The first among her family and friends to attend veterinary school, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (Ross Vet) student, Stephanie Darling, class of 2023, knew from an early age that practicing veterinary medicine was the only career for her.
“I grew up being obsessed with animals. My family, friends and I, honestly have no idea why, it was just something I was born with. For as long as I remember, I wanted to be a veterinarian and my dream has never changed.”
When the time came for Stephanie to get her first job, she refused any position that didn’t include working with animals as she knew if animals weren’t involved, it wasn’t the job for her! So, happily, at the age of 15, Stephanie started her first job as a kennel attendant at a local animal hospital. Working at a doggy daycare followed, until eventually she joined another animal hospital where she served as a veterinary technician, all while working towards a biology degree at the University of Bridgeport. It was during this time, Stephanie experienced both the good and the challenging aspects of veterinary medicine and shares that the more she saw and the more she learned, her passion for veterinary medicine continued to increase.
Stephanie credits the support of her family and the influence of so many former veterinarian colleagues as she considered her future career, yet it was her experience working alongside a brilliant surgeon that inspired her decision to become a small animal surgeon. Specifically, it was his dedication, compassion, and knowledge that changed and saved the lives of so many animals that pushed her to the next step of applying to Ross Vet and getting her Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine (DVM).
Most comfortable being close to home with family and friends, Stephanie was not one for travel or spending time away from home. Yet, she also knew that growth, both professionally and personally, would stem from getting out of her comfort zone. So, with a leap of faith and her acceptance to Ross Vet, Stephanie made the move to St. Kitts.
“Honestly, my original intent was to stay as close to home as possible. I planned to get my degree and return home, but now I love it here. I have adopted a little three-legged dog and have made so many amazing friends while on the island. The professors are incredible. They truly care and are always available when I need help. This has been one the greatest experiences of my life so far.”
While at Ross Vet, Stephanie has continued her professional development. Stephanie served as a member of the Student Chapter of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (SCAASV) and the Surgery Club, and this semester plans to join the Ross Vet Volunteers for Intercultural and Definitive Adventure (VIDA) and the Feral Cat Project (FCP). Additionally, Stephanie plans to join one or two large animal clubs, expanding upon her small animal medicine experience. “Joining clubs give me extra hands-on experience working with animals that I have not worked with before.”
While Stephanie came to Ross Vet to become a small animal surgeon, with her new-found sense of adventure and experience, she is not limiting herself and is excited to see where her veterinary career will take her.