My first memory that I can recall is sitting in my high chair in our kitchen watching one of our dogs die. I must have been really young, to be in a high chair, but I think I can remember being confused, as if I wasn't sure why the dog was acting the way it was, and why the dogs breathing sounded so odd. But I think I remember wanting to do something about it, I could tell something was wrong, and from my high chair there was nothing I could do - not that I would have known how anyway.
This sounds a bit morbid, and perhaps in hindsight I'm projecting too much of what I think I should have been feeling onto the memory, and perhaps my brain has taken some artistic license in recreating the memory, but it makes my point, so I'm going to go with it: I have wanted to be a veterinarian for as long as I can remember, and in fact I don't remember making a choice to be a vet, or having to think about what I wanted to be. There were of course short phases of wanting to be a veterinarian/broadway star or a veterinarian/wildlife photographer or a veterinarian/pop singer, but my day job was always going to be veterinarian. It wasn't really a choice anyway, or even something I wanted. It was much more than that. This all sounds incredibly cheesy, but I can't even really explain it -- being a vet was just what I was going to do, and that was that, period.
So this is why I am so so so happy to tell you all, that I have passed not only the NAVLE exam which will allow me to work in the USA if/when I return, but I passed my final exams as well, and on the 30th of June I will be graduating from the University of Edinburgh with my class as a veterinarian. The best part is, my final year group passed as well, and I'm so proud to be graduating with Emma, Bobby and Graham, they have helped me through this past year with their support and endless hilarity, and have become some of my best friends in the process. My housemate, Anik, also passed, which is also awesome! We got the news at the same time, so we celebrated in the garden with some bubbly! Anik has been there for me for pretty much all of the last 4 years, and I couldn't have gotten through it without her to stress out with and party with.
Getting to this point has been a long, difficult and often frustrating process, especially since I've been working towards this for the last two decades and then some, and it's pretty much all I've ever known! But even though I struggled at times, and had the occasional thought of "why am I doing this to myself?!" it was so so worth it. And I know there will be many more days of struggle and insecurity -- I am anticipating my first day on the job to be absolutely terrifying -- I still cannot imagine doing anything else!
On a completely unrelated note, but another reason why my life is pretty much awesome right now, Andrew asked me to marry him at the restaurant where we first met, and I (obviously) said yes!
Life is good!
(Dr.) Tara Bergin BVMS, MRCVS