Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ahh semester break is sweet!

Sorry for the delay. It turns out that as hard as first semester was, I ended up doing pretty well in all my classes (all 10 of them). My favorites were anatomy and histology, but I can safely say I learned a ton in each class. It feels terrific to have 1 semester of vet school under my belt. I know I will have doubts along the way but for the most part I know I can do this.

Things really came full circle for me this semester. Th first few weeks of transition were so uncomfortable and difficult. I questioned whether I made the right decision leaving my cats and Matt and my great finance job, which was not half as stressful and time consuming. My life seemed pretty great before vet school. But slowly through the semester I made some terrific friends, and plowed through, and in the end I started enjoying it. Right before Thanksgiving I felt the real transformation begin and by the time finals hit, I had no question in my mind that I made the right decision to be here. I was feeling much more comfortable with myself and what I was doing and ready to step up and get involved.

I volunteered for the pet loss helpline.
Became secretary of the pathology club.
Became a speaker coordinator for the small animal club.
Became operations manager for the VBMA.

I learned a lot about myself this semester. Despite thinking I could study all week and have weekends free with Matt I quickly realized this wasn't possible. And the weekends just weren't enough. It never felt right being apart a majority of the time. While the situation was not forever 4 years would be more difficult than I ever could have imagined for this long distance thing to work. Thankfully Matt took a good job in Blacksburg and will join me this semester on this fabulous journey toward a DVM. I was just sitting watching tv over break and realized, I am going to be a veterinarian one day, for real! And it feels so good.

In the meantime, I have been cleaning, applying for summer programs, and spending lots of qt with the cats. I got a little cabin fever earlier in the week and spent all of Wednesday in DC. I checked out the Hopper exhibit at the National Gallery, met a friend for lunch, and saw a Studio Theatre play with my sister. A great day of walking city blocks and getting out of the house. I have been hitting the gym super hard too which feels great. I am in no rush to stop my stretches!!

Saturday I'll head back to my emergency clinic. I am a little nervous and excited at the same time. I know I'll be rusty with some techniques but I should understand some things much better now.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

1 Semester Down

Well after 20+ hours of studying over 2 days for my immunology final the semester has come to a close. The exam was by-far the most challenging and having to cram the information wasn't a huge help. I am fairly confident I passed the class, maybe just not as well as I had hoped to. I have surpassed my own expectations for the rest of my grades, and have learned so much.

What is most important, however, is that over the past few weeks I have really come into my own here. I know I made the right decision to come to vet school. I love it! I am so happy to be here. I have started getting involved with the Veterinary Business Management Association, pathology club, companion animal club, among other activities such as pet loss hotline and wildlife ward.

This is where I belong and with one semester down I am 12% complete on the road to a DVM!

Monday, December 10, 2007

One final push

So far so good. One exam/class left. I can't believe it, but boy am I ready for a break. It's so hard because I can taste Wed 12/12 at ~11 am. Histology was a huge success and very satisfying. I left the exam realizing how much I learned and will actually retain and use in my career. It's pretty neat to know what organs look like on a microscopic level!

So immunology is what remains and it covers breadth of material. I have been studying for almost 8 hours now and have tomorrow to keep plugging. I don't feel as prepared going into this and I am terrible at cramming which is what has to be done, but hopefully it will come together in the end. A lot to get done and I must be efficient and focus on the exam and not Christmas break!!

It was 65 degrees in Blacksburg today so after the biochem exam some friends and I went for a run at my favorite place, Pandapas Pond. I figured you must take advantage of the unseasonally warm weather when you can and get outside. I am looking forward to break but must study hard for the next day and a half. Only 2 days left of my first semester of vet school!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Almost There

Well nobody said that vet school wasn't an uphill battle and after tomorrow at about 2pm EST it will be on the downhill. My third exam is tomorrow in histology. It's been a long, yet fast week of studying. My brain will be very fried by the end and I am trying to keep up steam and stay healthy (a cold is circulating the school) to see this thing through to next Wednesday!

I have had fun studying for histology. It has been one of my favorite subjects this semester, but also one of the toughest. I spent so long studying today that my brain thanked me as I took an hour break to decompress and watch Project Runway (what a good season, almost as juicy as Desperate Housewives) (no I do not get out much)while eating dinner. My break allowed me to plug on for another ~5 hours. Now it is 11pm and I am about to get cozy in the bed with my histology study guide and text book and try to absorb a little more info until I fall asleep.

For those of you I have neglected I am still your friend and be prepared for some catch up time when this is done. So far these exams have been more exhausting than any I recall from undergrad. Ugh. 5 more days to go...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

For good reason

This time I have lapsed because I relaxed over Thanksgiving break. I had time to clean the apartment at school and relax in Northern VA with my kitties. Heathcliff got bathed and groomed and looks so handsome (pics to come). Got to see some friends and family, cook, eat and sleep in.

Looking forward to Holiday break for more of the above.

In the meantime it's the last week of class before finals. So far so good. Completed a group immunology presentation on Type I diabetes which hopefully went well. In any case I learned a great deal about T regulatory cells, autoimmune diseases and diabetes.

I also had a fun lab demonstration in the amazing equestrian center on campus. I have decided to spend part of my summer with horses, becoming more familiar with them, and perhaps learning some riding basics.

Tomorrow I will meet with a student advisor about tracking and summer opportunities in Blacksburg. So it is all starting to come together.

I have also begun the path of getting more involved by applying for different student representative positions and possibly running for office in the companion animal club, pathology club, and maybe some others.

I am just studying and riding the wave into the beach.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Well some of the worst days are behind us in terms of first semester. Anatomy finished yesterday and I ended fairly successfully, considering its the most intimidating, time-consuming class of first semester. (man does next semester sound intimidating, but we won't go there yet).

I had a scare last night that I failed my first quiz on swine. Thankfully 3 answers were keyed into the system wrong and I did not fail at all. Phew. I was pretty upset about it at the time.

So tomorrow night is the big Anatomicus Terminus Party with body shaped themes for food, friends and faculty. Should be a blast, and a great camera op!

Well here's to beating Miami Saturday and a great Turkey Day, oh and 10 days"off", although you're never really off in vet school..

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What a game!

So this past Saturday I witnessed one of the best football games of the season. The Hokies defeat FSU for the the first time in history and what a grand win it was!! It was also very cold.

The beginning of winter in Blacksburg has started with frost on the windows more days than not. But I am prepared and will savor any day over 60 degrees from here on out.

One more anatomy test to go on Wednesday on the reproductive tracts of 7 species, man those human med folks have it easy. This section has been tough, you have no idea how complicated the male genitalia is!!

Obviously pictures would be slightly inappropriate, but if I think of something fun and non-offensive I will post.

Here's to one more week before Thanksgiving and 10 days off!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Losing Steam

With only 1 anatomy test remaining before break and many of the little things for this week finished I am definitely running out of steam and drive to study. I hope t be productive before Thanksgiving break, and I certainly hope to refresh for finals during that week. As things got better in terms of getting used to Matt being away this week has once again been difficult. It's not as if I am falling apart, like earlier the semester, its more just the sheer fact that I miss him during the week. Especially this week for whatever reason. And there is no real reason I just do.

If I still have any readers out there please comment from time to time. It's hard to keep writing thinking no one is reading. And if its too boring I certainly take suggestions. I hope to have some pictures posted from the very fun SCAVMA ball that was last Saturday but I cannot install the driver for my camera just yet. No driver for the vista:(

Anyway will write again soon with some fun info!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I see the light

So somehow, someway, tomorrow marks the light at the end of the midterm tunnel. Tomorrow is the 3rd of 4 anatomy exams and once it finished at 4pm, the official 3 weeks of midterms will be over. Of course "next Friday never comes" and I have 3 quizzes to take this week, but by no means are they as rough as the past few weeks. And no major exams for 2 entire weeks!! What a breather.

The class is bowling Tuesday to celebrate. I began celebrating this weekend after a disappointing loss to Boston College (how heartbreaking and rainy). Friday was a trip to a cattle beef farm and then a big anatomy study session all night to free up the weekend for some fun.

The rainy week ceased Saturday afternoon and Matt and I traversed the epic Dragontooth hike. A challenging but very fun hike. Then we headed for some well-deserved carbs before going to the movies!! Yeah a fun weekend, despite intermittent studying for anatomy. I feel fairly prepared despite the use of free time and ready to spend a week or more playing catch-up on other subjects. This time however its at my leisure (more or less) not on the timed schedule of midterms. It feels good to be more than halfway done with my first semester at vet school, in fact it feels damn good!!

I'll try to update more often from here on out. I am hoping for a speedy couple weeks to Thanksgiving break. 10 days of blissful tv watching here I come!!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Worst is Over

So the most intense 2 weeks of the semester are finally over. I cannot believe I made it through. I am tired but made it through fairly successfully. Now it's time to enjoy the weekend, it's my friend Lisa's birthday tomorrow so we're going to a Pumpkin patch and a party at night! Still have to catch up in Cardio physiology and anatomy but I can certainly see a light at the end of the tunnel and I feel more confident than ever that vet school is manageable, sometimes enjoyable, and certainly worthwhile.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hell Week

Well it's only Tuesday and I may pass out while writing this. This is the week of 4 exams. Took 2 on Monday and don't feel great about either but at least they are done. One tomorrow will be rough...biochem and only 25 questions that span 14 lectures, ugh. Friday is ethology (animal behavior) which will be a last minute cram session. Once those are done it will be time to catch up on 2 weeks of Physiology and Anatomy in prep for those test next week. Then the semester will coast. Until then, I am very tired, but we all are so we laugh at it and keep going.

I plan to take most of Saturday off this weekend to enjoy the Fall foliage and some great weather and get back to life outside of school for a bit.

Looking forward to November desprately.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Short and Sweet- for fun

You know you're a vet student when:

The bad thing that happened that day is your lab partners decided it would be a great idea to open a stomach and once opened find bile and preserved half eaten food that then has to be syringed out, and you have to get home and study and try not to hurl.

The good thing that happened was you had a blast explaining immunology of T cell activation to your friend in a coffee shop.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Today was a good day

Although not over by any stretch of the imagination for a vet student, today marks an important day in my first semester. The first Sunday I was genuinely happy. I awoke without worrying that Matt was leaving, but instead had plans to go to the lab with some friends in preparation for the second anatomy test tomorrow. Instead of being super anxious this time I feel pretty good about this test, in fact with time to spare to study immunology and work on a quiz.

Even though I was at school yesterday from 11 to 5 without Matt, he understood and we watched the VT v. Clemson game together. We played an energetic game of racquetball this morning. In addition, my wonderful husband noticed that the apartment is out of toilet paper and tissues, and seeing our tough schedules and tight budgets, took it upon himself to go to Walmart for us, a dreaded trip as we all know.

His support this weekend is why I am happy today, why I didn't cry hysterically, and why I know I can get through the next 2 weeks of 6 exams. And after that hurdle passes, the rest of the semester should seem like a breeze.

So now I look ahead to 2 weekends from now to a great hike and some real quality time for Matt that both of us will have earned!

Friday, October 5, 2007

In the thick of it

If I still have any readers left, my apologies for the hiatus. The heat of the semester has begun and the next 2-3 weeks will be rough with midterms. I am happy to report that so far so good wrt grades. But some big exams coming up.

I went home to Oakton last weekend to see my cats Garfield and Heathcliff and it was a treat! They weren't mad at me and they remembered me immediately and went back into their old routines. I also got to catch up with some family and friends and welcome my sister officially as a DC metro resident! Yeah.

The sad news is that while I did get some studying in, it was very difficult to leave home, which was so comfortable. I struggled with test anxiety and missing the other half of my family through Tuesday.

I seem to have bounced back for now and spent almost every waking minute studying this week. I have been proactive in preparing for my next 3 exams, studying during lunch and coming close to burning out. Last night I let myself go to sleep early and I have no idea what to do with almost 9 hours of sleep, but it feels good.

The long and short of it is, I'd be happy if the rest of my family was here to support me physically and mentally on those really bad days and I am tired of every Sunday being a "bad day." But fingers crossed that Matt can find a job in B'Burg sometime during the spring semester.

Until then I must plough through and enter the thick of it starting Monday with an anatomy test on the thoracic cavity, Thursday with immunology and 3 exams the following week. Then it tapers off and pretty soon it will be November for better or for worse.

Some days it really seems impossible and other days you don't think about it. Sometimes you start enjoying it and other times you just want to sleep and watch tv, (that's how I feel today.) Instead we have a guest speaker talkng about animal laws and how they affect veterinarians.

Talk to you soon from Blacksburg!

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Long Week Closes

This week was week 5 and one of the longest weeks of the semester. We had our first anatomy test, which is the biggest deal here. All the teachers know we have it and make a big deal of it, the second year class takes us out for drinks after, and to top it off the exam was hard and 3 hours long. We got the lab results back that day and I did okay, not as well as I hoped but not too bad. The lecture portion was pretty rough and I never need to get that part back.

It was definitely a reality check to study a subject for 4 weeks and start preparing for the exam over a week before and still not feel prepared. The other quizzes, exams haven't been like that until now. I have to prepare a little differently this time. In the meantime the whole class is trying to catch up on all the subjects we set aside to study for anatomy. So the big question is how do we deal when in 2 weeks we have 3 exams in 1 week?

My hope is to catch up for good this week and review all topics as if the test was the next day. I also have 2 papers to write, which are small but take up time of course (what doesn't).

It hasn't set me at ease that I have heard many second and third years talk about failing tests and how hard stuff is. It does not get easier...yikes.

But here I am with my first anatomy test down and still alive. I know many people who bombed one test and are still vets (including my mentor), so there is hope.

I did learn this week that a 70 is a D, what kind of grading scale is that?!!

Anyway I am scared of mid-terms but preparing now and trying to be more time efficient than I had been but not at the expense of my workout regimen or taking some time for myself.

I am craving to watch some tv, however, which is a complete cliche in the life of a vet student. Sometimes you have to choose between tv or a nap? When given the option I usually opt for nap.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Unsure, but willing to try

I would call today a roller coaster day. I had a slight meltdown in the morning about my anatomy test next Tuesday and how my marriage will stay in tact with 4 years of seeing someone 28 hours per week, but after a run and some perspective from a friend I am motivated and energized. I am going to just take it day by day. Tonight I am making dinner then, limiting my free time to get to a good place in anatomy and try to relax. I have many study dates planned this weekend, and barely time to go to the football game, but I can't go to school during the game anyway so its a good reason to go.

We'll see how this all pans out. Not sure I'll pass the anatomy test but I'll study all I can and try. We all feel that way so I guess there's something to be said for that. I also have a paper to write, a presentation, and a quiz to take. I am also falling terribly behind in a few other subjects.

Ahh deep breaths, life as a vet student.

Monday, September 10, 2007

First cold, First exam

I caught my first, and probably not last cold of the year. I tried ignoring it but it took over on Saturday. So I was sick for my very first exam in Physiology. I'll let you know how it went, apparently the grades get posted very quickly here. While I am feeling better, I am definitely not 100%. I plan to go to bed early this week. I think I may have overdid it last week, trying to stay up later to study more while everyone in class was sick. I can't compromise sleep and save the immune system.

Despite being sick it was a fun weekend. Kicked off with the April 16 memorial concert featuring John Mayer, Nas, and Dave Matthews. Friday night Matt got to meet my new vet school friends as we took on the town of B'Burg. Saturday I struggled to deny my sickness and study all morning. The afternoon broght BBQ and fishing a stock pond nearby with some friends. Matt caught a fish on his very first cast...then nothing thereafter.

Sunday was once again hard to see Matt leave, but I just may have to accept it won't get easier but possibly more manageable. I set up a support network and studied for physiology with friends at the greatest coffee shop (Mill Mountain Coffee).

The moral of this story is to stay healthy, not compromise my sleep, and keep on studying...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Heart of the Matter

For my true fans out there, it is probably clear from the lack of communication that the semester is well underway, right about now. The transition is becoming easier, I have made some great friends already, and I have my first exam this Monday 9/10 in physiology. For those that know me from college or high school, yes I am already stressed out about this test. In fact anxiety began exactly one week before the exam (lovely). The ironic part is I am in the top 10% of my class in terms of being laid back...hard to believe? It is for me as well, but its great solidarity. We all have good and bad days and have been supportive of each other.

The first football game kicked off last Saturday, also marking my first tailgate as a student Hokie. We won, but not by as much, nor did we play as well as expected. Nonetheless a good time! (at least we didn't pull a Michigan)

Matt and I hiked the very popular Cascades Fall trail in the Jefferson National Forest on Sunday. It was a beautiful day 75 and sunny, and no humidity.

Today we began dissection on a large animal, either horse, cow or goat. We will be doing the same dissection as we have done thus far on the dog on the larger animal and noting the differences. The horse is always the outlier. Since I have the largest dog in the class, I opted for the goat (less work=less fat picking). I must say though, that the horse and cow are pretty neat to examine.

As I sat in lab among giant cow, horse and goat cadavers it hit me that I am starting to really enjoy this, despite the countless hours of studying. Having some friends and a good study network has helped. Seeing Matt last weekend and tomorrow also helps!

So tomorrow is the big tribute concert for April 16 featuring Dave Matthews, Nas, and John Mayer, and some rumored surprise guests. As a vet student I have class right up until the concert, but its a good excuse to take a night off.

As a last note for now, last night was my first late night. I studied in a group from 7-10, after getting out of class at 5:15. Then I came home and studied until 12:30. Note that the latest I have stayed up all semester on a school night has been 11pm. Now you may be thinking that I stayed up later because that I had class later today, and yes I did. I didn't have to be there until 10am today, however, I awoke at 7am sharp and began studying again. That's the difference from college when I rarely awoke before 11am.

And as I finish this blog I will begin a stringent evening/afternoon of diligently studying. This is truly the life of a vet student. Some days its painful, some days are really difficult and seem impossible, and some days like today you're tired, stressed, missing your husband and cats, but the passion rises to the surface just enough to smile through it.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Finding My Way

I survived the first week of vet school, which is considered quite an accomplishment albeit a baby step. It was certainly a lot of work, mainly studying anatomy. We're only on bones and man are there many different parts to one single bone. Some vocab of note:

tubercle=notch or bump
tuberosity = larger tubercle
And everyone's favorite to sound smart"external occipital protuberance"=bump on the skull

I had a major computer catastrophe Friday and had to pay some loot to reinstall windows. Things seem to be fine now but being without Internet for just 24 hours proved stressful since many classes are on line and vet students get 15-20 emails per day (no clue when they want us to check these)...

Meeting all new people has been challenging but friendships are forming quickly.

It is slightly intimidating that after only 1 week I studied at least 2-3 hours a night in addition to being in class, and most of the classes had only 1 lecture which was just an introduction. It is interesting and will only get more interesting once we get past the cell biology.

It's difficult being far removed from my life back in NOVA, but Matt and I are working with it. We are certainly excited to see each other this Friday for the football season opener Saturday and the long weekend.

For those of you that are curious Isabelle is adjusting very well. She stands her ground to the pug and Boston Terrier (who loves cat food and wants to play with Isabelle). She started hanging out outside of my room and spending a lot less time under the bed. She even had the moxy to drink some water from the dog's bowl.

This week involves a lunch time speaker about animal vaccines, and animal welfare club meeting and no class Friday, so it should be a better week, barring any more crazy computer issues.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Orientation Recap

With only 1 day left of orientation, it has been a long but very informative first week. I think everyone is ready to begin this semester after hearing so much about it. Key themes:

  • Don't fall behind
  • You are here because you can do it
  • Study in groups with diversity and 4 or 5 members
  • Pet food is free for the next 4 years
  • Stress is a given but must be managed
The atmosphere here is everything I thought it would be. Friendly people and loads of spirit. I still have no tv but soon I won't even be able to watch very much. I have been exercising and trying to get some rest, while enjoying $1 drafts and socializing.

My big sister Emily is a second year student and has been so helpful in this transition and a lot of fun to be around. I feel lucky to have made a friend like her already. She'll be my tail gate buddy if any of you come down for a game.

This will be one of if not the most difficult thing I ever accomplish but I hope to get through it and make a difference in society and the profession.

Future posts will follow weekly. Please posts comments so I know you're reading and thinking of me.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

What a week, what a start!

Wow. After what felt like a marathon I am down here and orientation begins tomorrow. Let's review the week leading up to the move:

Tuesday 1am: Arrive Dulles airport after a great weekend in Portland with my great friend and former roommate and bridesmaid Andra. The weather was lovely. We enjoyed the great outdoors, the roses, Japanese garden, bridges, bicycling, hiking the falls, and finding great new music. A great trip to unwind and relax before school.

Too bad my luggage took over an hour to deplane at 2 am.

Tuesday 9am: Take car in for maintenance then go into work...exhausted and in a time zone in between coasts.

Tuesday evening: Visit with family in Bethesda for a small send off party.

Wednesday: Work, pack, DC Improv to see friend Andre perform with some co-workers.

Thursday: work, pack, see David Beckham live and playing soccer, enjoy great rain shower and very festive soccer fans

Friday: work, pack, drive to Blacksburg. Meet my roommate Jen at our place and head to Red Robin for the well deserved veggie burger after unloading the car. Matt arrives 2 hours later.

Saturday: Unpack, unpack, unpack. Attend VVMA info picnic on a farm clinic. Hit Target and Walmart. Unpack and organize more.

Saturday night: Head to "Big" Emily's for food, beer and nighttime pool hopping.

Sunday: Unpack, hit grocery store, buy some VT gear, have lunch with Matt at SubStation. Say goodbye to Matt (not easy at all), attend ice cream social with class of 2011 and 2010. Hit gym and finish organizing for the big day.

I have so many doubts. I am scared, excited, ready, not ready. I miss my life before, my life of just a few days ago when Matt and I chill on our couch with our cats and watch TV and read the paper. But that life is familiar and this is new. New is always hard but hopefully excitement can replace the doubts and worries over the coming days. If any couple can make this work its me and my Hokie.

Here's to the start of hopefully the most difficult and rewarding decision of my life.

I'll let you know how it goes ;)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Finally it is real...scary.

My how time has flown since my last post at the beginning of the month.

Despite closing on our Blacksburg apartment on July 21 and moving most of my belongings down there July 20, the reality had not hit home until Thursday July 26 when my team at my current company, CFC, took me out for a farewell lunch at Sweetwater Tavern. I started becoming sad, pensive. As I tried to make plans to see some friends I realized quickly I was running out of time. Only 13 days remain between now and the start of orientation. 10 days until I move down to Blacksburg.

Over the past few days I have been sentimental about leaving my 2 boy cats, my townhouse, and adjusting to a new long distance relationship with my husband, after living together for over 5 years.

I tend to hesitate right before any major life change, even ones not of my choosing such as graduating high school and college. Because this is my choice entirely and will drastically alter my current and future life it is even tougher to swallow without questioning. I know within myself that the past 4 years leading up to this moment have constantly shown me this is the right direction, but now that it feels so real and so full of change (both positive and negative) it has become much easier to question.

I hope over the next 2 weeks I can find closure for my current career and feel more confident about my choice for my future career.

Monday, July 2, 2007

It's becoming real

So with just 6 weeks until orientation begins in Blacksburg, home of the VT Hokies, my nerves are getting rattled. I have begun collecting items I will need for school and have even started packing up winter clothes. I'll be moving the bulk of my belongings down to VT the weekend of July 20, with my soon-to-be roommate, Jenn Nagy.

Jenn and I went to Ikea on June 29 and actually had a fun time. We bonded over Red Robin burgers, bad DC drivers, and lifiting heavy dressers into a Honda Element.

I am very scared of anatomy class (so much to learn), but I will be using some free time during orientation week to begin learning some terms and some bones.

I heard from Big, Emily, who has said despite how hard it may seem it is possible to get through the first year successfully. She has given me some hope!

Rabies Vaccination Complete

Overall, the 3 shot series was a positive experience. I had no major reaction or swelling. Some minor pain in my arm muscle for a few days after the 3rd shot. The second shot was virtually pain-free. After being terrified of shots I believe this experience helped me get over this fear. Still not a fan, but not as shot adverse.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Rabies Shot

I just got my first rabies shot today.It wasn't too awful as far as shots go. I had heard from current vet students to get it done before going to school, since some people have reactions and the timing can interfere with midterms.