Kind, thoughtful, intelligent and funny are just a few words to describe my next senior spotlight student from Oklahoma State University: Lauralyn Harper.
Lauralyn, grew up in Seminole, a small rural farm town in Oklahoma, with her parents and four other siblings. Animals have always been a part of her life. She grew up on a cattle ranch embracing the lifestyle that accompanies it. They had a plethora of animals. Your typical animals: dogs, cats, horses and cows, as well as your not-so-typical animals, ones that would send me running across the field, like peacocks and geese. No, thank you.
Lauralyn hadn’t given much thought to veterinary school until her high school years. As she was excelling in math and science, she discovered her true passion. During high school she participated in a Vo-Tech pre-engineering program with advanced math and science. Which, I personally think is amazing. When I was in high school I was just happy to pass basic algebra and geometry!
As she fell in love with science, she wanted to get some hands-on experience at a veterinary clinic. She found her first shadowing job in Seminole. Throughout high school she volunteered as often as she could, learning from a husband and wife veterinarian duo in Seminole.
As a first generation college student, Lauralyn packed her bags and headed to Ada, Okla., to begin classes at East Central College. This school, in her opinion, had an excellent science program that would give her a good foundation for veterinary school. And it did! During her time at East Central, one of the veterinarians she was volunteering for encouraged her to apply for OSU’s Early Admission Program.
“The Early Admission Program offers an opportunity for students with superior academic performance to commit to their veterinary medical career goals early in the educational process. Students accepted to the program agree to complete their bachelor’s degree with the pre-veterinary required courses and maintain a GPA of 3.5 each semester of their undergraduate education.” (Source)
This means that Lauralyn completed ALL her required courses in three years instead of four! I don’t know about you, but I think that is pretty OUTSTANDING!
Lauralyn says that first year was a crazy experience. She went from being a big fish in a little pond to feeling like a small fish in a big pond… academically speaking.
A common theme first year, worrying about things you can’t control. Worrying about not studying when you see others studying. Worrying about making an A. Worrying about passing. It is a constant battle throughout veterinary school, but definitely heightened during the first year.
Lauralyn decided one day during first year, “The important thing is that I am learning.” Once she adopted this mindset, she actually found herself excelling with less anxiety.
As Lauralyn finishes up in her fourth year, she is praying about making the right decision for her career and for her husband. This can be scary; finding the perfect job. Mostly, she wants to be where God wants her to be.
How does Lauralyn want to leave her mark in this world?
“Using the animal-human bond to form relationships with people opens up a unique avenue to get to know people and invest in their lives.”
She believes, as a veterinarian, we can, “Enhance the lives of people by enhancing the life of their pet.”
How does she want to impact the world?
“Being a witness for Christ.”
When I first asked Lauralyn if I could interview her for my senior spotlight, she told me she didn’t have a whole lot that was interesting about her. In fact, I found SO many things that were interesting and unique! She may not have a big, grand plan for her veterinary career, but I believe God can use our talents and gifts in many ways. She may not think she has big plans, but I know God has big plans for all of us, Great or Small.