Being an American veterinary medical student, my affiliation with IVSA started later than most. While other nations enter their veterinary medical studies directly after high school, students in the United States are required to enter into an intensive four-year study of the sciences prior to applying to veterinary school. Needless to say that by the time I began to work with IVSA, I was four years behind in IVSA experience compared with my international colleagues.
When I decided that I was going to attend the 64th IVSA Congress in Romania, I knew that I wanted to run for the position of External Relations Officer (ERO). I was undoubtedly newer and far less experienced when paralleled with my colleagues, yet my passion for the organization and motivation to work to improve it drove me to run for the position anyway.
And now here I am! The first month as ERO has been an adventure to say the least. I have always been accustomed to a heavy workload and the lack of sleep that comes as a sequelae, but never have I previously had to adapt to collaborating with team members in 5 different time zones. Now, I’m phoning Malaysia at 03:00, waking up to emails in Spanish that need to be translated, and using Google Maps to locate potential sponsorships for IVSA Member Organizations on distant continents.
Sound crazy? Well, it’s nothing short of it! Every day as ERO is crazier than the last and I’m busier than I ever could have imagined. But to be completely honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
As ERO, I have the unique opportunity to find ways in which to help students advance their veterinary education, collaborate internationally, and work to make the work a better place for people and animals. If that’s not the most awesome job in the world, I don’t know what is. When it comes to the late nights – I’ll take them. No time zone is going to stop me from helping my IVSA family!