Lindsey Ahbe ’21
Sacrificing One Passion for Another
By Jack Barger ’01
When graduating senior Lindsey Ahbe was a little girl, she had two great loves: athletics and animals. From dance to gymnastics to hockey to soccer, her parents, she said, allowed her and her three siblings to “chase [their] dreams and passions,” often pushing them to find as many interests as they could at a young age.
Around the same time that she was discovering a love for soccer, her parents got a family dog named Maple who, Ahbe said, she wouldn’t let go of. “We still have home videos of her as a puppy and me constantly having her in my arms,” she said. “I was probably four-years-old at the time, but I immediately knew that working with animals was what I wanted to do when I was older. I just never grew out of wanting to do it.”
As a high school student in Green, Ohio, she took upper-level classes revolving around animal science and veterinary medicine and shadowed at a local veterinary clinic before looking for a college that would, in her own words, “put [her] on a good path to getting into veterinary school and becoming a vet.” She knew the Pre-Vet program to be the largest undergraduate program at UF, and she knew, as well, that she had the work ethic and ability to play DII soccer as well. After visiting the educational facilities and athletic fields of University of Findlay, she still remembers her dad saying, “I have a feeling you’re going to end up here.”
Now, after successfully navigating through four years as an animal science/pre-vet student-athlete at UF, which included earning an athletic scholarship as a starter on the women’s soccer team after walking on as a freshman, Ahbe is forgoing an extra year of athletic eligibility to attend vet school in pursuit of a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee in the fall. “It is a difficult thing to do,” she admitted, “but after being given an extra year of eligibility the idea of going to veterinary school after this season did not change. I am proud of everything that I have accomplished at UF.”
Also difficult, she continued, is the Animal Science/Pre-Vet Emphasis Program at UF. Students from the program are known for being well-educated; in fact, 85% of UF students over the last four years have been accepted to veterinary school upon graduating. It’s the challenges, however, and the foundation that they provide for students, that Ahbe said she’s grateful for. “I have found that I am ahead of other pre-veterinary students that did not attend Findlay, which does well with real-life application of their science courses.” Subsequently, she added, she feels perfectly equipped. “The way the Animal Science Program is set up,” she said, “pushes students through a rigorous course load early in their academic career. It really allows the students to figure out if they want to continue to pursue the path they are on. After taking some difficult animal science courses, I knew that this was still what I wanted to pursue.”
Athletically, Ahbe, who was a member of the first UF women’s soccer team to win an NCAA tournament game, said that her teammates have become her best friends, and that, even though she’s leaving after the season, she’s trying to leave an imprint for the players that will remain. “I want to make [this season] the best that I can for me and my teammates,” she explained. “I am confident that I will be leaving the team in a better position than when I came, and I am excited to see how other players step into the role that I occupy on the team. I know that they are well equipped to do so and that they will do well without me there next year.”
As she plans to let go of one long-held passion, guiding her from childhood through a UF scholarship, Ahbe will work to hone and perfect her skills with the other. On her way toward a meaningful life and productive career, she is grateful for the University that paved the way.
“I put in the hours in the classroom, on the field, and in veterinary clinics and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. I wouldn’t trade my experiences at the University of Findlay for anything,” she said.