Skip to main content

Class of 2020 Story: Where I Belonged

Gabriel Gonzalez
Last year, the Class of 2020's Gabriel Gonzalez received a Coyote Rock Ranch Scholarship, one or the nation's top awards for future equine veterinarians. Photo by John Joyner/NC State Veterinary Medicine

Class of 2020 Stories The following by Gabriel Gonzalez is the third in a series of Class of 2020 stories running up to the CVM’s oath and hooding ceremony on May 8.

Read all of the stories here:

Over four years ago I started my journey of applying to veterinary school, and at the time was very unsure of what the result would be.

I was attempting to look at it as a trial run given how competitive veterinary school was to get into. I also was applying with only an associate’s degree and the completed requisites. 

I had applied to my state school, University of Florida, and out of state schools such as NC State. I can remember clear as day that I was studying for my biochemistry exam when the email notification came in informing me that I had been accepted to NC State and minutes after the email I had long been waiting for came in from University of Florida informing me that I had been accepted. 

I was so excited, happy, nervous and confused all at the same time. My heart had always been set on going to the University of Florida because I wanted to be a Florida Gator. Florida was home, which meant being close to my family. However, multiple people stressed to me that NC State was also an amazing veterinary school and would actually (tuition-wise) be cheaper to attend in the long run. 

I decided at this point to go ahead and attend the admitted student welcome weekend and that was the best decision I ever made. 

I fell in love with not only NC State itself, but with its people. I remember when I got in my car to make the drive back to Florida I immediately called my parents and told them that I now knew where I belonged — and that was NC State.

Because of this experience it was very important for me to attend the admitted students day as a student, participating in some form to help incoming students feel welcome. I know how much that weekend helped me in my decision-making, and I wanted to make sure that I did my part to help students that were in that same place I was in years ago. 

Veterinary school began and ended much faster than I ever thought. I have made memories in veterinary school that I will keep for the rest of my life. I truly believe that stepping out of my comfort zone and taking the plunge to attend an out of state school was the most influential decision I have ever made in my life.

It molded me into the individual that I’m today and created lifelong friendships with people I love and admire. Now as I close this chapter of veterinary school and step into the next chapter of my life I’m excited, nervous and sad all at the same time. 

I will truly miss the amazing individuals that I had the honor of working with here at NC State, but I know it’s time to move on to the next journey in my life.

Gabriel Gonzalez is from Kissimmee, Fla. After graduation, he begins an internship split between Allegheny Equine Associates in Murrysville, Pa., and Brown Equine Hospital in Somerset, Pa., in pursuit of an equine surgery residency. He is the vice president of the CVM Class of 2020.