By Jon Young, WVMA Student Representative
Serving on the WVMA Executive Board has been a terrific honor. Over the past two years, I have seen the attention to detail, care and creativity it takes to steer the veterinary medical profession into the future. Seeing as it was a room full of veterinarians – people who did not get where they are by dreaming small or fudging details – I should not have been surprised. Learning from those leaders has been a remarkable opportunity. I would like to share a few of the things I have learned.
The WVMA is about relationships. I ran for a board position because a colleague pointed me in the right direction. Serving on
the board was hands down the most meaningful and enriching part of my veterinary education. I say this to exhort you to cultivate your relationships – your network – and to encourage one another to participate in the life of the profession. Just as the WVMA is more than continuing education, practicing veterinary medicine is more than diagnostics and treatments. It is about the people we meet and those we work with every day. Chances are there is someone you know that can benefit from a nudge in some direction – any direction – to be more connected, to develop some aspect of themselves, or to give back in some way. Help them help everyone else; be part of their story.
The WVMA is here for you. For the past two years, I have had the opportunity to both represent my class to the WVMA and the WVMA to my class. Your district representatives are sharing local challenges and hammering out responses, one of which being the Summer Opportunities exchange that just launched. Numerous district representatives shared that finding new graduates was a major challenge for small, rural practices, and Alexis Payette, student representative for the class of 2023, shared that finding meaningful summer experiences was a major concern for her classmates. And just like that, a solution was born! Your friends at the WVMA are listening and have your back.
The WVMA is an opportunity to say yes. If your inbox is anything like mine, you are veritably crushed under the weight of opportunities to pitch in, participate and learn. Any one of those opportunities could be life changing, so say yes to something. I am so grateful to the veterinarians who said yes to representing their neighbors by serving on the board. With humor, insight, care and a willingness to stick their necks out, your district representatives are investing in the future of the profession. You can too. That might be through the WVMA, 4-H or a high school science class. Wherever you can, invest your life in someone else. You will get back more than you give.
It has been a great two years as the student representative for the class of 2022. Moving on to new things in my fourth year of veterinary school will bring new challenges. Whatever comes my way, I am grateful to the WVMA Executive Board for helping shape the kind of veterinarian I will become by giving me a chance to participate in the life of the profession. That opportunity is open to all of us as WVMA members and I sincerely hope you take advantage of it.