Friday, August 28, 2009


One week down, only about a hundred thousand more to go.

I am tired of all the veteriarians I know telling my class, "enjoy it while you can, it goes by so fast." They say this with an air of nostalgia in their aging faces--then I think the quickly remember the air of anatomy lab, and the nostalgia fades pretty quickly. I remember people telling me this same thing my freshman year of high school--smart, saavy seniors getting weepy eyed at the thought of graduation. "oh, it goes by so fast." Maybe I had a different high school experience than everyone else, but I remember it taking exactly the amount of time it seemed to take, not too long not too short, just four simple years. While this week hasn't dragged on unbearably long, it hasn't just flown by either--I'm pretty sure that's how vet school is gonna go.

I will say, however, that I am sitting here on Friday afternoon (yeah for only 2 hours of class on Fridays!!!) completely braindead. I need to be studying, I need to be reviewing biochem from last semester, I need to be filling out worksheets. But I have decided it is bad for my health. Here's why: This morning was awesome. I slept in (7am) moseyed around getting ready, had breakfast and made it to class on time at 10:00am. I was sure my brain would be fresh, I studyed in the library during a break yesterday for 3 hours, and I took the night off catching up on Grey's Anatomy reruns. I got out my big cheif tablet and #2 pencil this morning, ready to take notes. While I felt I was rested, it seemed I was not. I could hear everything the professors were saying, and generally I think I pieced it together in my little budding veterinarian brain...but it seemed the sheer volume of major upper level material has pushed out all the space that my first grade material occupied. Things like basic spelling. You should see my notes from today, I seriously struggled--and had to write several times--words like "leaky" (my first attempt was leaquie) and "exclusionary" (ishcklution) I was seriously having a hard time just making letters. I would attempt to write a word and just sit there going...wait what does that start with. It was bad. Maybe my brain is just converting everything to latin?

I feel like I have done an ok job with keeping up with the material this week, but I still have a LOT left to do tonight and tomorrow. My brain feels like it is actually sore, like that feeling you get when you have "outdone" yourself in a new excersise routine. Can lactic acid build up in the brain? Can that pass the blood brain barrier? And, the truth is, none of this information is exceptionally hard--yet. I can identify cells in a blood smear, but remembering that porcine erythrocytes are generally crenated, avian platlets are nucleated and called thrombocytes, llama erythrocytes are oval, and horse eosinophils have large granules and are more difficult to distinguish from neutrophils, and that horse RBC's generally demonstrate Rouleax...there is just not enough room. It's enough to make med school sound like a cake walk.

I am tired, and I haven't even had a test yet. But, I am hoping like all routines, I will eventually get used to this, constant exahaustion (wow, that word took me three tries to spell, I'm still doing it). Maybe my brain will build endurance? Who knows. Right now I really need to get some studying done, but I really fear that if I try to manually shove any more information into my brain I will lose the space where basic speech, and involuntary muscle control are housed.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dum...dum...dummmm the first day

So, it went. I'm not gonna say it went well, just that it went. Our mentors, faculty and upperclassmen have been telling us for weeks now that the first week was going to be overwhelming, just expect it. No matter how much mental preparation you do, you can not be prepared for the tidal wave of information that is the first day. I thought I was completely overwhelmed with information, lectures, course exam schedules and outside projects. But when I got home for the day I realized we had only really had one lecture (the rest was syllabus presentation, blah, blah, blah) and one lab. WHAT?!? How can I be this overwhelmed by such a small amount of general information?

The answer, I deduced later, was that it wasn't the information it was the whole shebang, the whole package of vet school. I am still used to undergrad, go to class if you want, don't if you want, whatever. And to maybe having 4 courses max, with 2 or at most 3 labs. HUGE breaks in between classes, and plenty of time for "socializing". Don't get me wrong, I wasn't lazy in undergrad, I finished in the expected amount of time and did really well (after all I got in to one of the most prestigious professional programs, yes harder to get in to than med school) But, I was never really overwhelmed by the volume of information. That is soooo over.

In our breaks in between classes (10 min.) we are innudated by upperclassmen and their sales pitches for their respective clubs, sports teams, food companies, lecture reviews, cake baking clubs and other random crap. A few I am joining but most I am not. Then lunch is nonexistent. While it technically has a space on our schedule, it is politely filled with club meetings, information sessions, review sessions, and professors random crap...nice. 8-5 everyday, no lunch no real breaks constant constant constantconstantconstant informaton. Holy shit.

Then to top off my day, I ended with Histology lab. Quickly becoming the bane of my existence. I really didn't think it was so bad until we were thrown into the lab assignment with no background lecture, no helpful tips, nothing. The lab excersise was identifying the various nuclei, nucleoli, classifying as heterochromatic, euchromatic, and identifying and defining the different stages of cell division and their importance. Granted, this is REVIEW material. But, review from a very long time ago in some distant class I tried to erase known as cell bio. And, it's not like I reference miosis and mitosis everyday, so it was pretty much gone. I raised my hand and asked for a professor to come to my microscope and give some clarification. He simply responded by saying, "I will not answer questions over material you should alreay know. You are a professional student now, and I will not answer stupid questions." Nice, I slunk back in my chair and thought what am I doing here? I went home generally freaking out, the horrible histo lab still very fresh. Trust me, the first day of vet school will make you reconsider your career...maybe one of those on the waiting list could take my seat and I can just bag groceries...

But, I woke up today (again from VERY little sleep) with a new attitude. I had re-evaluated my schedule and it wasn't all that bad. I actually have plenty of time to study, just maybe not time for much else. I can get some sleep if I manage my time correctly, and I had totally forgotten I have weekends to study--not so bad. After a re-evaluation of my histo professor's comments, and a small conversation with my mentor, I realized he was right. I should know basic cell biology--did I expect to get through vet school being spoon fed information I was already responsible for knowing? So, today I had a nice lunch (ok more like a fast slim-fast and some cucumbers) in the library with a cell bio book. And guess what, I still new the information, just needed a little review. And I am perfectly capable of doing that on my own. No more babysitting from my profs.

In further good news today (it was an overall MUCH better day) we learned that part of our clinical correlates course will be a husbandry rotation in which we will be responsible for the feeding, care, and knowing how to do a physical exam on that species, for one week. The assigned species were equine (horse) bovine (cow) and yes, drumroll please, my assignment...the ostrich. What? Yup, I know absolutly nothing about this species and I am not great with birds, they terrify me. So, whats better for me to learn from than a giant bird? After my initial shock, I was pretty excited...I'll try to post pictures.

I learned a few things today, and I'm sure I will tomorrow too. Write down your assignments, or review plans as soon as you get them. Keep your schedule,I am capable of looking up answers I don't know, I am a responsible student, and ANY free time at school should be spent studying if possible--this allows a much earlier bedtime : ) Here's hoping tomorrow goes as well as should I get off at 3, instead of 5.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What an excellent day

Yesterday started out bad, really really bad. I woke up to find that one of the cats ( for her own safety she shall remain nameless) had spilled a glass of water on my laptop. I know what you're thinking, why did I leave the water there in the first place? It was late ok, and I didn't realize the kittens were so interested in filtered water...oops. Either way, my computer surprisingly was functioning normally, until I noticed that not only was there water on the keyboard, but it was also sitting in its own little lagoon. Excellent. I grabbed a towel and tried to soak up the lagoon, and that's when the computer was done, over, no more laptop. In a desperate attempt to try to undo any damage, the computer had a "blow dryer makeover" complete with cursing, desperate prayers and some tears (yes, ashamedly I cried). All to no avail...

So, with my perfectly good computer ruined, I decided to shop online (on husband's laptop) for a replacement model. But where o where would we get the money for that? After the new car purchase last month, there is little to spare. "Maybe," I thought "they have already posted our student loan money and maybe just maybe I am getting a refund for more than I expected." It was a long shot I know, but worth a try. I looked on my student account...bills are posted, (yes! only 10 days late too!) And what is this, an $8000 refund!!!! No way that's correct, no chance. I looked at the itemized bill, waaaay lower than I expected. Great, just a mistake. I contacted several classmates, and much to my surprise, the bill was right ! Yes, I had misread the tuition information I had calculated it on a per semester basis when it was actually per year. What a stupid mistake, but it worked out soooo in my favor. So, as it turns out, I will be receiving that $8000 refund check in the next few weeks. And I am not so stressed about how much vet school is going to cost. It is much more manageable than previously thought.

Still, I was devastated over the death of my laptop, and Husband was going to be pissed. I thought a nice relaxing bath might relieve some stress. On the way to the bathroom, I pressed the power button on my laptop--just for shit's and giggles--IT TURNED ON!!! Yes, my friends, not dead, just a small coma. The laptop is completely revived and functioning quite well, no lasting effects (at least not yet!). BEST DAY EVER! I am still slightly sad that I don't get a new computer--I was coveting just a little building my own on the Sony website. After all, it was gonna be "Sangria Red Crocodile Skin" who can resist that? But, my computer is perfectly fine, I LOVE it, 3 years old and nothing at all wrong with it--minus the water damage. I highly recommend a Sony Vaio. Husband's Dell is a P.O.S.

Could the day get better? Yes, yes it could. Upon hearing the news that we were the unexpected recipients of millions of dollars (well, at least in our broke world) Husband decided that he could leave work a little early and actually get so spend a Saturday at home, with me. This NEVER happens he works 9-9 every weekend without fail, so one Saturday afternoon is like hitting the relaxation jackpot. He came home, we took the dogs to the lake, their favorite place to be in the summer. We let them off leash to roam, swim, play fetch in the water and chase rabbits. Though Maggie spent most of her time hunting out and digging up oyster shells, and arranging them in a neat little pile. Not sure why she was collecting those, but she loved it. We ended the day with a movie rental, also something we never do. Sad, when that's our treat, but it's really hard to just run to a rental place when you live 30 miles from town. I cooked dinner, we relaxed and talked and generally enjoyed a rare weekend night together.

I am still on a high from yesterday. Things just became soooo much easier financially around here. Turns out we will be able to go to the wedding in Chicago after all, and some very pressing bills are getting paid. Yes, I am fully aware that this is only LOAN money and that at some point we will have to pay Uncle Sam back. But when the money can go towards paying off some high interest bills, unexpected medical bills, books we thought would be out of pocket and setting some back for a cushion for the semester, it seems worth it. I won't take out as many loans next year, seeing as how we probably won't NEED the money then, but for now it is an answered prayer. Perhaps I should use a tiny portion of that money to build a little cat proof fence around my laptop, we'll see.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Here we go...

I am at T-11 days until class begins, and I am beginning to get really excited, nervous, heart in my throat kind of feeling. Oddly, though I am 26 years old, this feeling is strangely similar to that first day of kindergarten, junior high, high school, new school kind of feeling. I am worried that I won't have friends, worried that it will be too hard, that my professors will be mean. See, I sound like a mousy 6th grader.

Up until now, my entire career focus has been solely placed on simply getting in to vet school. The spring and summer months were filled with elation and that "new car smell" of actually accomplishing this. Now, it's down to the wire, and getting in means I'll actually have to go. I have purchased all my books, new boxes of gloves, and I even have crisp new lab coat. I remember packing my backpack for the first day of kindergarten (probably because it's on video). I packed my box of Kleenex, sharpened pencils, big chief tablet, and for moral support a stuffed puppy dog. Mom promptly made be leave behind the dog, after all I was a big girl now and they don't allow stuffed animals in kindergarten. I don't even know where that stuffed dog is, or if mom even still has him, but I feel the same cling to something familiar. Maybe I should call her and see if she could ship him to me, he'll fit nicely in the front pocket of my book bag.

However many nerves I feel about this new venture in my life, I feel double excited for the whole thing. I am the kind of person that doesn't think long about major decisions--I don't test the water--I just dive in headfirst. I am really ready to get started. I know myself well enough to know that those initial jitters will last about 31 seconds. I'll sit down at orientation, strike up a conversation, say something sarcastic, get a laugh, and I'll be totally comfortable in my new environment. Though I wonder why in the world they let me in to vet school in the first place, on my first try...I know that the review board knew I could handle the stress, rigor and pressure that comes with the territory. And, somewhere deep down I know I can handle it too. The truth is I have been incredibly blessed to have this opportunity at all, and I know it.

I did horribly shitty my first year of undergrad and decided that I needed a break from school. Though my family hated it, the three year hiatus was exactly what I needed to get back on track. I moved back home to Texas (after a move to wretched Colorado*** in 10th grade) worked, and re-established my Texas residency. I had a great job for a 21 year old. And I was making what I thought was great money. But, you can only go so far without a degree or any kind of training and I quickly hit the ceiling on that "career". And, I was truly an unhappy person, I was cynical and mad most of the time at work, and didn't treat the people closest to me the way I should have. So, I quit, got a part time job as a dog bather, and went back to school.

The road through undergrad was bumpy--I got great grades and worked pretty hard--but changed Universities as often as I changed my underwear. I thought this would hurt my admission chances for vet school...turns out it didn't. In the midst of quitting my job and going back to school I met my future husband. (Future then, current now) I was his boss on my last trip before I quit. He called out of the blue almost a year later, we talked for hours. He drove 7 hours to "surprise" me a week later. We started dating in November, engaged in April and married in June. When you know you know. Husband is the most incredible person. When I think about the fact that he works 12 hour days, saves every penny he can, forgoes things that he wants to buy, all so I can concentrate on school and not have to work, I am blown away at his dedication. All the more reason I have to do this. Of course we have a deal, he puts me through school, then he can relax...I'm sure he's counting the days.

In addition to my incredibly committed husband, I have an amazing family that supports me. My mother, sister, cousins and grandparents have endured countless phone calls about shitty professors, rising tuition rates, poor test grades, etc. And they always just remind me why I'm doing this in the first place, and readjust my focus. I'm pretty lucky.

So, that's pretty much where I sit right now, sooo ready to jump on this horse and ride it, but still feeling like a lost kindergartner (who will be my lunch buddies?) Orientation starts on Wednesday, I suppose that'll be a good "break in" until then, I'm gonna look for my stuffed puppy dog.

***Sorry to offend any Native Coloradoans or people that love the state. Though I made great friends there, and learned a lot about myself, I never wanted to be there in the first place. I love my Texas