A New Direction

Part of my inspiration for today’s post: 

Instead of my usual thankful post to end the week, I wanted to share some information about some decisions I’ve made about my life. Whereas before I was changing my mind almost week to week, this one has stuck, and when I see videos like this, it hits me in the gut that the decision I’m making now is the right one and probably one which I’ve been drawn to my whole life, but didn’t know how to properly act on.

In case you’re a recent reader, I’ll recap briefly. A few years ago, I thought, well, since I’m so interested in fitness, why not get certified to be a professional trainer? (This idea was prompted in part by many of my friends and coworkers saying to me, “you know, you should be a trainer!”) So I took two certification tests, and also took a few specialization tests, so I could work with a few different “populations” and I got a job at a fitness club so I could see what that life is like from the other side. I really kept telling myself that that was what I meant to do, even as I started to question things as I was studying for the second (and very difficult) certification test. And it started to nag at me that I wouldn’t be able to be outside more if I became a trainer, and of all the hours I would need to spend away from my animals. Then, I thought of living in an RV and doing the travel and workamping thing to support myself, but I realized that lifestyle might not be best for my animals, and also, it would likely not end up costing me less than living in a stationary place. That, and I do like some stability in my life. (This is not to say that I won’t ever end up full time RVing, just not right now.)

Then, I thought “well, maybe I should do some sort of survival program, or even go into organic farming.” Notice, both of those kinds of paths would keep me outdoors a lot. So that seemed to be a theme. I also found that I was happiest when around my pets. Yes, it’s the unconditional love thing at work, I am sure. But it’s also that animals don’t play politics, so we understand each other just fine. Because that’s one thing I just don’t do. Play politics and say yes until I feel like a bobblehead that’s been broken. It’s just not me and I will never apologize for it.

Then there is that punched-in-the-gut feeling I get whenever I read about animals being neglected or abused, or treated like they are just a thing without feelings or souls.  It makes me ashamed for not doing more to help them on a day to day basis. So, I’ve decided I am going to go back to school for an associates degree of applied science with a concentration in veterinary technology. My plan is to go through the formal application process over the next few months with Colby Community College, based out of Kansas. Yes, they are accredited by the AVMA, or I wouldn’t even consider the program. They have been quite responsive to my questions so far. They have just recently been accredited so I am sure they want to really get the word out.

I might be thought insane to do this at age 42, and I do know now that a lot of the job is learned on-the-job but I’ve always felt better also having the book knowledge behind me. Plus, while the program I will be going to will be a distance-based program, there are lots of requirements that will have me learning on the job. An externship/internship will be required, and I’m hoping that the fact that I am going to school for it will help me find a job working for a vet in a new location. And when there is time, I also want to be more involved in animals’ rights issues.

So, since I have been out of school for a while and I didn’t have the foresight as a teenager to take more AP classes than I did, I have a lot of prerequisites to catch up on, like Biology and Chemistry, etc. I will be taking three classes in the spring semester while working, and three over the summer as well. There is also a 1-credit class called Intro to Vet Technology that I have to take, so I’m hoping to squeeze that in by August. This schedule may seem a bit aggressive, or insane, to some, but when you finally figure out what your heart desires or what you really want to do with your life, you want that life to start NOW.  There is also the incentive to start now and take as many classes as I can because my employer will pay 75% of the tuition up to 10 credits taken per semester, even if the classes are not related to my current position. This, and the fact that I will be auditing the Animal Law class in the spring means it’s going to be animals, animals, and more animals for me this coming year!!

Just an aside – do you know how weird it felt to call up my high school last week and ask for my high school transcript? Talk about transported back into the past! Seeing those classes and grades listed again, there are no words….

By the way, I usually don’t get into politics on this blog, but I just have to say, this speech did bring some tears to my eyes and a big shit-eating grin to my face last night. Whatever you think of her, Elizabeth Warren is someone who is not afraid to call Bullshit when she sees it. She is my new role model. I’m hoping her husband’s door is open on Monday morning when I go into work so that I can say a personal thank you for her bravery for naming names and taking numbers. She might be one of the most hated women in certain circles, but what’s that saying? Quiet women never changed history.  And with that, I wish you a good weekend!

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13 thoughts on “A New Direction

  • Bless you for committing to the care of animals. I’m sure it will have its sad moments but also many moments filled with happiness. Thank you.

    • Thanks, Kim. I’m sure I will get more out of it than I can give to the animals. Yes, I’m going to have to brace myself for the sad times, and I know I can’t save them all, but the way I look at it is, at least I can make the lives of some better for that day. I’m actually hoping/considering working with large animals, like horses, goats, etc. There is a definite need for people to care for them too.

  • Congratulations on figuring out what you want to do with your life. Most people don’t. Good luck with school. I went back to school at age 50 to get a graduate degree…the most fun I’ve had in many many years!

    • Thank you, Dawn. I saw that – that you went back to library science school! Funny, that’s the kind of field I am looking to leave now, for the animals. That actually makes me feel better, knowing that others have done the same, and I’m sure many more will. I love your blog, and style of writing, by the way!

  • Getting the AA for vet tech sounds good! Doing it online and getting your company to pay for most of it is even better! I think potential employers are mostly on board with the distant education setup. So long as its not a diploma mill. My company is ok with it and is even pushing/paying for everyone to improve their skill sets as long as its in line with the your dept’s line of business.

    For those pre reqs, see if you could use straighterline.com and transfer the credits over.

    • So I won’t be having my employer pay for most of the degree, just the prerequisites. But that still saves me a couple thousand. And this community college seemed to have better per-credit hour rates than a lot of others, even with me being considered out of state. I definitely think there is something weird with MA–I saw a few accredited schools that can’t allow residents of MA to be part of their distance program. I was like “huh?”

  • Wow! What a beautiful post and an inspiration to all! Congrats on your exciting focus – the world needs more people like you, Terri! Thanks for being you!

    • Joy, thanks for reading and commenting! I think the world needs more people like you – you are a free spirit and are so good-natured, from what i see on all your videos. 🙂

  • Terri, Congrats on your decision. It seems to be a good fit for you. Colby Community College is a great college. I lived in Colby for 5 years and was going through the Physical Therapist Assistant program there. While going to school, I worked as a custodian at the college, and coincidentally, the vet tech building was one I had to clean. I knew the director of the program and all the teachers were top notch. It was also one of the cheapest per credit hour. I know that you’ll do great!!

    • Thanks, Gary! I actually may end up going through Cedar Valley Community College for the vet tech degree. They are much cheaper per course, even! And I don’t need as many prerequisites, plus I can start taking the gen ed requirements at the same time as the program specific classes. But yes, I do feel like it’s the right move for me. Definitely. And that is great to know about CCC in case I do end up going there. They were super responsive to me on email. Very nice, actually!

    • By the way, I’ve decided CCC is the place for me if I’m gonna do this whole school thing again. My interactions with them have all been quite pleasant. Another school to which I applied, I got a form acceptance email and it asked me to send in my transcripts. Um, I fedexed them and they had been received the day before. That and a few other things made me feel like I was just going to be another number there, as I was in undergrad, etc. Oh, and when I added up the “Fees” at the CVC place, they seemed to cost just as much if not more than the Kansas school. So I’m sticking with the first, CCC.

  • Sounds like you’ve got a good plan in place, and it is certainly a worthwhile path to follow. I imagine it would give you a lot of options for moving to a warmer climate once you have the degree and some experience. All good things to wrap up the year and jump into 2015 with a clear focus. My 25-year-old son recently got his HS transcripts as well and said the same thing about “seeing” the information again. Have a wonderful holiday Terri.

    • Jodee, so sorry for taking so long to reply back! Oh I feel much better hearing that about your son. And yes, once I made this decision to pursue a career with animals, it just really all started to seem to fall into place. Cross your fingers I can start volunteering with my vet in January – that will give me some good experience too. I hope you will have a great Christmas too, Jodee!

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