moniqueEvery week I write a column called BE YOU for one of the local papers (The Times of Acadiana) – Each week someone different answers the questionnaire – the paper often has to edit them,  so here are all the answers, unedited (the whole truth.) This week – Monique Koll

Monique is a Clinical Veterinarian, and has always been of the most feisty, determined and positive people I have ever met. Recently Monique was hit by a car while riding her bicycle (training for a triathlon) and suffered a broken neck, and she is still exactly the same feisty, determined and positive person she has always has been. Maybe even more so. This is a woman who knows how to set goals and I have never had any doubt that she will reach every one (and then set even bigger ones). She’s awesome, and would like you to know that you are too.

UPDATE: Monique has now started a blog to record her struggles and her awesome. Check it out here
What was your first job?

BJ’s Pizza in Covington, when I was in high school.

What advice would you give the younger you?

None. Growing up sucked at times, and I roll my eyes a Lot at the younger me 😉 But I recognize that I always did my best with the information and experience I had, and learned from it.

What event in your life most shaped who you are now?

Moving to Lafayette. The people I befriended here helped me, as a single mom, realize that I’m beautiful and successful, raising a great kid, and I can be independent and be just fine.

What do you most appreciate?

The people I love who love me

What is your favorite journey?

Everywhere, and to experience everything! The unknown.

Where is your favorite place to be alone?


What living figure most inspires you?

Me! This is not egotistical, but the way it should be. Nobody’s perfect, everyone has downfalls that will eventually disappoint you. But I accept them for who they are, accept me for who I am, and I’m always thinking of how to change for the better. “It’s not about finding yourself, It’s about making yourself.” -George Bernard Shaw. And everything in my life, I accomplished. ME. Every good friend, my well-adjusted kid, being a vet and winning and placing in triathlons, overcoming obstacles like this broken neck…my support group, hell even my well-trained Border Collie, that was all me. I’m awesome. So are you.

What was the best advice you were ever given?

Be happy – it’s the best gift you can give the people around you! And it’s the best way to spend life. Of course this is not always possible, but it’s a constant goal. It got me out of that goth phase I was in high school anyway

What book would you tell everyone to read?

The Power of One – it’s about an English kid aspiring to be a boxer in a Boer-dominated society in South Africa during World War II. The theme is staying focused on your goals and relying on yourself to accomplish them – “First with the head, then with the heart.”

What is the best thing about where you live?

The community! We’re so tight-knit here, and so many people helped me out in my time of need. I love that I can go to festivals, or dancing, or ArtWalk, or Wherever and run into people I know or get to know and love. I love the direction of growth we’re taking too – as the fastest growing city in Louisiana we sure are planning well! Acadiana’s embracing and expanding of Cajun culture is so fun to be part of.

How do you “let the good times roll”?

This took me a while. They’re always rolling. I don’t relax enough maybe – dining out and playing with friends.

What did u want to be when you grew up?

HA! I’m lucky because I always had a goal to focus on: I wanted to be a veterinarian since I was 7-years-old. I read a book about zoo vets and I was sold. I had the opportunity to do an high school internship with the Drs. Mike and Susan Strain (Mike Strain is now the Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture) and I never looked back. This broken neck thing has put a damper on being able to practice my profession, but it won’t be forever.

What is your motto?

The triumph of will over reason

How would you like to be remembered?

I say, it’s not how far back you start, it’s the finish lines you cross- I want to be remembered as crossing a lot of finish lines. To answer that question a different way, I believe that people live on when parts of their personality affect those around them, and those people keep the positive parts and express that themselves. I’d like to be remembered that way – leaving a good impression on people that will last through generations.

What do you say to yourself when you doubt yourself?

Fake it ’til you make it (advice from my boss!)

What three things are vital to BEing YOU?

Persistence, loving, honesty

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Like, I don’t know

What is your favorite word?

Like, I don’t know. For reals, I don’t know. I’ll get back to you!

What do you collect?

Birds! I like to bird watch, and I keep detailed “life list” of all the species that I’ve seen. I’m a tiny bit obsessive about it.

What food could you live on for a month?

Ice cream

What would you change about yourself?


Describe yourself in five words.

Persistent, honest, resourceful, outgoing, compassionate

What is your idea of happiness?

Loving family

What is your favorite movie?

Hmmmm…I don’t really have one. Secondhand Lions maybe? I’m going to be that awesome when I’m old! I’ll be sitting on my front porch rocking chair with my cats and shawl and shotgun, waving my cane and yelling at kids. I’m going to stand in the back of various churches and sing loud and off-key, and nobody will stop me because I’m just a cute little old lady. Tacky brightly-colored clothes…I’ve got it all figured out!

What music defines who you are?

“Summer Rain,” by U2

What do you most regret?


What question do you wish I’d asked?

Do you ever get scared?

What would the answer be?

Yes, all the time. So many things in my life right now may never go right again. But you have to focus on what you do have, and can control. You’re always as strong as you need to be. Letting everything else go is the tricky part for me, but that’s how to stay sane!