Overcoming the Fear of Failure: Valencia Sanchez’s Veterinary Technology Journey

Valencia Sanchez's Veterinary Technology JourneyFear of failure in the classroom. That is the reason so many with career ambitions hesitate to take that big step of next-level education. Self-doubts, exam and classroom phobias keep career dreams just out of reach. But sometimes a failed attempt brings focus and renewed commitment into play – and a reboot made of steely determination.

That was Valencia Sanchez’s experience when she failed her first term in Carrington College’s Veterinary Technology program. She cried the tears of an admitted procrastinator; then she changed her vision of what she needed to do to get where she was determined to go. The before-and-after was riveting.

How did you get off track so quickly?

I like to put everything off – mainly assignments – until the last minute. I kept telling myself, ‘Oh, I got this’; but I did not have it whatsoever, and I did not ask for help. Ever. I put everything off. I would finish assignments in the parking lot, 30 minutes before class when they were due.

I cried my eyes out when I got the news that I would have to retake my first term. But I came back and did my best to get every assignment in on time. I was not going to let myself fail again. And I passed with flying colors.

What helped you make such an academic turnaround?

I pushed myself a lot harder and tried my best to get every assignment in on time or before it was due. I hadn’t ever wanted anything as much as I wanted to pass this program. And I knew I needed support this time.

Did you have the instructor support you needed to succeed?

Melinda Reed, (Vet Tech instructor) would ask me what I was struggling with when I was doubting myself. She would give me that ‘look’ that said, ‘You know you’re over-thinking this and you can do this’. I trusted her a lot and she was always there to confirm what we already knew. She is honestly the most supportive teacher I’ve ever had.

If you weren’t doing as good as she thought you could do, she would give you a little nudge. She was in everybody’s corner – and it was a big class of 18-students.

What was one of the biggest surprises about your Veterinary Technology program?

There was support from everybody – counselors, other teachers and even my classmates. You could tell Carrington College cared about their students.

Why did you choose Carrington College’s Veterinary Technology program?

It was a shot in the dark for me when I gave my contact information online (Carrington College website). I told myself, ‘If they don’t get back to me in two days, it’s not for me.’ They got back to me in 30 minutes.

What was the best thing about Carrington College’s Veterinary Technology program?

I’m a visual learner, so the best thing for me was the hands-on experience we got from the program. It ranged from poking animal hides to injecting balloons that resembled thick veins. We got comfortable putting a needle (filled with water) into a ‘vein’ before we brought in our own pets to practice venipuncture on. We never poked them more than three times. Cats never liked it, but the dogs didn’t really mind. We also practiced using restraints on animals.

What was one of your favorite moments in the Veterinary Technology program?

My highest point was the surgery term. Doing dental cleaning (on animals), watching different surgeries and monitoring the patients (dogs/cats). I felt that term is when everything I’d learned came together. I had a better understanding of what I was doing and why I was doing it.

I was in the middle of doing a dental treatment and telling a classmate about the level of tarter on teeth when I realized I really loved what I was doing. That’s when it all really hit me.

Where did you get your inspiration to complete the Veterinary Technology program?

When I failed that first time, my family told me it was my decision whether or not to continue; but they encouraged me to push forward. They’d had their own little failures and I’d watched them go through the process. I had a village of role models. They were definitely my foundation to keep going.

What advice would you give other students who struggle?

Reaching out is definitely the hardest part. But you have to want it bad enough to push through that. Find someone in your home life or school life who will give you that support. Keep fighting, pushing.

Where did you land career-wise after graduation?

I was hired at Animal Clinic of Benecia before I even graduated and have been there a little over a year. We have fifteen staff including three vets, vet techs, surgery and floater nurses and pharmacy staff.

I am the second youngest Vet Tech at the clinic and was just promoted to a leadership position of Vet Tech Supervisor. They have a lot of faith in me and see big things in my future.

What are your primary responsibilities?

I make sure everyone is in their specific roles. I like working at a fast pace and that excitement of helping saving a patient’s life. Just knowing I was able to help save a pet and feeling the gratitude of the owners, the smiles on their faces – it’s something beautiful. I also handle scheduling issues, making sure everyone is happy and doing what they do best. I find it more rewarding than I ever thought it would be.

What are future possibilities?

I’d really like to get into emergency clinic/medicine. I once aspired to open my own clinic. I’d want to have a low-cost clinic to help those pet owners who are financially strapped.

We have an ‘Angel Fund’ for donations at our clinic for anyone who can’t afford the treatment needed for their pet. Staff and clients give dollars, change. We love the animals that are brought here beyond compare; but you also have to love their owners because their animals are their babies.

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