5. Stay fit. It is much easier to stay in shape than get back into it.
6. Positive attitudes and smiles truly are contagious. Make sure not to hold them back, ever.
7. Education prepares you for more education. Education and life experience prepare you for the real world. Try not to get frustrated learning the stuff you know you'll NEVER USE. I spent a great deal of negative time and energy on this subject. (Believe me, it's a lot when you spend as many years in college as I did, going through undergraduate and veterinary school).
8. Follow your own career path. You are the one who has to live your career choice, not your friends, family or advisers. You will likely spend more waking hours participating in this occupation than being with your loved ones. Spend your time wisely by doing something that makes your heart sing. Success will follow.
9. Take up yoga. The mind-body-spirit connection is amazing. It also will keep you young as you age and will help prevent debilitating injuries.
10. Never sacrifice your body for a sport. You have to live in your body the rest of your life. There are other ways to get a scholarship or achieve a goal than sacrificing body parts that you will never wholly get back.
11. Home is truly where the heart is. There is nothing better than coming home to the people and places you love. For me, these are in the West Virginia mountains.
12. Find a higher purpose in life through religion or meditation. This puts life, and everything that goes along with it, into the proper perspective.
13. Above all, listen to your inner voice. Forget everything I've written here if it doesn't speak to you. These are my life experiences, and I'm still learning every day. Listen to your own intuition and forget the rest.
Good luck to each one of you in your journey.
Jamie Totten graduated from Hurricane High School in 1997. She is an associate veterinarian at the Cross Lanes Veterinary Hospital.