Olivet College is well-known for its relationship-based education and family-like atmosphere. What many might not think about, however, is how those principles extend well past graduation.
Anna Davis ’16, Dallie Flower ’18 and Kaitlyn Pirochta ’16 are continuing their Olivetian journey past the bounds of campus as they pursue veterinary degrees at the Michigan State University (MSU) College of Veterinary Medicine. Anna, a third-year student, and Dallie, a first-year student, extended their bond post-graduation, now living together in the East Lansing, Michigan, area. All three OC graduates credit their Olivet education as important to their success in MSU’s veterinary program.
Anna feels that leadership is one of the most important skills she now uses in veterinary school.
“Olivet was small enough that you could tackle leadership positions and really feel like you were able to accomplish goals,” she said. “It made me more willing to take on those roles in veterinary school as well.”
One leadership opportunity Anna took advantage of was becoming a founding member of Olivet’s pre-veterinary club. While a faculty member had already connected Dallie and Anna, it was here they officially met and started building a relationship. At graduate school prep sessions, they continued to bond.
“Anna, having already worked through the application process for veterinary school, acted as a mentor for me,” Dallie said. “She helped format my schedule, guided me to extracurricular lectures and encouraged me to volunteer at several veterinary clinics. It wasn’t long before this mentorship turned into friendship.
“Staying connected with Anna has made my MSU experience so much easier. Rather than letting me jump in on my own, she helped me prepare all summer for my first year. Now that I am fully immersed in the program, she and I support each other in the evenings by talking over homework and cases from the day.”
Anna equally values her friendship with Dallie and enjoys reminiscing with her about their Olivet experiences.
“It adds to the sense of community and connectedness we all crave,” said Anna.
Anna and Dallie also connected with Kaitlyn, meeting through classes and clubs and visiting their favorite hangout place — the office of Leah Knapp, D.V.M., professor of biology.
“I remember us always sharing information about veterinary school,” Kaitlyn said. “It was never a contest between the three of us. We all genuinely were there to support and share experiences with each other, and to this day we still are.”
Anna adds that the Olivet alumni base continues to be supportive post-graduation.
“I have learned that our OC community extends well past the walls of Mott,” she said. “It is always fun meeting alumni and I always feel like they are willing to share advice or answer questions. My
classmate’s spouse is an OC alumna who has been very open talking about what it is like to be a practicing veterinarian. For being a small school, we have alumni everywhere!”
Those alumni understand the same skills Anna, Dallie and Kaitlyn have carried throughout their veterinary school journeys. Dallie stresses that the focus on time management has greatly benefited her success at MSU.
“OC taught me how to deal with multiple commitments,” Dallie said. “I was a member of several clubs, worked as a tutor, carried a full load of classes and had a job outside of it all. Everything was a balance and OC created a way for me to learn how to juggle it all — a skill very important in veterinary school!”
Anna adds that the knowledge she gained at Olivet went well past technical skills.
“Olivet instilled an understanding of the importance of personal development,” Anna said. “I learned a lot about myself and the world in addition to what I learned about science while at Olivet. The community you become a part of at Olivet extends beyond your tenure there. I still occasionally reach out to the OC faculty.”
Dallie also notes that her classes extended to a global outlook.
“By being involved in small classes with professors who cared, I retained an immense amount of knowledge from my courses and learned a bunch about the world at the same time,” she said. “I use this part of my education to guide me through the challenges I face in veterinary school. I also feel that OC’s innovative design gave me an edge on how to handle my education at MSU because my professors prepared me for this alternative style of learning.”
Forming Lasting Bonds
Kaitlyn believes that her education in diversity has prepared her for a career in veterinary medicine.
“Olivet College has provided me with excellent support and encouragement to succeed,” Kaitlyn said. “Olivet deeply embraces a culture of diversity in all forms, and I have gained an exceptional education and experience. I now have a wealth of knowledge and understanding from my liberal arts education and strong premedical background.”
Relationships like Anna, Dallie and Kaitlyn’s would not be possible without their relationship-based OC education.
“Olivet was instrumental because the close-knit community allowed three students separated by three different academic years to be brought together because our professors knew enough about each of us to know we would be able to help each other achieve our shared goal of attending veterinary school,” Anna said.
Kaitlyn agrees that student-professor relationships are an integral part of success.
“The kind-heartedness and support that the faculty at Olivet College provide has tremendously strengthened my desire for pursuing a profession in a field I love,” Kaitlyn said. “From enrollment to graduation, professors are committed to your personal, academic and career success.”
The skills and life lessons from Olivet have positively influenced the veterinary education of Anna, Dallie and Kaitlyn. Their bond is strengthened by their devotion to their alma mater and passion for veterinary medicine.
“Olivet College is a small school, and MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine is an extremely difficult program to get accepted into,” Kaitlyn said. “Just the idea alone of three OC alumni three years in a row being accepted into this amazing program speaks extraordinary things about Olivet College. We are three very different individuals, all with our own unique stories, interested in three separate career paths of veterinary medicine. The greatest bond we share is being a part of the OC family.”
For more information about Olivet College, contact the Office of Admissions at 800.456.7189 or firstname.lastname@example.org.