I've never thought of myself as a "science person," always choosing, instead, to delve deeply into the arts. But I didn't need to throw myself into science - it came to me, in such a sly way that I never noticed it was there until I was hooked.
All my life I have ridden horses - I'm far from athletic, but somehow, when I'm working in unison with an animal, I no longer fumble and trip. My passion for all things equine - and my lack of all things monetary - led me to pursue jobs in stables, tending and riding the horses. For years I went from barn to barn, becoming the official "barn rat" at each - the kid who could always be counted on to stay late into the night walking a colicky horse, or sleep in the barn so as to feed the horses before school. In true barn rat fashion, I became the omnipresent shadow of anyone who might have something to teach me. I learned how to properly pull horseshoes, give Banamine injections, and train newly started horses.
When I was sixteen, I took it one step further - I became a full-time, Olympic-level barn rat. At Team Windchase, a 70-horse Olympic facility, I worked up to 16 hours a day, five-and-a-half days a week, and became the constant sidekick of the on-site veterinarian. I helped inseminate mares, birth foals, treat abscesses, remove bone chips, and even became a 'mother' when one of the farm's foals was orphaned. The hands-on experience thrilled and fascinated me, and I always assigned myself the arduous clean-up jobs in exchange for having ultrasounds and genetics explained in great detail.
Then, one day, it dawned on me. As I sat on my bed, sketching out Punnett squares in an attempt to determine the color of a newly-conceived foal, I realized I loved science. Rote memorization from a textbook hadn't installed that passion - using practical knowledge to help animals had. I may never go to vet school, but I hope to work with off-the-track Thoroughbreds, rehabilitating and retraining them as riding horses. By studying Animal Science at Cornell, I will be the best horseperson I can be, and I will have the opportunity to take many routes in life. Who knows - perhaps I'll be the one explaining flexor tendons to the next generation of barn rats!
Thank you so much! :)