I guess I am officially a true believer in that old cliché "everything happens for a reason." My story begins, as many stories do, with failure and rejection. When I graduated high school I was determined to attend a private school in Boston. A prestigious education from an east coast school was all this desert rat wanted. Journalism was how I wanted to make a difference in the world, and nothing was going to stop me... until something did. Money is funny like that. When I was accepted to Emerson College that was it, I was on my way. Turns out the east coast + a private education is cold and expensive. 18 year old me was out of her league.
A friend with too much faith in me decided to make the move too, and together we shared a 400 square foot site-unseen studio apartment with smoke stained walls that we bleached, a bathroom we refused to walk barefoot in, and a bunkbed. I was working overtime in a claustrophobic jewelry booth and going to school part time to cut the cost of tuition. This left me with no time for self care, and my mental and physical health suffered.
Two years, 3 roommates, and a good amount of debt later I decided that enough was enough and retreated back to Arizona. I moved in with my best friend and got that state school education I was (for whatever reason) so ashamed of. I broadened my major to English with a new and sincere interest in publishing, and started to focus on healing. Fast forward a couple more years and I started to recognize myself again. With a renewed sense of self and excitement I began to apply to jobs in the publishing industry. I must have applied to over 50 entry level positions, and was rejected by all. The Cheese Magazine didn't want me. I didn't understand. I had edited for multiple literary magazines, written for my college paper, gotten great grades - why wasn't I good enough? I was devastated and discouraged.
One day on a run with my dog, Wrigley, I noticed a man stopped and staring down at something in the bike lane. After several seconds of hesitation he walked away. When I approached I found a distressed baby squirrel. Eyes still closed, covered in maggots, and writhing in pain I proceeded to use my shirt to scoop him up. I remember simultaneously cradling the baby squirrel with one hand while keeping Wrigley from jumping up to see what I was holding with the other. This was all while trying to ignore the fact that I was shirtless while crossing a giant intersection. I knew that the nearest animal hospital was right down the street, but it was a Saturday and they had already closed for the evening. I tried anyway and luckily a technician was kind enough to let me in. One of the doctor's told me that she could either euthanize the injured squirrel there or provide me with the necessary equipment to offer supportive care throughout the night, until the wildlife rehab opened the next day. I opted for the second option and named him Winchester. In the morning I drove to the rehab. I dropped Winchester off and hoped that I had done enough.
Ironically, the same day I happened to be dropping off an injured baby squirrel was also the day the veterinary university (that houses the wildlife rehab) was holding an annual fair with booths and demonstrations about the masters and doctorate programs they offer. With no real purpose I began to wander. It was here that I found individuals just like me, passionate about protecting and caring for animals, obtaining educations and careers allowing them to do just that. It was here that I felt like the universe was talking to me for the first time, giving me direction. Maybe this was the reason for all of that rejection. Every mistake I felt like I had made and every disappointing feeling that had tormented my gut was at ease for the first time in a long time.
I accepted a position at the same animal hospital that had helped me with Winchester. I told my friends and family that it was a way for me to make money while I continued to apply to jobs that were, you know, related to my degree. I fibbed. The truth was I loved working at the animal hospital from day one. I loved being surrounded by and learning from the incredible doctors, technicians, and administrative professionals that cared for animals the same way I did. I loved the connections I made with the patients and their people. While emotionally exhausting, this job was the first one I had ever had that made me feel like I was on the right path.
I worked at the hospital for almost a year. During my time there I found one doctor in particular to be truly inspiring, and now every time I find myself facing a challenge I aspire to handle it with the same grace and calm intelligence that she would. With her help I was accepted as an intern for Seal Rescue Ireland. It is there that I will be rescuing and rehabilitating injured and debilitated seals and seal pups for the next three months. Thank you again, Dr. Perkins, for helping me on that first day and for inspiring me ever since. Thank you Winchester, for changing the course of my life. And thank you reader, for taking the time to read my first post. I am so excited to document my experiences at Seal Rescue Ireland, and I hope you will enjoy reading about them.
The journey begins August 6th :)