Back in February there were elections for a few open positions in the vet school. One of them sounded interesting to me so I ran. I was actually really really excited for this position...the description made it seem right up my alley. The position was the junior delegate for the Texas Veterinary Medical Association. I would be responsible for going to conventions, organizing student committees, organizing meetings, and be the liaison between the organization and the student body. I would work as an assistant to the senior delegate, and as a two year elected position, next year I would become the senior delegate. It didn't sound like too much work, and I got to be involved in a professional organization, not just a student organization, so I ran. And I won, apparently by a landslide but that really doesn't matter, just that I won.
The position actually turned out to be so much better than it was originally pitched to us. I sit on the student executive committee ( the head committee that oversee's all student clubs, functions and regulations). I get paid to go to the two annual conferences each year, I sit on the board of directors for one of the largest state VMA's, and I have business cards. (This is the coolest part to me, I am such a dork for LOVING the fact that I get business cards, but I don't care).
The weekend just before spring break was the annual conference held this year in College Station. I knew I was to attend but I had no idea what was in store for me. I spent the weekend sitting on committees, in board of directors meetings, in continuing education courses, and basically rubbing elbows with the big-wigs and practitioners in my profession. As I type this it actually sounds really boring, but the truth is, it was such a completely perfect weekend. It reminded me just how lucky I am to be following this dream, and how grateful I am to have gotten into vet school. The whole convention was at a major hotel that catered everything. We had all of our meals catered, our coffee refilled as we sat in meetings, basically full service. I'm sure to most people this seems so normal, and perhaps it is. But, there was a time, not so long ago that I was on the other side of the table--I was the one pouring coffee and clearing dirty plates, desperately wishing that I was something bigger, better, and more meaningful. I have never once questioned that quitting the restaurant was the right choice, but sitting there actually having a small piece of my dream realized was a really major moment for me. I am eternally grateful for the road the Lord leads me down.
Beyond just getting to feel like I was a part of something, I had a really great time at the conference. Practitioners wanted to talk to me, wanted to hear about my experience in school, they shared their wisdom and advice for getting through it, they offered me externships, and then, then--they asked for my card! (I know here I go with the dorky card stuff again) I felt beyond "adult" to be able to whip one out and hand it over. The cards make me feel like I've arrived, and in some ways I have. More than just getting asked for my card, and getting externship offers, I actually had several job offers. I'm just a first year, and I told them that, but it didn't seem to phase them. It was nice to know that just being involved, and acting professional goes such a long way. I'm not so scared of finding a job now, a little scared that I'll actually have to find one sooner than I think, but at least at ease that I already have a few standing offers.
It was an incredible weekend. We were expected to be at all of the evening social functions, and we drank for free. And as much as I loved that all my drinks were paid for (because I'm so cool I'm on the board of directors) I loved it even more that I was not the one pouring the drinks.