23-year old girl from Bangalore, India, Anjali Krishnaa Warrier, came to Australia to fulfil her dream of becoming a vet.
However, a devastating car crash that happened in a remote area of Queenstown in New Zealand left Anjali with two broken vertebrae, a fractured pelvis, a severed artery and a traumatic brain injury.
This accident happened on the last day of an internship in 2016 and forced Anjali to put her studies on hold for two years at the University of Queensland (UQ).
During the period of recovery, Anjali just dreamt of completing her studies and graduating as a veterinarian.
Anjali, who grew up in the company of animals, says she knew from an early age that she wanted to be a vet.
“I’m so grateful that I always knew that I wanted to be a vet, because after my accident, I knew my ambitions and it was so much easier to work towards that goal.”
The inspiration to be a vet was to follow in the footsteps of a treasured family friend, lovingly called ‘uncle’.
“We lived in my grandparent’s house in India when I was a child, and my ‘uncle’ had a veterinary practice underneath and as long as I remember I was coming home to a vet clinic, so it’s always been my dream.”
Anjali spent two weeks in an induced coma and 34 days in intensive care, waking up two months later in a Melbourne hospital.
More than a year of intense rehabilitation and despite having to learn how to walk again and enduring prolonged memory loss, Anjali was determined to fight for her dream.
“My uncle the vet was diagnosed with cancer in 2019 when I was back in full time study in third year – and that hit me hard. The one thing I had always wanted was for him to be there at my graduation because he had always been my inspiration. That’s when I decided that I was going to graduate in 2021.”
Anjali returned home to complete her rehabilitation regime and in 2019 rejoined the course. She adds:
“I knew it would be hard because my memory in 2019 was pathetic and I couldn’t remember things from the day before. But I told myself I am going to work hard because this is what I want, and this is meant to be.”
She set herself goals, visualised her success and kept a daily countdown to the 2021 graduation ceremony.
Anjali feels grateful for the widespread support she received from family and friends in the past five years.
“God’s grace, support from my parents and brother, my extended family, friends, well-wishers, UQ and staff at the School of Veterinary Science are the reasons I am where I am today. I’ve learned so much in the past five years, and when I think of the person I am today – I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the accident.”
Anjali has graduated in veterinary science and will start her new career as a vet on January 10, 2022.