My name is Staci and I’m a first-year veterinary student at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. Obviously, getting here was no easy feat but when you’ve wanted something since you were eight years old, you tend to gravitate toward experiences that lead you where you’ve always wanted to be.
I started out by volunteering at the University of Florida Small Animal Hospital in January of 2014. For the following three years, I made my rounds throughout the hospital spending time in Radiology, the Intensive Care Unit, Orthopedic Surgery Receiving, Anesthesiology, and Zoological Medicine. I’d have to say Zoo Med was my favorite because of the number of wildlife cases brought in and the broad spectrum of species that are cared for in that ward. Plus, all of the doctors and technicians are extremely knowledgeable and genuine in their care for their coworkers and the animals.
During Thanksgiving Break in 2015, I started shadowing at River Oaks Animal Hospital. I was fortunate enough that my first day there Dr. Beltran was performing a surgery on a cat and I was invited to watch! The surgery went well and ever since, I’ve been enamored with the precise nature of veterinary surgery. I spent the following Winter and Spring Breaks shadowing there and saw my fair share of excitement and stress.
As an Animal Sciences major at the University of Florida, the required classes revolved around agriculture-based learning. Coming from the suburbs I had no experience in setting foot, let alone handling animals, on a farm. My life was changed when I took a class about dairy cows and the dairy industry and my life has been fuller ever since!
In May of 2016, I was selected as a student intern for the US Dairy Education & Training Consortium in Clovis, NM. It was there I solidified my love for cows and the dairy industry with both classes and hands-on farm tours and evaluations. Shortly after I returned to Florida, I was hired as a Treatment Technician at River Oaks for the remainder of the summer as I was finishing up my applications for vet school. As you can tell, my applications landed me at the best school I could possibly imagine!
With my first day just around the corner, I’ve nervous and excited to finally live out my dreams and I’m so thrilled to have been asked to share my journey to becoming a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine!