“I was so scared of starting over. I spent 15 years working as a chef. A lot of my family work in the catering industry, so it was just something easy to fall into. It was a love-hate relationship all my life. I loved working in fast-paced environments, but it is hard work with long hours. I could never see myself working there until retiring age. When I was growing up, I always loved animals. I remember being a child coming to DSPCA to rescue a dog or a cat. All of our pets were rescues. I was always interested in animals and, one day, I thought maybe I would try volunteering there. I was really just looking for some change, to try something new. I loved it so much that I decided to take it further and ended up doing an animal care course in Bray. My partner was there to support me, which was a huge deal because the course was full-time. I spent two years in Bray and, when I wasn’t doing the course, I was volunteering here. I helped out a lot in the veterinary clinics and I wasn’t bothered by any of the blood. I eventually considered becoming a vet nurse and everyone around me supported the idea, so I applied to UCD as a mature student. I just applied by chance because I was certain that I would never get into UCD. When I found out I got accepted, I was also offered a full-time job in DSPCA. It was a really difficult decision to make. My dream was to work there full-time and I had been out of college for a very long time, but I was like, “If I made it this far, I should give it a try and see if I can get through a year.” I got through the first year, then the second, and then the third and fourth year and I absolutely loved it the whole way through! Now I work full-time here as a vet nurse. It wasn’t at all as difficult to get here as I thought it would be. It’s really about breaking down all the obstacles into manageable pieces. Sometimes that means taking it day-by-day. Looking back now, it wasn’t at all as hard as working in kitchens for the same amount of time.”
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