Oh, the places you’ll go!

Blog Author: Ashli Selke, RVT, CVT
NAVTA President

I got to where I am now in my career with perseverance. I have been very open about my struggles at the beginning of my career. First, tech school was longer for me. It took me an extra year to complete my Associate’s Degree in veterinary technology. I thought at the time it was due to stress and myself getting in the way. And then, I was a four-time VTNE taker before I finally passed. Something was always popping up or happening in my life at the moment of those tests. I became a new mom (twice) during those years. I even had to write the state board to allow me to sit for the fourth time. In the state I was in, that was a requirement. I didn’t know it at the time, but later on, I would be diagnosed with ADHD. This diagnosis probably would have helped me tremendously had I known it all those years ago.

I went through my fair share of different rejections through the years. I applied for a fantastic Zoo Position once and was so excited; I even remember they asked me in the interview what my 5-year plan was. I confidently stated, “to be veterinary technician of the year.” Unfortunately, I didn’t get the job, and I was devastated. I cried my eyes out. I’m not sure if that was the wrong answer to give, but I did get the title of Arkansas Veterinary Technician of the Year three years later. I also had a full circle moment when I was allowed to sit with that Veterinarian on a student panel for another project. The same one I once stood before and made that statement to. I introduced myself as Vet Tech of the Year, and I just smiled. My point is that I may not have gotten that title had I been given that job.

So with that, I don’t know if I believe in the theory that things happen for a reason, but I do believe that you miss 100% of the chances you don’t take. I have used this mentality to get to where I am today. When there was something that I was interested in, I went for it, even if I had imposter syndrome taking over my thoughts and scaring me away. I figured the worst that can happen is I don’t get that position, or I don’t get the thing that I’m necessarily after. But honestly, most of my high title positions have just been from being brave enough to raise my hand. So, my advice to the next generation of technicians and nurses is don’t quit! No matter what life throws at you. If this is what you want, do not stop trying to reach for it. I’m the perfect example that even someone who is a four-time VTNE taker can make it to be NAVTA President. Never give up on yourself and persevere through life’s trials; you never know where it might lead you.