Who knew studying so hard could be so much fun?
Looking back now, eight years after earning her doctorate in veterinary medicine, Heidi Pulito remembers her four years at the UI as “one of the most rigorous and intense academic challenges I’ve ever faced” and one she embraced with open arms.
“I can honestly say I loved vet school,” she says from the small northern Illinois town of Yorkville, where she runs her own business, Unleashed with Grace Animal Home Hospice and Euthanasia.
“That fondness derives from some of the most special classmates I shared four years with, but also the kindness of the staff and professors there — from professors who were passionate to teach us elective classes that were so extremely helpful in the real world like Dr. Lawrence Firkins and his veterinary business class, Dr. Laura Garrett and her communications class, and Cheryl Webber and her veterinary bereavement class.
“I continue to use the tools and tips they taught me every single day in my veterinary career.
“When I look back, probably the moment that touched me the most was also what some may call miniscule. I remember studying in my usual corner in the library, where I spent most days and nights after class usually up until 10 or 11 p.m.
“It was finals week so even though it was dead quiet, I was surrounded by quite a few of my classmates. The library doors creek open and in walks the associate dean, Dr. Jon Foreman, with a huge bag of candy, and starts passing it out to all of us. It’s like 9 p.m. and this renowned equine veterinarian and researcher cared enough about us to stop in and give us something sweet.
“The candy was great, but what was even better was knowing someone knew we were there and cared about us. And I think that’s what makes the University of Illinois so great — even though it’s so big, the faculty make it seem small by the kindness they portray and the care they pour out to the students.”