Friday, May 28, 2010

Intended Destination

My present long term goal, and I realize I wholly neglected to identify it in my foundational post, is to pursue entry into a Veterinary medicine program, complete it and become a Vet specializing in large animal medicine with a sub specialization in sheep and/or goats. Okay, so now that, that is out there the obvious questions this evokes are those of how I came to this decision and why. Let's start with the how.

I've been pretty aimless in my life for a very long time. I had an interest in animals, working with and caring for them, at a very young age but this was derailed during my adolescence by two things that heavily contributed to me losing sight of that for a very long time. One of these was a passion for and interest in comics and other popular media that had me wanting to be involved in the creation of comics (or television programs, video games, feature length movies, etc.) for a while. There's nothing wrong with an interest in being a creative professional, I still have some stories I very much would like to tell and would love to see published/produced in some medium, but creative work, as a vocation, entirely neglects my natural aptitudes for investigation and analytic reasoning that I feel can best be put to use in a scientific career. Furthermore, I was never fully committed to the pursuit of that. I could have attempted to be bold and take the necessary steps, say after college, to relocate to a part of the country where such work would be more readily available and I could develop the necessary connections in media production. I wasn't really producing work in great capacity either and I also wasn't comfortable leaving my existing support system or taking the necessary financial risks.

Why couldn't I take that leap? Well maybe (probably) that can be attributed to the second thing that made it so far for me to realize where I wanted to go with my life: clinical depression. The details of my dealings with depression are something I may delve into at more length another time, but for the purposes of this entry I will keep things as simple as possible and acknowledge the profound negative impact that this malady has had on my judgement and sense of self-worth. Along with that suffering depression led me to some pretty self-destructive ideation and actions. When I REALLY lost sight of the possibility of pursuing a career in the sciences was when I applied for and earned an ROTC scholarship as a senior in High School. For a period of about 10 months I was wholly focused on this, believing that nothing but a military career was appropriate for me, romanticizing the concept based on an obsession with World War II movies and table top and video war games. About six weeks into my freshman year of college I accepted that the US army was not really an organization that was concerned with protecting the civil liberties of all people everywhere, defeating Nazi super villains and seeing justice done. It was (and largely remains) an organization committed to protecting the economic interests of the most powerful citizens and businesses in the United States without regard to the exploitation virtual enslavement and poverty visited on those who have what the American Capitalist class wants (and I use the term Capitalist here in its originally intended sense to refer to one who possesses capital). Disillusioned I left ROTC and proceeded to engage in taking the necessary student loans to finish college. I was pretty much without direction after this other than the half-hearted pursuit of my stated intention to be a writer (or director, producer or similar creative professional). With no real career intent, I ended up majoring in Cultural Studies because I figured I needed to pursue completion of a Bachelors Degree in four years, believed that a Liberal Arts degree was all I was really fit for ( I hadn't had a legitimate science or math class in two years by this time) and that major offered the most classes in a liberal arts program that looked interesting. It isn't a bad thing, my Cultural Studies BA. I had a GREAT academic advisor with whom I maintain a friendship to this day, and I got to watch a lot of movies and write many papers about comic books as texts and as an art form.

After college I spent the following years working in the service sector. I continued to look for other work, additional education required or not, something that would feel more like a profession, a career, than a job. Something I wouldn't get sick of after a year or two on the job. People made suggestions to me and I looked into a few things along the way myself, but as I tried to envision myself in these careers I realized that they would not be able to hold my interest or I flat out wouldn't be happy doing them. Watchmaking and repair? Thorough investigation informed me that I would be becoming a glorified jewelry salesman for elite niche consumer commodities. Teaching? I could have explored teaching English or History, but I have had enough experience as a trainer of other people in my career to date to know I don't want to devote all my time to teaching. A career in higher education is definitely out. If I wanted to dwell exclusively in the realm of academia I would have pursued that immediately after leaving. Library Science? I came back to this one a few times at the prompting of now ex-girlfriends, friends, co-workers and parents and every time I concluded that I had spent enough time doing information management work to know that it would not hold my interest in the long term.

In the Spring of 2009 my Mother commented on how good I am with animals after I successfully trimmed the claws f their rowdy new kitten and said (I'm not sure how seriously she meant it at the time) that I should have been a veterinarian. Something about this resonated and I started to investigate what would be necessary to pursue a career in veterinary medicine in earnest. To a degree it seemed insane to me that I would do this. I hadn't taken a single serious college level course since I gained college credit for Chemistry my senior year of high school. Yet I have found myself motivated to pursue this end and without doubt that it is work that I would find meaning in and never wish to leave out of boredom.

In my next entry I believe I will try to write about what I have done thus far in pursuit of my goal of becoming a large animal veterinarian and perhaps the reasoning behind my intended specialty.

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