When I was in preschool, my teacher gave us an activity that included drawing a picture of what we wanted to be when we grew up. I, of course, drew Jasmine, my favorite Disney Princess. At four years old, I wanted to be a princess.
My sister, on the other hand, told everyone who would listen (once she got over her shyness) that she wanted to be a “doctor animal.” She had a play vet kit, with plastic veterinary tools, and would subject our cats to “shots” and “surgery.” Though her dream lapsed for a short while after she obtained “Palentologist Barbie,” Kylie has wanted to be a vet ever since she knew what a vet was. She has always been focused on being a vet.
As I watched my sister walk across the stage at her high school graduation, I was nervous for her. Being two years older than her, I went through college first, and I remembered what my freshman year was like. But Kylie got through her first year of vet tech school with flying colors, and during her sophomore year became a peer mentor for the freshman vet tech students. She took a three week trip to Africa to work with wild animals. She worked on farms and at zoos. She flourished at SUNY Delhi, and when she graduated with her associate’s degree in veterinary technology, she knew she wasn’t done learning. So she set to work pursuing her bachelor’s.
As much as Kylie enjoyed being a vet tech, she knew for certain that she wanted to go further. She was on track for vet school, working her butt off. Last fall, she found out that she could start applying to vet schools, even though she had not quite finished her bachelor’s. Being the ambitious person she is, she sent in her application and all of the necessary documents. Then she got an in-person interview. And then, after a few long weeks of waiting, she got her acceptance to Ross University.
The day she got accepted, I was at work with my mom. I heard my mom answer the phone, and almost immediately she screamed. Kylie got accepted to vet school. Kylie was going to be living her dream of going to vet school. After my mom got off the phone, I told her that I was more excited for this than I was when I got accepted into the Disney College Program. I was (and am) truly proud of my little sister.
Ky is leaving this week to embark on a new journey, one that will take her to St. Kitts in the West Indies. Yep, my sister is leaving the country and will be going to school on a tropical island. I know, right? She’ll be on the island for two and a half years, and when she returns back to the US, she’ll do her residency. She’s got it all figured out, and though the details go over my head, I’m still so happy for her.
At 22 years old, my sister is a heck of a lot more put together than I am at 25. But she’s my inspiration. Though her dream has been around much longer than mine has, she’s inspired me to give it my all and never give up. She’s also inspired me to work harder as I finish my MA.
Though our work is different, watching her work as hard as she does has motivated me. And she’s my biggest fan, as much as I am hers — we say “when” instead of “if” when we talk about our futures, correcting the other if the words mix up. “When you’re a vet, not if.” “When you work for Disney, not if.”
I’m starting to tear up as I write this. This is the last day until December that my sister and I will be living under the same roof. Though she drives me insane most of the time, it’s going to be weird not having her around, or even just a phone call away. St. Kitts is a heck of a lot further than even the furthest place where she’s gone to school thus far — Boston. And while I’ll probably visit, I’m only going to see my sister a handful of times before I move to Florida next year. It’s a weird feeling, for sure.
But at the same time, I know that this is exactly right for Kylie. As my mom keeps saying, “bikinis and scrubs, what more could she want?” Yes, Kylie is going to be living and learning on a beach, which is totally her forte, but she’ll be doing exactly what she’s always dreamed of — becoming a vet.
Kylie, I am so proud of you. As much as you annoy the crap out of me, it’s a blessing to watch you live your dream. I hope that St. Kitts is everything you want it to be and more. :-)