Submitted 2024-02-08

Animal doctor. That was what I said I wanted to be when I was 5 years old. Okay, so maybe “pet doctor” is not the right term, okay then Veterinarian, yeah that sounds better. Throughout my life my parents had always supported my dreams for my career path, even though they knew it was difficult, they never discouraged me. My parents would spend money to give me the extra opportunities to work with animals that other kids didn’t have the opportunities to do, such as shadowing a clinic for a day in 4th grade or taking care of two guinea pigs all by myself. Until senior year of high school I was determined this was my pathway. Well, eventually I tore my ACL during a lacrosse game where I proceeded to get a surgery for and had to attend daily physical therapy. I vividly remember the excitement I would get when I beat a new obstacle in my recovery, and the support my therapist had for everything I did, AND LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THOSE DEEP TISSUE MASSAGES… No, but on a serious note, I vividly remember one day discussing with my PT what I wanted to do once out of high school, and I would tell her about my goals and aspirations, and she promoted the idea, “well ya know, there is always job opportunities for physical therapists and they do make a good amount of money”. I thought she was joking around, but after spending so much time with her as well as the trainer at my high school it got my mind rolling. Second semester of high school I was put in a elective class that was a sports medicine track, and I fell in love with every bit of that class, I would go above and beyond with my assignments as well as answer every question and did extra volunteer hours outside of class. I ended up getting the Physical Education student of the month due to my excitement of the class and that teacher really opened my eyes. Well, I still proceeded to stay on the Veterinarian track once I went off to college, and during my first semester I really felt out of place, we would be studying the different types of meat production and livestock animal anatomy, which was not ideal being that I am a vegetarian from a suburban town where no livestock animals were raised. I felt stuck and contemplated what to do, after a couple long conversations with my Mother we came to the conclusion that maybe I possibly just outgrew that dream and formed a new one. Being someone who has always participated in sports, lifts on a daily basis, and cares a lot about how muscles worked, I just knew this was the pathway I desired, and with how much my physical therapist helped me, I knew this is what I wanted the pursue with my goals in life. I knew all my tears that my PT had to watch me shed probably wasn’t new to her, but when I really sit and think, I have done that for people many times before. Being the captain of my lacrosse team I had to take on more responsibilities than any normal player. I vividly remember, a time when one of my teammates was injured on the field during a practice, she had bit straight through her lip and was gushing blood, gross yeah, but while everyone else turned around to avoid looking at the gory situation I sprinted to grab my water bottle to rinse her mouth out, as well as ran as fast as I could to get the trainer. During that time I had no thoughts but to help her out because I know she was in pain and scared, I don’t care if a bone is sticking out of a leg, or the person is bleeding out, I am going to do everything in my abilities to help the person out. I could go on and talk about the girl on the wrestling mat having multiple seizures back to back and me helping her while everyone else froze, or the time my other teammate also tore her ACL during a game, but I want to go and talk about my first encounter of being put in an emergency situation. Going into my freshman year of high school in 2019, my neighbor took his own life, he was 52 and his wife came home to find him, the poor panicked women not knowing what to do came to my house begging for help, where the little 13 year old Avery was alone. Though this was 5 years ago it still feels like yesterday for me. I remember seeing his body hanging in the garage while I tried covering her eyes from the horrifying sight. I remember talking to my other neighbors while we waited for the police to come once we got his body down, where we all knew he was already gone, I didn’t cry and all I worried about was helping my neighbor not look at her husband. No, I didn’t save him but this was still a very eye opening experience for me. I realized at this time that I knew I wanted to help people, or at the time animals. Helping people has always been important to me, and I have learned about myself that I am able to be placed in difficult situation and not let my fears take over when someone needs my help most.