Let Your Dreams Be Bigger Than Your Fears...

Life doesn't always happen on our timeline or in the order we would like. What happens when you get derailed from your plans? Gabriela sat down with us to talk about how she navigated not getting into Veterinarian School the first time, and how she turned lemons into lemonade.


Gabriela 00:00
We have this inner pressure of like, you know, perfection, they have to be perfect that you have to do things on the first try. And something I've learned in the process of being trained as a veterinary assistant, is that you're not going to get it the first time. And it is okay. We're humans, some people have their strengths. And they do get in the first time, but sometimes you struggle with other things you're good at and vice versa and that's what makes us so beautiful, because we can just help each othe,r support each other with our strengths and our weaknesses. And I feel like I had that pressure of getting into first time. And it was so hard to just process the fact that I didn't get in. Hi, everyone, welcome to our MDF Instruments Crafting Wellness Podcast. I'm so excited today to reintroduce you to Gabriella. She has been on our podcast before and we're really excited to just talk to her more about the journey she's on to becoming a veterinarian. Talk about my journey because you know, I thought that a year ago, things were gonna be completely different.

Brooke Smith
We're so excited to catch up with you. I know last time we talked, those who maybe didn't, who missed that podcast, you should go back and watch it and check it out. But Gabriella lived, she doesn't anymore, but she lived in Puerto Rico. That's where she's from. And she was on the road to becoming a veterinarian. She was getting her bachelor's degree and she was in her senior year. And we talked about next steps for that, was applying to Veterinarian school. And just kind of the journey from there for everyone interested in getting into the same career as her. Let's pick up where we left off last time. So just remind everybody what you were getting a bachelor's degree in? and tell us where you work kind of the last time we spoke.

Gabriela 02:05
So last time I was on my last year, first semester of my bachelor's degree, I was in the biomedical sciences program. I think last time, when I look back, I had this different view of veterinary medicine. And I feel like it was the right you know, perspective, the right view, because it's what it has led me to where I am today. But it's just amazing how much growth you can do. In a year, I graduated in June, I finally have my Bachelor's degree in Biomedical Sciences. So that was a huge accomplishment because it's just like, a step further into, you know, who I want to become

Brooke Smith
Can you talk a little about where you thought you were going when you graduated. What you thought you were like, kind of what we talked about on our last podcast. Okay, this is the plan once I graduate, this is what I'm doing, and kind of talk us through what the plan was, and then what actually happened and where you are now.

Gabriela 03:12
Oh, my goodness, that's such a great question. Because, wow, um, for those who know me, I just feel safer when I organize things or when I plan ahead. So my vision was to graduate, then just get a hands on experience, and I connected with a veterinarian through spayathan for Puerto Rico. And I desperately needed more hands on experience with a veterinarian. So my view was graduate then go to this internship in Washington and work at a spay neuter clinic to gain some hands on experience, but specialize in shelter medicine, which is the specialty that I absolutely love. And I that's what I want to study and I want to focus on as a future veterinarian, and then apply to that school ha the same time. And then a year later, just get that acceptance letter, go to vet school and become a veterinarian. I did graduate, have my bachelor's degree. I did go to the internship. I just had the most amazing experience and just comparing general practice versus shelter medicine, this just so different. And it just confirmed that I really want to be a shelter medicine veterinarian in the future. So that internship went amazing and one of my goals because I did want to take a gap year was to work at a at a clinic and gain like more experience get that year to rest. Because we need to rest but at the same time I'm keep learning. So funny thing is that I got offered a job at that clinic as a veterinary assistant, which was one of my goals. And it's funny that now I am working as a veterinary assistant, which I it for me was like kind of impossible, like I saw like an impossible thing. Because in Puerto Rico, you do need to be certified, you do need to go through two years of school here in Washington, you don't necessarily need to go to two years of school in order to become a veterinary assistant and work as one. It's funny that now I'm here in Washington, Oregon as a veterinary assistant, in a clinic that specializes in shelter medicine, which for me is mind blowing. Because imparare go, we don't have a spay neuter. clinic, we do have general practices. And we do have initiatives where we, you know, try to do the high quality, high volume, surgeries like in shelter medicine, but a clinic, specialized shelter medicine, never in my wildest dreams. So it's just been crazy, both personally just moving from burrito to Washington in a timeframe of one month. To just growing professionally, it's just been both hard. I've experienced a lot of things that I never thought I would experience. But at the same time in, I feel like it's been necessary for my growth.

Brooke Smith
I love it. And you know, it sounds like you're actually not that far off of the path that you thought you would be on. But if anything, it sounds like becoming a veterinarian assistant, was maybe a little further out for you than you realized. But because of Washington is different than Puerto Rico, you're able to do that job now, which is only going to make you more versed in all of the things you're trying to learn you have a lot of hands on experience learning those things. So now when you do go to veterinary school, you're going to have all this knowledge and you're going to have all of these things, these things you've already learned, that you're going to just get to brush up on in school and maybe get dive a little deeper into but you're going to already have all of this experience that a lot of people probably aren't going to go to veterinarian school with. For people watching who are maybe just still thinking about this or they don't know, kind of where they want to go as they would know they want to be in veterinary medicine. Can you talk a little bit about the difference between the general practice of veterinary medicine with the specialized field of shelter medicine,

Gabriela 07:46
so general practice from like my, my view is in Aryans that have a general knowledge of veterinary medicine. So, GPS is usually taken different cases. ophthalmology can be oncology, it can be any type of case. The difference is that these veterinarians have, you know, the patients have an owner. So, you know, it's like a normal clinic, the client, taster pets, they do all the diagnostics. And you know, that's for me is GP is mostly focused on a general view of veterinary medicine. And the patient is usually with an owner it's accompanied by an owner. Shelter medicine, for me, is more focused on shelter pets and the community. So, in the clinic, we do try to create these essential services such as spay and neuter, and vaccines at a lower cost for low income communities. And I feel like you could you know, the practice can be somewhat similar, but the focus is different. Because in GP, while the pet has an owner and shelter medicine, the pet and may not have an owner culture medicine is more focused on public health and the awareness of being a responsible owner because we do have to focus on you know, getting these pets adopted. Right. And at the same time educating owners that may or may not know the importance of vaccines, the importance of spay and neutering their pets, so I feel like shelter medicine has more of an impact in the community. And a general practice is more focused on those pets that have an owner in shelter medicine, we do have to work on with donated equipment, because you know, it's not really like GP that you know, our services need to be at a lower cost to have more access. So usually we have to work on with what we have I'm just a little different. And we have to get more creative in that sense, because we don't have those fancy machines. We don't have every equipment. Sometimes we have to say no to some pets or percent some affliction, some animal abnormality that we can't really treat. So we focus more on the essentials and the public health.

Brooke Smith
So where you're working at Washington right now, it's a shelter medical facility. Is that right? That that focuses on shelter medicine,

Gabriela 10:33
I'm working at the Humane Society. So that means society has a facility that is the shelter. So we have all the shelter animals, we have stuff that focuses on the behavior aspect of these animals. Cleaning cages, this taking care of these animals in a shelter, environment, so it's a shelter, people go in and adopt their pets. And on the other side of the building, there's what we call a spay neuter clinic. And that's where I work at. So we work alongside we work together, mother to separate buildings, we focus on the pets that are in the shelter. So when they get sick, they get injured, we're the ones who go and, and take care of them. And we do take in patients from you know, by now, we do low income, like a lower cost services such as vaccine clinic. So in some days, we just take in clients from anywhere, and we vaccinate their their pets at lower costs. And we do take that time to educate the owner say, vaccines are important, not just because you have to give your pet a rabies, because it is you know, part of the law, but because, you know, it affects you directly as well, when we talked about last time, like in Puerto Rico, that you would see all the dogs in the streets. And people would just think feeding them, it was enough. So most of like a lot of people have that same mentality here. I haven't seen a lot of dogs. Which is, which is like, whoa, you know. So it's just amazing to see the different backgrounds of different clients.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, noone really ever, like teaches you how to raise a pet, no one teaches you how to raise a child, maybe there are things that you just have to learn as you go, Okay, this is what's best for my animal, I need to get rabies, okay, I understand that Bordetella all kinds of other medications for fleas and ticks. And depending on where you live, different animals have different needs to protect them and keep them safe. And dental hygiene is a big thing as well, I'm sure that you probably have to deal with I'm gonna tell you cuz I was you know, we talked about like doing another podcast and maybe having someone who's maybe a further along in the journey with you, and you guys could kind of talk. But there is a person that I brought mine when you were when you were talking called the street vet, that's the Instagram handle, I think it's like at the street vet. And it's this veterinarian, and I believe a veterinary tech, they go along the streets of Los Angeles and they help all the pets that the homeless people have to get them there, goodness us and help them make sure make sure they're clean, make sure they have their medications and take help take care of them though. A lot of people when they're going through things, you know, they become homeless, they have an animal, they don't want to just abandon the animal. So they'll be on the street with them. And that's a hard life. So I know that there are teams out there who are trying to do similar things to what you're talking about what you're doing there in, in the clinic there in Washington, but I'd love to get you in touch with them because I think that'd be really interesting to to kind of awesome. I would love to that would be a fun podcast.

Gabriela 14:13
And that's admirable what what they what they're doing. I mean, it is not easy, you know, taking on that responsibility. And it's it's one of the things that, you know, leave a lot of veterinarians to have a decline in their mental health because we really, really want to help your pet we really, really want to help you. And you know, sometimes we just we can't do a lot insensitive sometimes, you know, a lot of pet owners don't have the financial resources to give their pets quote unquote, the best life you know, when we talk about veterinary essentials. So it's kind of hard because we Do you take that really personally, and we think on it at night, and we're like, wow, I just hope this person, this person really wants to help their pet. And, you know, seeing these initiatives just gives me hope. And because then again, we just have that connection with animals. And a lot of people have forgotten how animals impact us directly, not just, they've been domesticated, but be on the health aspects of things. And that's why I love human medicine as well. A lot of people have forgotten that they do have a direct impact with, you know, our health, and our emotions and everything.

Brooke Smith
I'm going because it's pretty awesome what they're doing. And it sounds right up your alley, as well. And who knows, maybe it's something that other people can start getting inspired by and they can start doing it. I would love to hear a little bit about like the day in the life of you at your new job now, can you walk us through kind of what the hours are like and what you're doing there?

Gabriela 16:05
Yeah,oh my gosh. So disclaimer, every day is super different, which is what I love about this, because it keeps you on your toes, but a generalized idea of veterinary assistant assists the licensed veterinary professional, so it would be the veterinary techs and veterinarians. So what I do is usually I get on the, to the clinic at 730. And I use, I help the vet techs and the other vet assistants set up the surgery suites and set up the recovery area. So what we do is just make sure that the beds have all their drapes, all their packs ready, that the room is clean, we set up the recovery area, which is you know, post up what we do to recover these patients. And we set up the clinic, you know, make sure that everything's you know, ready to go. So usually when everything's just ready to go, the veterinarians arrive, arrive around eight, and we start checking in patients. So what we do is on Mondays, we just take shelter animals. So in the mornings is like surgery, spay neuter, just that. So in the mornings, on Mondays, we just take shelter pets, and we spay or neuter them. So around eight, we start, you know, giving basic physical exam. So these pets to make sure that they are ready to they're ready to be spayed or neutered. We evaluate the age we evaluate the health condition we evaluate if they're, you know, stable enough to sustain this procedure. Although a lot of people think that is a minor procedure, it can be invasive, and anything you know, could happen. You know, it's it's surgery. So we want to make sure that they're as healthy as possible. The rest of the week, we do take in public animals, so people can make appointments throughout the week and we spay neuter them, and we do the same thing at AIDS, we just check them in, and we make sure that they're healthy enough to sustain this procedure, then the vet tech just lines up all the records to make sure that you know we have the the weights, we have a history to make sure that we're giving the right you know, pharmaceuticals to these pets. So then we start prepping these patients and inducing them. So in the prepping process, we shave, we clean the area, we make everything as sterile as possible and then the button the pet goes straight to surgery. I'm usually since I'm new, I'm usually in or helping the vets check in these patients, a lot of restraining techniques, pressing patients, which is the shaving and cleaning, or I'm in the recovery area, which is just making sure that these animals are up to temp that they don't have any bleeders going on that other incision areas is clear and that they are waking up properly, basically. So then we take a lunch break because you know it is very important that we take our lunch break. Um, and then when we do we just when we finish, you know our little break because sometimes we just need to decompress. It's I feel like that's really important. We start cleaning everything, cleaning the surgery suites and just catching up on Just maintaining the clinic as clean as possible, because then around one, around noon, we do take appointments. So we do take appointments, where is a public pet, or a shelter pet. So these appointments are usually wellness appointments. And on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, we do take vaccine appointments. And that's what I was talking about, you know, that we take that time to help owners, you know, navigate through all the vaccines, and what they need, and all that good stuff. And then at the end of the day, we just leave everything clean, and just make sure that all the pets of the shelter are okay. And if we have any hospitalized patients, we make sure that they have their meds or food ready. And then we just leave everything for the next day. So basically, what I do as a veterinary assistant is just mostly restraining techniques. And a lot of assisting in terms of if the vet needs a suture or the vet needs me to scrub in surgery and monitor the anesthesia machines. I will do that. And I will be under supervision or someone who is always like, license. So that's the day in the life. And like I said everyday changes. So we can finish up surgery at noon. Sometimes we don't, sometimes a little earlier. So it all depends on what we have. But that's an idea of what I do. And it's pretty, pretty cool.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, that's really exciting. Okay, so let's talk a little bit about the process now of getting into becoming a doctor of veterinary medicine, where you are at in that process and kind of where you're where you're going now.

Gabriela 21:59
So, um, I feel like right now, I'm focusing more on gaining as much clinical experience as possible, I really thought that the experience that I have previous to this job was enough. But I've realized that shadowing at a veterinary clinic versus working at a veterinary clinic gives you a different perspective. Because when you're shadowing you do you have less responsibilities in that sense. So you're just as baby prevailed, you're focusing on the medicine and you're just like, oh, my gosh, I'm seeing this new case. And it's pretty awesome. When you're working at a clinic, it doesn't even have to be, you know, at a shelter environment, you have more responsibility, so you're more involved. And that's where it gets a little tougher in that sense. So I'm just really glad that I got this job because it just helped me have a better view of what I'm going to deal with in the future. So I did apply to vet school, this this cycle. Last year, sorry. And unfortunately, I didn't get a seat, this cycle, but I will be applying again. And I'm just gonna take this time to really just soak in all the knowledge that I can and grow as much as I can. Because I have a long way to go. And that's I always say, it mentioned on my platform that you don't veterinary medicine doesn't start when you have your DVM, it starts in that moment where you decide I want to be a veterinarian, because you got to do all these things, get all these experiences in order to go to vet school. So right now, I'm just, you know, hoping that the cycle, you know, is a little easier because I did go through the experience of applying to grad school, and hoping that working as a vet assistant helps me become more resilient. More. I feel like gain more knowledge in order to be prepared for graduate school because graduate school is not easy. And I feel like the more knowledge I have, the easier it will be to you know, just soak up all the information when I go to graduate school in the future. So yeah,

Brooke Smith
what are cycles cycles happen once a year, twice a year? Can you explain that because you're like this cycle and that cycle? Yeah, talk a little bit about what cycles are.

Gabriela 24:48
So um, then cast, which is the portal that usually pre-vets go to apply to med school has this term of like cycles, so All, through webcasters is a one year cycle. So you apply around me. So you start your application process around me. And then the deadline would be on September 15. So at that date, you have to submit your application. So that will be an example last year was the 2021 cycle. So when you apply on that cycle, you get into that school the next year. So that it will be one cycle. And then each year, you call it a different cycle. But you have to in order to get into that school, you have to understand that you apply a year previous from the year that you want to get in where you want to start your graduate study.

Brooke Smith
So start applying on this May of 2022. To be in vet school in 2023.

Gabriela 25:56
Yes, so I'll be like, Yeah,

Brooke Smith
okay, got it. And then what is the application process? Like, is it expensive to people need to save their money to be able to apply, I imagine it's an application fee per school that you are applying to, are there tests you have to take in order to apply to veterinary school,

Gabriela 26:17
There are fees for each school. And you do need to save up money to you know, beforehand, because it all depends on, you know, the number of schools you want to apply to, I applied to two schools, and the fee was around 300 per school and all the total, in total, okay. It all depends on the school to some schools, you know, require a higher fee. So, in my case, the two schools that I applied to, which was sorry, Washington State University, and Cornell University, it all added up to $300. So, you, I use, I use their Pete, let me call it a professional transcript entry, as well, which is, because for best school, you need to give evidence that you did, you know, take those prerequisites. So you have to type in every course, that you ever took on your previous undergrad years, or, you know, sometimes people don't have a bachelor's degree, and they just take the prerequisites. So all the courses that you took, you need to upload them basically, in their system, what I did was use their professional transcript entry, which is another fee extra for them to do it for me, because since I'm from Puerto Rico, the, the courses are named differently, and the codes are really different. So I didn't want to risk, you know, just sending my application and having a wrong code. And for that to just, you know, slow the process of applying. So I do recommend that service, if you're not comfortable, you know, typing every course that you took. So it's a lifesaver and a time saver. Some schools do require for you to take the GRE or the TOEFL. Um, but right now, since the GRE is more of like a generalized, sort of like, it's very general, like general knowledge type tests. It's more like the SATs, um, they're not requiring it. And for people that their first language is in English, they do have to take the TOEFL. In my case, I did email the school that I was interested in. And I asked that since I'm from Puerto Rico, and we're usually you know, bilingual and our classes are in English. The English courses are most of the times in English. I asked if that was enough for me to show Hey, I do know this language. And, you know, can I be exempted from, you know, taking this, this test? So most of the schools said that, yeah, it was okay that if I didn't take the test, so I always recommend that every prevented before applying emails to school that they're interested in applying to, because on their website is a generalized idea on what they want, you know, and each person has a different journey. So I feel like you know, you should really talk to schools directly if you have any doubts. So yeah, I'm basically through them Cass you apply you put all your information In all your experiences, and you do a personal statement, which is you know why you want to become a veterinarian? What, as a future professional in this field, what are your plans what you want to do? So it's more like general questions for the schools to know you and your path and where you are. So that's a more generalized idea on the application process.

Brooke Smith
Great, are you when you reapply in May? Are you going to apply to the same two schools? Are you going to open it up more? What's your plan right now for for that process.

Gabriela 30:40
So I have a meeting with one of the admissions officers at Cornell University to review my application and see what I can do better for the next cycle. So initially, I was, you know, when I was in the grieving process, I was like, No, I can't apply again, because, you know, they clearly, maybe they didn't see, you know, me as the right fit. But when I processed the whole thing, I was like, Yeah, this is what I want to do. This is where I see myself. So I am planning to apply to the same schools. And I am meeting up with each admissions officer to see what I can do better. And so that way, I can, you know, at least get an acceptance letter next year. And for Washington State, I feel like I have a lot of opportunities, they do have a great shelter medicine program. And my mentor studied there. So I feel like I have a more generalized view on the curriculum, and how it will prepare me. And plus, I'm going to be a resident, so I feel like I have a higher chance to get accepted this year. So I want to apply to those two schools. And I'm seriously thinking of applying to Ross University. Because they, I feel like diversity is so important. And they've always shown that they really want Puerto Rican students to go and study over there. So I feel like, their program is amazing. I've always loved it. It's just the fact that I have to take the TOEFL, this really kinda like, puts me in this position of do I want to go? Because I don't do really well with standardized tests. Like I, unfortunately, they don't show my knowledge really well, through that process. So that's why I've been a little, you know, on the flip side of like, do I want to do it? Or, you know, should I, but you know, the part of their program and diversity and how they're so like, how to see this, their staff, I've noticed that is really, really, they take their students feedback very well. So I feel like that's one of the things I love about Ross, and maybe I will apply to that one as well.

Brooke Smith
I love that I think it's really important. For everybody, listening to not get discouraged when you get rejected. And know it's so hard not not to because it's human nature, to feel like, Oh, I didn't think I was good enough. Or I'm I wasn't the right fit in their eyes. But it's not the case. A lot of times, it could just be something on the application they didn't see, maybe they wanted you to improve your, your score or your statements about yourself, maybe they didn't feel like they got to know you well enough. I mean, you have to remember when you're applying to these schools, you are literally just an application to them. It's not like they're actually interviewing you and meeting you in person. So I think it's, it's really easy to take it personally. But you have to remember that you are just an application to them. And there might just be something missing that they didn't see. Or maybe they want you to get more experience. Maybe they don't think you're ready. Maybe they just had too many applicants. And they only had so much room for so many people but I encourage you and anyone listening and watching this to always keep taking the chances because you never know unless you try have a dream and you have a goal and you can see it and you can envision it in your mind, then you always have to take the chance because the worst you're going to have as a no which you already have by not trying. So I think it's just if anything I've learned in my life. It's try try, try again. You're going to know try again, get to know try again. I don't care how many times you get to know you should To pick back up and, and try again. Because eventually you'll get the guess where you belong? And they'll just get so sick of you trying, they're gonna be like, Oh, we really want, like, they're not gonna take no for an answer. I mean, here we are. But I mean, sometimes that's what it takes. And sometimes it's a test, they want to test you, how bad do you really want it, it's such a competitive industry, such a committed career, it takes a lot of grit, to become a veterinarian, it's not an easy field. So that could be part of the process. I imagine, med students have the similar experience, I'm sure they don't get in first time around all the time. And they just keep going. And eventually they learn and they get they get that yes, and they get in the door. So I definitely think keep applying, I encourage you to make comes around to keep going and see what you can do to to improve that application, and then send it back in and then keep going, you know, and I think you can do it. And I know it can be really hard mentally though, when you get that rejection, when you expect to be somewhere or be doing something you're not you got delayed and and now you're not where you thought you should be or would be. I know that it's a difficult thing to process. But as someone who is older and has been through a lot of that, I just say, it's really not that big of a deal. It's not that big of a timeframe in the scheme of your life in the scheme of your career, in the scheme of how long you'll be studying veterinary medicine, so I think you got it, you got to take the hit, and pick yourself back up and keep going because I know Gabriella, you can do it.

Gabriela 36:43
Thank you so much, Brooke. And I feel like you're so right. And I feel like every you pre-vet or at any med student, or students in general should take this advice. Because we're, we have this inner pressure of like, you know, perfection, they have to be perfect that you have to do things on the first try. And something I've learned in the process of being trained as a veterinary assistant, is that you're not going to get it the first time. And it is okay, we're humans, some people have their strengths. And they do get in the first time. But sometimes you struggle with other things. You're a good as and vice versa. And that's what makes us so beautiful. Because we can just help each other support each other with our strengths and our weaknesses. And I feel like I had that pressure of getting in the first time. And it was so hard to just process the fact that I didn't get in because I didn't want anyone to feel discouraged. I didn't want anyone to be like, Oh, clearly Gabriella, you know, um, uses her platform to talk about the different experiences she she's had, maybe I haven't had that experience. And she got to know what if I get to know. And that's one of the things that really messed with my head. I'm thinking about all the previous that I mentored, I felt like, you know, I wasn't enough to mentor prevents, I felt like, I gotta know, how am I going to advise other prevents. But then I'm just gonna take this experience to tell them hey, if you're ready to apply, do it. And something that I've learned through this process is that there's no formula to get that, yes, you can have the perfect GPA, you can have a perfect score, and maybe you lack an experience. And they they can say no, and vice versa, you know, and that's why I always tell everyone Hey, just if you feel ready, if you feel like you can, you know, embark on this journey of graduate school, which is really challenging, do it, you will learn from the process. I know a vet student. She has taught me a lot of things. Her name is Camila, she has her own page as well. And she didn't get in the first the first try. And she did tell me that it's okay. And she learned from the process. It's it's one of those things where it's a sign that hey, you can use this to be better to become the best version of yourself and I have known other veterinarians that use your platform to talk about the fact that they didn't get in the first time and I feel like this experience has made me feel like after you know griefing and all that grieving and and, you know processing that I am now getting into better Well, this year, it makes me feel actually, like, powerful and makes me feel empowered and make me feel like, okay, I got to know, but I'm going to do it again. And I will keep growing. And despite of what happens, I will become a veterinarian, because it is something that I've been called for. I feel in my heart, I'm fine all the signs of the universe, that this is what I'm supposed to do. So I want to tell that to every pre that every med student, every student in general, you got this, it is challenging, it really is. But in the end, it will make you a better doctor, a better student, a better human being. So

Brooke Smith
yes, I, I concur all the way around. And I would argue that not getting into that school the first time around, or even the second time around, or whatever it's going to be actually makes you more inspiring to other people. Because when things seem easy, and then you yourself, maybe don't get in, and then it's like, well, it was so easy for Gabriella, she just applied and she got in and like I didn't, I'm a loser, like nobody wants me. Um, I feel like, it's less inspiring when you don't have adversity when you don't have those challenges. Because when you have when you meet those challenges so gracefully like you have and with the strength and resilience that you have, that's the most inspiring thing you can do for other people is just say, You know what? I didn't get in. And that's okay, you might not get an either, or maybe you will, it doesn't matter. The thing is like, I'm not going to let this no stop me, I'm not going to let this no stop my journey, I'm not going to let it affect my heart and where I'm trying to go or my belief in myself knowing that this is what I meant to do. I think it's really beautiful and really important to remember that you know, your heart the best. And so like what Gabrielle says, if you think you're ready to apply to veterinary school and do this thing, do it, you know, but you have to understand that you might not get in the first time or the second time and that that's okay. That's part of life. I mean, it's only failure, if you let it be, it's only a failure, if you don't try again, if you give up, that's when you fail. But if you are still going and you still have that dream, and that fire in you, and that's what you want to do, then you just keep going. And that's the success story, no matter what happens.

Gabriela 42:32
Thank you so much for that. And that is something that clearly, you know, you don't see it that way sometimes and in your soul, right, you know, a lot of people, I got inspired by Camila, because she did tell me, Hey, I didn't get in the first time. And then I'm seeing her growth. And the veterinarian, she will become in a few months. And I'm like, wow, like who would have thought, you know, and she told me that it's one of the things that helped her, you know, feel more even more passionate about the field was, which is like, you wouldn't think that getting a no will lead to that, you know, that's not the first thought process. So, when she did, she felt like it was an accomplishment, because she did get to know, but then she kept on fighting. And she found that Yes. And it's even more satisfying. Because it's like, oh, look, a lot of people maybe doubted my abilities, or I didn't get in the first time. But look, I mean, I'm gonna be a veterinarian in a few months. So her story truly inspired me. And that's why what you said it's so true. And I and I didn't think about that until now. So I hope you know the people that are listening to this, take that and put it in the hearts and their minds. Because, like you said, it's part of life.

Brooke Smith
Well, and also sometimes you don't realize how badly you want something until you get a rejection like that. And then stuns you and you're like, you don't know how to really process it. And then it comes with you know, there's sadness, there's all the things you're gonna feel. But then if you still have that, like, if you're so upset by the fact that you didn't get in, it's just reassurance that you're on the right track and you should be doing what you're doing. If it didn't affect you, then maybe that isn't the right field for you. It can make you can put the fire in you even more to say no, this is this is it. This is what I'm doing. I'm going after this, I don't care how many rejections I get. I'm going for this. And I think it's really really, really, really, really, really, really important. But in any case, you know, I'm a big believer and I know it's so cheesy but what's meant to be working and things happen in their own time when they're supposed to. And it sounds like to me, you know, this could be a blessing for you because your own You're gonna gain more experience, now, you're going to become a resident, you're going to become a resident of Washington State, and then your, your, your fees for school are going to be a lot less if you're a resident, as opposed to an out of state kind of tuition. So and all the experience that you're gaining in, in the kind of, it's not like you're just sitting around, doing something that has nothing to do with become a veterinarian, you're actually actively in the field, you're learning every day. And you so you are still pursuing it, even though you're not in veterinary school right now. You're still growing, you're still learning. And I would even argue that you're probably learning more actually being in the field as a veterinary assistant, than a lot of times you would be even in the first year event in your medicine. So you're only going to be more prepared when you get in and when you have to be more sure of where you're supposed to be, and you're only going to do better. So I think sometimes our setbacks aren't actually setbacks, we just put it in our mind that it's a setback, because, like one or because society told us this is a setback. But sometimes it's not actually it's, it's a you know, we think you're falling and you're actually flying. So I think, you know, it's good perspective to keep in mind when things don't always go the way that you expect them to, or want them to, it can also it can honestly be part of the journey of life. And that's part of the fun of it, you have to enjoy the moments as they come and go and have the challenges of, of just getting out of our own way, sometimes getting out of our own mind and realizing that we aren't doing as bad as we think we are.

Gabriela 46:41
And it's something that I've always had on my mind, as Vet school is always gonna be there,

Brooke Smith
I just want to add the fact that you moved all the way from Puerto Rico, okay, Washington. across the whole United States, you went from like one way to all the way across the United States to the other side. And this way, but yeah, you get what I'm saying, like, it's, that's really brave, you mean, you left your entire family you left love, you left your friends, you left your entire way of life to move to a place where you knew no one, and you took the chance to take the job. And I remember I was talking to you a little bit when you were when you just had the internship over the summer, and then you got the job offer. And I remember urging you to take it, I was like, if this is in your heart, you take the job, just take the job, because it will lead you to the place that you're supposed to be. And you can't let the fear hold you back. When you can't let the fear of failing, you can't let the fear of not getting in, hold you back. You can't let the fear of, of something new hold you back. Because that's how we grow. And that's how we get to the life that we're trying to get to. So I was really proud of you and really happy to hear you. Despite it being, I'm sure extremely difficult, both emotionally and physically just being away from family and loved ones. And I know long distance relationships can be difficult. But I'm really proud of you. And I'm sure you're your friends, and everyone's really proud of you and support you. And we're here to for all of that. Any tips and tricks you have, or a little advice you have anything helpful that you've learned, like, Oh, I really study this way is the best way or don't waste your time with with applying over here for this or just whatever it is any kind of thing you like, wish you had known or something to streamline something easy for someone or just a tip, a trick or a little advice thing.

Gabriela 48:41
Yeah,of course. A common theme and all this, you know, just moving here getting the job opportunity. And I feel like the importance of networking. It's like a lot of people don't think about that. So I look back on what I've done. And I feel like what led me to grow in this field is, you know, networking and putting myself out there. And I feel like if you're a student in, you know, we need that mentorship, we need someone that is already, you know, an example of veterinarians to tell us, hey, this is how it goes. This is how you should prepare yourself. So having those connections really putting yourself out there and creating connections with veterinarians, that takes different organizations that are related to your field, I feel would lead you to have different opportunities because that's how I got my job. I went to this opportunity of, you know, helping my community which was spare time for prurigo like connected with different veterinarians. And here I am today, one of them gave me the opportunity to work alongside of them, because they they saw Ah, you know, my passion, and they saw my interest in shelter medicine. And they were like, you know, you're the perfect fit for this job. So if you can start off as a student, as even in your first year, starting to, you know, get those connections with different veterinarians, different organizations can really help you, you know, get these opportunities and even have, you know, pick their minds and get that knowledge that could help you in the future and maybe advice. So that's one tip from me, network, put yourself out there. Don't be afraid to talk to veterinary professionals about, you know, your goals, what you want to do ask a lot of questions. So again, all the knowledge, so I feel like that's one of the things that really, really helped me throughout this process. And to feel supported.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, I think that's great advice. I think that's really great advice. And I think just to kind of elaborate on that a little bit is just, when you follow your heart of where you're trying to go in the natural things that you want to participate in the world, organizations, things that you're passionate about, naturally, just going towards them, will lead you down the path that you're trying to get done. Because you're already following your joy, you're following your passion, you're following the things that make you that move you. So like, in Puerto Rico, being a part of that organization to help out led you to this, and that was just you following your passion and from animals, your passion for shelter, medicine, your passion for helping animals and getting knowledge to people who own pets, I think that just just following that even in any kind of way, on a weekend, you know, going over to volunteer over here, that will open up doors for you that will lead you more towards where you're trying to go just by following your your heart and your passion.

Gabriela 52:04
Definitely, I wanted to follow this, this path. And I'm just so grateful for all the opportunities that I've been given. And that's why I created my platform, because I I want other pre vets to, to know that they can do it as well. But sometimes we need that reassurance, we have all the tools right there. But sometimes we just need someone to tell us, hey, you can you can use those tools to do this. And you know, I needed that early on. So that's what I want to you know, I want to give back and do that because it is it is not easy. We need to support each other. We need to be there for each other. In the end, we're all colleagues, and we're working for the same goal. So I think it's important that we just stick together.

Brooke Smith
Absolutely. And I know everyone listening and watching. If you want to contact Gabriella, I'm sure she would love to I'm gonna let her go ahead and tell you her social media handles verbally so you can hear them and then we'll also be linked down below in this video. So you can go follow her on Instagram and see her journey and ask her all the questions you want to and I think we're gonna do another podcast and we're going to try to get a veterinarian on with the Gabriella and next week that will do it. So we'll see we'll keep you posted. And that that will be the next goal.

Gabriela 53:24
Awesome. So yes, my handle is at this @shelterdogtor. They always say my DMs are always open, my email is always open as well, you can just find my email in the links. In my bio. If you have any questions about the application process, being a pre vet, what to do next, just I'm always open to answer all those things and just support you in your journey.

Brooke Smith
We're so excited to see where you continue to go and grow to we'll definitely have to do another podcast in a year from now. We're gonna have to check it out and hear what school you're going to. Because it'll be that time and we're really excited to just watch you grow and you've been truly inspiring to everyone and we're so happy to have you on the podcast and we look forward to having you on again.

Gabriela 54:16
Let the world know. It's okay. You're not gonna get it in the first time. Sometimes you're not gonna get it the first time and it's okay.



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