“If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” –Frank A. Clark

It’s a wonderful time of year. There’s still nice weather, football is in full swing, and for some, a recent new beginning in vet school, the start of another year, or perhaps a starting a new job. It really is the start of a new year for many people and many challenges may lie ahead.

While we may not always realize it at the time, the path we are on is likely to change at some point. I didn’t know I wanted to be a vet until after I had given up aspirations of space exploration, being a star athlete, or a photographer. What you may come across may remain to be seen, or perhaps, you’ve already leaped with or without a parachute and have found your course in life.

Part of the joy I (and I hope others) find in veterinary medicine is the daily variety of cases and the people you meet. Some days you get to use those skills you’ve been dreaming of your whole career or took that extra course to learn. And sometimes these are the cases and patients that make for the best stories when catching up with colleagues.  However, during my time as a veterinarian, I’ve known vet students and even fellow vets to magically disapparate when an emergency case comes in. What purpose does this serve other than to potentially overburden the others, vets/students, maybe put an animal’s life at risk, or may ultimately reduce your job satisfaction? Yeah, that last point… unless they have a damn good reason, they’re only cheating themselves.

In another scenario, let’s look at our first clinical rotation or maybe our first year out of school. A majority of vets don’t stay in their first job and many of them are better vets because they changed clinics (not to say that those in the first jobs aren’t great at it). Some obstacle (style of mentorship, difficult case, interaction with colleagues, etc.) came up in their time at that first job or that first rotation in school that allowed them to grow as they moved on. And moving on is OKAY!!! You grow through what you go through.

We should embrace obstacles and take time to observe everything around us. There’s always a lesson in them and they will shape who you become as a student, veterinarian, parent, spouse, friend or all-around badass. Wisdom can be found in the unlikeliest of places by the way… I found the quote at the beginning of this article written on a bathroom wall.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the DrAndyRoark.com editorial team.

Dr. Ryan Llera


Dr. Ryan Llera is a small animal veterinarian at the Kingston Veterinary Clinic in Kingston, Ontario. Though originally from Florida, he married a Canadian (who is also a vet!) and they share their home with 3 cats, 2 dogs, 2 horses and a pet rabbit. Ryan is also a regular guest writer for the Ontario SPCA blog. You can find more of his writing at www.drryanllera.com or see what else he is up to on Facebook & Instagram.