Friday, March 19, 2010

breaking into spring

This is my last official day of spring break. Though I still have the weekend. I spent this week catching up with my Mom who came to visit. Spending time with my hubby, drinking for St. Patty's day, planting flowers and most of all NOT STUDYING! (though I really must get on that we have 2 tests next week, I believe I'll spend all of this weekend hitting the books) It has been absolutely amazing not having stress, feeling like a normal person with a normal life, getting some sun (I'm pretty sure my vitamin D deficiency is in it's chronic stages) and generally just relaxing.

Yesterday, my friend and I had plans to head down to the Houston livestock show and rodeo and shadow the on site vet who just happens to be one of our clinicians. Dr. Rodeo was so perfectly nice and accommodating. We still can't do much, because we have so little clinical knowledge, but we did get to put some of the pieces together with some of the things we have learned this year (what bacteria causes foot rot, what's the withdrawl time for banamine, how long bovine gestation is, ect). One of the major things about yesterday was that we spent a lot of time around actual clients. We do get to see a lot of cases even in our first year of class, but we never, never, never get to deal with the clients. I learned yesterday that I think that is where my education may fall short, the relationship with the client is about 85% of my job. We will get to interact with clients our 4th year in clinics, and in summers on externships if we choose, but not until then. I suppose I understand why, I can see how we could really screw that up--we just don't know enough yet. I was astounded yesterday when our first case was a heifer that was supposedly calving. She wasn't you could tell by looking at her, but the young man that owned her was just sure she was in distress and would plop out a calf at any minute. We kept trying to reassure him that all was well, and she would deliver in her own time, but he insisted on never leaving her side (he even slept on a bale of hay in her pen the previous night and woke up every hour to check on her). As we walked away I asked Dr. Rodeo why he was so worked up about something that was really not that big of a deal. "He doesn't know what you know, as the Dr. it's your job to teach him."

Dr. Rodeo had another conversation with a client that got rather heated. He owned a sow that was having an allergic reaction to something and was developing hives. She explained that the sow was going to slaughter tomorrow and therefore couldn't be treated with anything. The client was not satisfied with that and continued to argue and push her. She didn't budge. I watched wandering the whole time what I would've done in that situation. The rules are cut and dry, and giving that sow something could've cost her her license. But, dealing with that situation is not something they've taught us how to do, at least not yet.

I actually used to be really great with clients, back before I really knew what I was doing. Now, I've been taught to focus on the medicine and the animal so much that it's hard to see past that. I was told that sometimes vet school will make you loose your common sense. I hadn't really noticed it was true until yesterday (though I'm sure my husband would say differently). I really need to find an externship this summer where I can be back in the real world. It'd be nice to be able to talk to people again.

Would you like my card???

This semester is almost over, almost almost, only 6 weeks left. Can you tell I'm sOooooooo ready for it to be done. Only 1 more anatomy test, only 1 more physiology test, one more micro, then finals (but I'll deal with those later, lets just focus on the big stuff). First, an update on the public health exam (the one with the strawberry jam question) he had to curve the class close to 30 points to bring the grades to passing. I felt slightly bad about this at first, until I reasoned that we are all very intelligent, we all studied and why do I care about freaking strawberry jam anyway. I ended up with a high "B" on that exam--I'll take it.

Back in February there were elections for a few open positions in the vet school. One of them sounded interesting to me so I ran. I was actually really really excited for this position...the description made it seem right up my alley. The position was the junior delegate for the Texas Veterinary Medical Association. I would be responsible for going to conventions, organizing student committees, organizing meetings, and be the liaison between the organization and the student body. I would work as an assistant to the senior delegate, and as a two year elected position, next year I would become the senior delegate. It didn't sound like too much work, and I got to be involved in a professional organization, not just a student organization, so I ran. And I won, apparently by a landslide but that really doesn't matter, just that I won.

The position actually turned out to be so much better than it was originally pitched to us. I sit on the student executive committee ( the head committee that oversee's all student clubs, functions and regulations). I get paid to go to the two annual conferences each year, I sit on the board of directors for one of the largest state VMA's, and I have business cards. (This is the coolest part to me, I am such a dork for LOVING the fact that I get business cards, but I don't care).

The weekend just before spring break was the annual conference held this year in College Station. I knew I was to attend but I had no idea what was in store for me. I spent the weekend sitting on committees, in board of directors meetings, in continuing education courses, and basically rubbing elbows with the big-wigs and practitioners in my profession. As I type this it actually sounds really boring, but the truth is, it was such a completely perfect weekend. It reminded me just how lucky I am to be following this dream, and how grateful I am to have gotten into vet school. The whole convention was at a major hotel that catered everything. We had all of our meals catered, our coffee refilled as we sat in meetings, basically full service. I'm sure to most people this seems so normal, and perhaps it is. But, there was a time, not so long ago that I was on the other side of the table--I was the one pouring coffee and clearing dirty plates, desperately wishing that I was something bigger, better, and more meaningful. I have never once questioned that quitting the restaurant was the right choice, but sitting there actually having a small piece of my dream realized was a really major moment for me. I am eternally grateful for the road the Lord leads me down.

Beyond just getting to feel like I was a part of something, I had a really great time at the conference. Practitioners wanted to talk to me, wanted to hear about my experience in school, they shared their wisdom and advice for getting through it, they offered me externships, and then, then--they asked for my card! (I know here I go with the dorky card stuff again) I felt beyond "adult" to be able to whip one out and hand it over. The cards make me feel like I've arrived, and in some ways I have. More than just getting asked for my card, and getting externship offers, I actually had several job offers. I'm just a first year, and I told them that, but it didn't seem to phase them. It was nice to know that just being involved, and acting professional goes such a long way. I'm not so scared of finding a job now, a little scared that I'll actually have to find one sooner than I think, but at least at ease that I already have a few standing offers.

It was an incredible weekend. We were expected to be at all of the evening social functions, and we drank for free. And as much as I loved that all my drinks were paid for (because I'm so cool I'm on the board of directors) I loved it even more that I was not the one pouring the drinks.