Dear Future Me - by Keira McTeer
April 12, 2020
Dear 2030 Dr. Keira,
Right now, I hope that you’re loving your job as a veterinarian, and are improving the lives of animals and people every day. I, the 2020 Keira, thought I’d write you something to look back on in a few years to remember this stage of life.
Right now, I’m 21 years old and months away from graduating from the University of Guelph with my undergraduate degree in Biological Science. I’ve worked extremely hard to get to this point, and I have no doubt that you’ve worked even harder to get to where you are now.
A highlight of my undergrad career was being a part of the Future Vets Club Executive Team. In 2018-2019, I was the secretary. My role was to record meeting minutes and provide them to every executive member. In 2019-2020, I worked as the Communications Officer to provide Listserv emails to over 400 members of the Future Vets Club, answered e-mails from our members, and helped organize some amazing events like the Mock MMIs! Being in the FVC, I have learned so much and have been able to grow as a person by improving my communication skills, being able to better work as part of a team, and learn more about the veterinary career through events like the Networking Brunch.
Being a part of this club has also allowed me to meet and befriend so many amazing people who have helped me get through some tough times. It is super important to have people around you who understand what you’re going through. I am very grateful that I have had the opportunity to be in such close contact with many great friends. I’ve loved being in the FVC and hope that when you look back on your undergrad years, you consider this amazing experience to be one of your favourite parts of U-of-G life before vet school.
Comparing graduating high school 4 years ago to now, as I am about to graduate University, I believe that I am much more prepared to enter the ‘real world’ and start learning how to be the best veterinary practitioner that I can be. I understand much more about how to learn, how to study, and how to empathize with other people and their unique situations.
Even courses that I didn’t feel to be important or useful have helped me learn how to be more productive. They’ve taught me how to study better in order to absorb material instead of simply memorizing it, which in turn has helped in the rest of my courses. I’ve finally learned that keeping up with material and studying throughout the year is much more beneficial than cramming everything before a test or exam. That is something that people have always told me, but I always neglected to do so until my final year. I wish I had done this method of studying in my first few years but am happy that I have finally stuck to this.
I’ve also learned that taking breaks from studying are just as important as studying itself. Some of my favourite study break past-times include watching Netflix, drinking hot chocolate, getting together for dinner with friends, and spending time with my hedgehog. Breaks are important for your brain to recharge, allowing for better retention of material, and also for making sure your mental health is taken care of.
I was also very fortunate to have the experiences that I did to ensure that I wanted to be a veterinarian. Through volunteering at small animal clinics and in wildlife rehabilitation, I was able to explore different aspects of veterinary medicine and become more passionate about my future career. Currently, I’m working in an amazing small animal hospital with amazing coworkers and learning from the best mentors I could ever ask for. These mentors are always willing to answer questions and show me the ropes of veterinary medicine. I am so thankful for these people that help me and have helped shape you, future Dr. Keira, into the best veterinarian that you can be.
The way I learned in high school was certainly not the way I learned in first year of undergrad, and the way I learned in first year is very different to how I find myself learning in the last month of undergrad courses. It’s a little bit different to learn everything online with COVID-19 happening right now, but all the knowledge I’ve accumulated throughout my undergrad has helped me adapt well to the current situation; I am still able to make the best out of the remainder of my final year. Future Keira, I know that you have been well prepared for a lot of the challenges you will no doubt face in your career. With hard work and determination, you can handle anything that gets thrown your way.
Now that you’re at the end of this letter, I want you to grab a hot chocolate and get back to those cases you’re working on – these pets and their people deserve your best. You can do this!
Keira, April 2020