Class of 2019 Story: Gaining a Different Perspective

Name: Kaytee McCullough
Hometown: Tryon, N.C.
Focus: Food animal
Post-graduation plans: Poultry emphasis anatomic pathology residency and pursuing a Ph.D.

No good has ever come from doing a group project — except one of my closest friendships.

After finishing my undergraduate degree, I thought group projects were done forever. Sure, we have to work on teams as professionals, but that’s different, right?

Shortly after starting vet school, it seemed that in every other class we were divvied into small groups for the semester, and I could not have been more annoyed. As it turns out, I was not the only one who shared this feeling. But between begrudgingly completing group assignments, we bonded over shared struggles. We kept each other afloat, and a group-mate who had once been a complete stranger became one of my best friends.

I’ve learned that our differences make us stronger. Instead of dividing us, the different personalities, interests and career goals of the Class of 2019 allowed us to identify the strengths in others and learn from each other.

A piece of advice that I received before entering vet school was to keep open eyes and an open mind. When feeling overwhelmed by subjects that did not interest me, I found motivation by looking for concepts that bridged species and disciplines.

Instead of telling myself that I was never going to use this, I worked to find small pieces that were relevant to me. By building those connections, I kept my mind open to learning information that I may have otherwise passed over. I hope that incoming students can take a similar approach when faced with the question of, ‘Why am I even learning this?’

Admitting that I don’t know a subject well is uncomfortable, but acknowledging that gap opens an opportunity to learn from a friend in their area of interest. Learning to trust my classmates and depend on them as colleagues has been one of the most rewarding parts of this journey.