars have been checked, but there is still more in need of healing.

So, while I’ve got ZooMed externships and Alpine haute routes and a marathon to write about soon, it’s a different sort of endeavor that’ll be the next big adventure, and it’ll be happening up in the Scottish Highlands.

105 miles of it.

No fear, no shame.

More information coming soon.

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