Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Winter Has Arrived.

So finals finally ended. They were long and somewhat painful, but another semester is done and it feels terrific. A snowstorm slammed the DC and Southwest VA area with 2+ feet of snow, making the trip home a little longer than usual.

Once exams ended I splurged on a massage and took a nap. I have cleaned my apartment in Blacksburg and our town house in Northern VA. I am finished with cleaning for a while. I was late with the holiday cards, but they went out nonetheless.

Yesterday I started my internship search by visiting Friendship Hospital in Washington, DC. They have a great intern program and I was impressed by the amount of doctors (22) and the elective week and dental rotations their program has. Since I have only worked at 2 hospitals, it was interesting to see how other hospitals are run and staffed. I was slightly overwhelmed by the amount of work I will be doing as an intern and the 5 days off per year...ouch. The schedule mentoring sessions and rounds made it clear to me that they do value training their interns, and I believe my clinical skills would hugely benefit from a year there. I just need to decide of my marriage and my body can take such a tough year.

Life of a veterinary student= always more to think about.

I will be visiting 3 other hospitals and working 6 shifts at the Hope Center over break. It will be nice to get back into the clinic and visiting the hospitals is very helpful, but both mean not a lot of free time.

Life of a veterinary student= not a lot of free time, even on a break.

I also want to wish all my followers a very Happy Holiday and a Successful 2010.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Finals Have Begun- Let the Good Times Roll

As usual I am in a constant state of finals depression. All I want to do is study and watch tv, maybe read some productive and non-productive material. Instead all I am allowed to do is study. To keep my sanity I work out the bare minimum hour a day, and to keep the dog sane, I walk her or send her off to daycare.

Our first exam was GI yesterday and while it went well somehow, I was delirious taking the exam. I studied all weekend, felt like I knew nothing, and semi-panicked during the exam over one case I couldn't figure out. It lasted 2 hours and 40 minutes. Now I am mentally exhausted, but am forced to push through it for 4 more exams.

One day I will figure out why finals are so horrible. They weren't in undergrad. We don't have any classes to hinder our study time, so what is so bad? Is it that we're at the end and exhausted? Could it be the word "cumulative"? Is it the weight bearing down on us that all we have to do is study? I don't know, but finals exhaust and depress me.

Here's to December 17th!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Another Break Bites the Dust

Sadly, it is the last day of Thanksgiving break. I shopped a little, saw some good girlfriends and family. Ran trails and did some yoga, studied a touch, and lounged a touch. While I could use another week, I am slightly rejuvenated to get back to the grind for just under 3 more weeks. Finals will be hard and as they approach I am getting a little queasy. Compared to the last 3 weeks, however, they should be the same or slightly less stressful since classes won't be getting in the way and thankfully the exams are spread out over 2 weeks.

It will be hard not to focus on my busy winter break. I will going to a wedding, cleaning the house, shopping, visiting veterinary hospitals with small animal internships, entertaining my mom for a week, working 6-7 shifts at the Hope Center emergency clinic, and finishing up the dental modules I signed up for (I only completed 2 of 10 over this break).

Here's to 3 more weeks of the second to last semester of sitting on my butt in class. It's time to push just a little harder.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Made it to Thanksgiving Break!

The 3 weeks of intense examinations finally came to a screeching, exhausting halt on Thursday. For the most part all the exams went well, sacrificing sleep along the way. The night before the neuro exam I stayed up until 1 am studying, the latest I have had to stay up since vet school. It was a true cramming session, but in the end it worked out and I took a nap and watched some tv after the exam.

I am still decompressing and trying to get a few good nights of sleep to become normal again. The past 2 weeks reminded me more of finals than third year, but we have 2+ weeks of reprieve before our hardest final hits, gastroenterology. It is nice that it will be first and we can get it behind us.

Now I have a 8 more days to relax, recoup, cook, eat, train dog, and try to catch up for finals amid other errands and doctor's appointments. Only 3 weeks stand between me and winter break and having 1 more classroom semester to go before clinics.

Happy Thanksgiving bloggers!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Rough Week Ahead, but Making Headway

This week has 2 written exams and the surgery practical final exam in store. While I did not get to play very much this weekend, I did get a lot of work accomplished in order to not fall too behind in my other classes.

I did get to play with Matt and Spokane in the beautiful weather on Saturday. Spokane played with some new dogs running, wrestling and chasing in and out of water. She had fun and got dirty! I have certainly seen some maturity with her in the past 2 weeks, and I am a proud mom.

Next weekend will not be very much fun either, with a gastro exam on large animal diseases and the liver, but I can now taste Thanksgiving break (and to some extent the end of the semester) and it is going to be great!

Here's to studying hard for 11 more days.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Way to Regress Michelle

The more I look at the next 3 weeks of my life, the more depressed I become. Test after test, surgery after surgery. Today I got a pit in the bottom of my stomach I hadn't had in a long time. It felt like the old "can I do this, why must we live apart?, make it stop" feeling.

Matt is taking Spokane during the week the next 2 weeks, so I can study more efficiently and because I have a lot of surgery days where I cannot come home for lunch. I also get at least an extra hour of sleep not having to walk her in the morning. Starting to separate the family again, however, makes me super sad and I am really going to miss her. I hope she will be good through this transition and not drive Matt crazy. He has really started to get attached to her, but I am sure a few horrendous weeks could change that.

He misses his cat buddies, I miss him, and I am just getting tired of the situation again. I also suppose all this emotion could be hormonal or just what it feels like to enter week 11 of the fall semester. I'll go back to the motto of one day at a time that got me through last year. I will focus on my studies and hopefully make it through, even if I am not happy again until November 20. That's only 19 days away right?

On a happier note, Spokane graduated from her second obedience class Saturday. She has a ways to go, but she has made great strides in 3 months. I am proud of her, and I really love her dearly.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Repeat of Second Year for a Month

Today was my last day to play outside and take the weekend leisurely. Fortunately, the fall foliage has peaked and winter is on its way. Unfortunately, my stress and flashbacks of last year and the impossible hurdles of vet school are back. This week I have a neuro exam and man is this stuff tough. To top it off I don't remember those cranial nerves and muscle innervations as well as I thought I did. Time to break out the flashcards. Next week I have surgery and 2 more exams, and 2 exams per week until Thanksgiving.

Deep down I know it is possible, but it will require another level of focus I haven't had most of the semester. I have not had it because I didn't need it. I have been having enough time to stay on top of things, but not anymore. Luckily it should go by quickly, and here's hoping for success. It was nice to have some pressure off, back to the real vet school I suppose.

On another note, Spokane has been doing well. She has amazing moments of listening, coupled with bouts of being stubborn. She knows her commands, but now chooses when to do them. We have started some off-leash fetching and training, which is exciting. She still has her bad days and way too much energy, especially when it is cold, but she is an amazing dog. I am sure I won't always be thinking that as I embark on a rough few weeks, but in the long run I think we are both happy to have her.

As usual this time of the semester I am tired and starting to get sick of school. I desire to be a 4th year, or better yet be working and living my life again. I will persevere and hopefully make it turkey, holidays and one last academic semester.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mid Semester Blues

While 3rd year is worlds away better and more manageable than second year, we are all getting tired and the novelty of clinical relevance is starting to wear out. I once again long for more free time and mindless activity. I will admit the semester is going by very quickly and with 8 weeks under my belt, and only 4 weeks left of classes it is a downhill slope. That slope is of course filled with multiple choice tests, hours of studying and sitting, and the intimidating surgery practical final exam.

But the light at the end of the tunnel involves Thanksgiving break.

On a positive note, I have basically worked out my senior schedule and I will be going to the Chengdu Panda Reserve in China, Humane Society lobbying group in Washington DC and the wildlife center of VA as my elective blocks. Pretty exciting. It really does feel like I will be a 4th year, which seemed absolutely impossible just 2 years ago.

The trickier part of registration is figuring out what classes I don't want to take next semester. They seemed to have saved all the fun electives for the spring, but lecture burn out is definitely starting to seep in. I plan to register for a bunch and drop once the semester starts and I evaluate how burned out I am after 5 semesters of vet school.

To the downhill crunch of the Fall Semester!

Friday, October 2, 2009

End of Week 6

This week felt long. It was filled with lots of useful information for preparing for my first job out of school, but that information came with strings attached. It was very intimidating that in a year I will have to start looking for a job and decide for certain whether I want to do an internship or find a practice with good mentorship to start my career. I also thought I had my resume in pretty decent shape, but there are many more changes to make. The idea of negotiating a contract is intimidating. My one experience negotiating a job offer didn't go very well, and I don't know if I will have time to read the recommended book Getting Past No. While graduation and 4th year seem much more real now than they ever did last year, the career development class changed my excitement to stress about when I will have time to do all the leg work to make the right decision and study for boards.

Endoscopy lab was good, I went last in my group and made a few attempts at the pylorus, unsuccessfully. The rest of the endoscopy went pretty well, including intubation and anesthesia.

It seems like the heavier weeks of the semester will be coming late this month until Thanksgiving, but it is nice to enjoy a lighter load while we can. Third year is still my favorite so far, but the prospects of 4th year and after are starting t be intimidating. I know how much time interviewing for jobs required my senior year of college and in many ways these are bigger decisions with less free time to make them. I have also been feeling like I really could use a mentor with varied experience and some good advice on internship vs. first job and I haven't found that yet. The people I have connected with are very busy veterinarians that I have not been able to spend much time with. They just don't know me that well. I hope I find that answer or mentor within the next year.

Friday, September 25, 2009

College Days Remembered

Very rarely has vet school reminded me of undergrad. This week after Wednesday's public health exam, however, has had minimal classes for my track and no exams for a while. I have been able to spend time outside playing with Spokane and trail running again.

Thursday evening I volunteered for the pet loss hotline and it was a very rewarding experience. I spoke to a woman who lost her favorite dog to a number of severe diseases a month ago. Since I am taking a communications course this semester and we recently discussed euthanasia and client grief I was anxious to try be a good listener and help this grieving owner. Our conversation went very well. The woman opened up to me and ended by telling me I truly helped her and she appreciated my help and the many veterinarians she has met. She really valued the medical care we provide for animals and noted what I had known for a while, that in many ways veterinary care exceeds human care in terms of veterinary-client compassion. It gave me confidence that I will make a good vet one day, especially since on average 8 pets per month are euthanized per veterinarian.

This week was much lighter than the prior week, but still fun, fulfilling, and challenging.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Tough, Successful, Rewarding Week!

While this week lacked some sleep and some workout time, such sacrifices are sometimes worth it. Both exams went well, way better than expected. This means one of two things. One there is a little man in the scantron machine that helps me out or that studying in advance over time with other people is very effective.

Surgery went pretty well and was as fun and exciting as it had been on RAVS this summer. I spayed a 6 pound Chihuahua named Trixie with some nasty periodontal disease (grade 3 or 4 perhaps). On my second pedicle as I was breaking it down the suspensory ligament popped and there went the pedicle. I knew what happened right away, and knew the steps to fix it. My teacher came over I told her what to do to fix it and it went well. It is bound to happen in practice with these smaller dogs and was a great learning experience to have it happen in this safe environment, when someone is there to help. It happened to a lot of the other students with small dogs as well. The only other thing that went wrong was that I started closing the body wall incorrectly using muscle instead of the external rectus sheath, but they said we would do that and I have something important to work toward next time. My skin and subcutaneous sutures went well and Trixie went home the next day with only mild swelling.

At the end of that long day I had to study for a big GI exam, and while I was exhausted I kept thinking to myself, "Someone is going to pay me to do this...amazing." I also got a taste of what 4th year will be like working with the technicians and clinicians as a team to provide the best care for the animal. I cannot wait for fourth year.

In summary, once again the impossible was possible and tremendously rewarding. They weren't kidding when they said third year is a lot of fun. It truly is!

As for the menagerie, Spokane went to doggie day care twice this week and on only her 5th visit she initiated play properly on her own. Each day I come home to my 3 cats and dog and appreciate how amazing each one of them is. Of course when Matt is there it is only more fulfilling.

To my few fans and readers out there I can only say keep plugging away! If this is the career you want you have to work for it but it truly will be worth it!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Make or Break Week Cometh

With 3 weeks of 3rd year under my belt it is safe to say that "they" were does get better. I absolutely love the classes and the labs. It all feels relevant and is slowly (very slowly) coming together, even if that involves looking stuff up again and again and saying to yourself, "at some point I knew that."

With that in mind, most of the semester looks extremely manageable, even with a new
puppy with the exception of next week.

Monday: Small animal advanced techniques lab and double quiz.
Tuesday: Surgery midterm exam...hard and includes Monday's lecture (talk about last minute).
Thursday: I am surgeon for a spay surgery on a client-owned animal. This involves a physical exam the evening prior, later that evening removing food, early am exam the day of surgery and checking on my patient later the evening of surgery. Add a dog into that mix and add

Friday: Gastroenterology exam...very hard. To top it off material we go over on Thursday is on the test.

Then I have class the entire day Friday until 4pm...extra dagger.

On the bright side, as I mentioned this is by far one of the toughest weeks and if I survive I can take deep breaths and enjoy the rest of the semester for the most part.

In the past weeks that seemed impossible were conquered, so I hope this is one of those weeks.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

First 2 Weeks of 3rd Year Under the Belt

Having passed my surgical pretest today, I think it is safe to say that third year is amazing. Everything is clinical and relevant and my do I think my summer prepared me for the fall. I am one of the few not nervous about surgery. (me not nervous in vet school, what is going on?) A friend of mine and I brainstormed and started realizing well, we have done 2 years, we know what need to get done, how to do it, and that it will happen. You don't come this far to let it slip away. We are also in lecture less and laboratory more, which is terrific.

I definitely have forgotten a lot of the info over the past 2 years, but I have to remember that it takes more than 2 years to be a great doctor and there is nothing wrong with looking things up, as long as the correct binder or text book is within reach.

The menagerie or Larsen zoo is doing well. The cats have their domain and the dog has hers. 2 of our cats may venture into her domain now and then, and sometimes Spokane chases and sometimes she calmly acknowledges and ignores. While coming home for lunch everyday is not as efficient, it's also not too bad, and other than on surgery days seems like it will work out fine.

A couple weeks from now is a rough week. We have 2 big exams and its the first week of surgery labs. Right now that is the major hurdle. Once I get through that, if successful, the rest of the semester should cruise on by.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Recap of a Busy Summer

Over the past couple days in between long hot dog walks, appointments and packing I have been reflecting on my last summer as a vet student. It absolutely flew right past me. I did not get to hang out with friends as much as I had liked to, but unfortunately that's part of life as people spend more time with their significant other and job and summer vacation plans.

In terms of veterinary experience, I feel well-rounded, but my brain feels rusty. I wish I had time to review some anatomy and pharmacology, but don't we always have that wish, yet somehow it never comes to fruition.

I feel confident with my clinical skills and look forward to surgery class this fall, after performing numerous spays and neuters and mice vasectomies.

In terms of quality time with the hubby, well is there ever enough time? While work consumed me during June and beginning of July, I found my balance between the gym, Matt and work and it started to feel very nice. We had a month where we biked every weekend, which was great. We jogged around monuments and tested outdoor trail courses in our area. Our trip to the Outer Banks was a true highlight and one I hope we take again sometime.

It has been over the last week, however, that I really can look back at this summer and smile at how much I accomplished and managed to have some fun sandwiched in between.

I am anxious to return to school with my large obligation, my new dog Spokane, and how she + 3 cats will fit into my vet school life. She seems to need a minimum of 2 long walks per day and she can still get puppy crazy. On the other hand I am taking the least amount of credits this semester and some of the classes are very little work/pressure.

As I was packing my closet today, that old feeling came back. The feeling that our life up here is so rich and complete (more complete than ever with dog) and how I do not want to give that up or be without Matt again. While I haven't been the best wife this summer in terms of cooking and cleaning he continues to be supportive of all my daily trials and tribulations. I will miss having him during the week and can only hope I adjust to it a lot quicker this time.

I am also ready to get on with it, put pieces together and get to 4th year. I hope I can make it through this fall semester sanely and successfully.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Fulfilling Experience Afterall

Today was the long-awaited NIH Summer Student Poster Day. While I would probably rather be back in on the coast in Washington state working on my clinical techniques some more with the RAVS group, today's poster session went pretty well.

Last summer only 2-3 people came to talk to me about my poster and most of the time I stood there bored or chatting with my neighbors. My poster didn't have cool photos or much direct clinical veterinary relevance compared to some others.

This year, while I was forced to exclude many pictures and incorporate a lot more words than I would have liked to, I got the chance to speak to a lot more people than last year. Some were friends or family, which is always comforting, and others were students who were curious and walking by. The most fulfilling experience was speaking with National Cancer Institute and other principal NIH investigators on analgesia in post-op mice. Many of them were shocked that bupivicaine at the time of surgery was the only pain relief given and were eager to include post-op analgesics in their future studies.

Speaker with researchers, who have budget constraints and can sometimes be insensitive to animal pain, felt very rewarding. While I only spoke to around 10 people, the issue was raised with direct stakeholders, who can help change the standard of analgesia in mice models and lab animal medicine.

While some better results would have been great and less time watching mice all summer more fun, it was amazing to know I made a small difference in lab animal welfare that could be a small step toward better pain management in mice.

In summary, all hard work is usually not without purpose.

Puppy Update: Spokane's second training session on Tuesday went well. She impressed me and made me proud except for 5 minutes after the UPS man knocked on the door. Yesterday, however, she was extremely mouthy to me and Matt. It also seems that each day it is harder to get her into the crate. This morning she thought it was a game and wanted us to chase her. We continue to give her praise, treats, special toys and bones while she's in there, but luring her in is quite the challenge. Once she is inside she lays down and chews on her bones/toys. We have been spending more time with her in the crate as well, not only leaving each time.

It may take more time for her to like it or she might not be a "crate dog", in which case hopefully she becomes trust worthy sooner rather than later.

In the meantime were working on down, her name, leash walking, and come.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

RAVS Recap

Well I am back from Washington state and I would highly recommend this experience to all vet students. It was more hands on and more intense than most of the training we get in school. I did in fact pass my surgery exam and lucked out with 2 surgery days (many only get 1 day). I started trying to find my way through many a physical exam, had some varied anesthesia cases, and performed 10-11 spays/neuters on dosg and cats. I also saw a limb amputation and helped that dog, who was hit by a car 3 weeks prior recover miraculously.

The days were draining though and at times I wondered how I would get it through it. The reservation was in a beautiful area with mountains, lakes, Coulee Dam (quite a site) and pine trees everywhere.

It was fun to get advice and help from the doctors that were there. I have to say I absolutely loved surgery.

On a surprising note, I brought home a living souvenir. Her name is Spokane (it was Apache) and she was one of the Reservation's Animal Control Officer's dogs who only had a few more days before she would be euthanized if no one adopted her. Another girl on the trip and myself really took a liking to her and did not want to see that happen. Nether one of us was quite ready for a dog, but in what was my most spontaneous decision possibly ever, I got her on my flight and now I have a crash course in dog training 101. She is a lot of work for me and Matt, but for only 2 days she is doing really well. Although I wish she liked the crate more.

I hope I made the right decision and that she can be trained asap! I am very nervous about having her and the 3 cats during school, but hopefully I can make it work.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Murphy's Law and Summer of Learning

After a semi-relaxing weekend and some quality time with Matt, Monday started off with Murphy's law in full effect. What was supposed to be the last day of my experiment and arising at 5:00 am turned into a disaster. After 4 of the 9 mice were completed, the power in our procedure room went off and we could not complete the surgeries with enough time for me to start the 1 hour post-op observation. So 4 mice wasted and another day of arising before the sun, and I am tired today. On top of that, we were already under the gun time-wise for my poster, and now it's even more exacerbated unless I use 4 instead of 5 data sets. Ugh.

With 4 days left until I take off for Spokane and RAVS I am excited. I have been practicing for my surgery practical and feel ready. I really hope I get to perform some spays and neuters this week, but I am sure it will be a great experience even if I do not.

This Saturday at the emergency clinic was one of my favorites. I placed a urinary catheter in a dog successfully on the first try, placed 4 IV catheters, and completed my first blood transfusion. It was very rewarding and really solidified for me that my heart lies in small animal medicine, at least in the near term. For reasons to be elaborated on later, I no longer feel a calling to laboratory animal medicine, but I am glad I got the chance to explore both simultaneously this summer.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Most Exhilerating Experience

First off, I want to address the difficulty I have had with my age since I turned 30 a month and a half ago. My best friend turned 30 this week and after talking to her I had an epiphany I would like to share.

Perhaps the 20's are about finding out who you are as a person. Things you like or dislike, your values, interests, goals, and career exploration. As I enter my 30's I feel confident in knowing these aspects about myself. While there is a lifetime of learning that remains, perhaps this decade is about enjoying life in your own skin, now that you know what that skin is made of. Just a thought to ease the transition.

The main focus of this blog entry, however, is not a reason why 30 could be better than 20 (who am I kidding), but about a day that will live in infamy. My first rock climbing experience was one of the most demanding, powerful and rewarding experiences I have ever had in my life. Not only was it much more physically demanding than I imagined, or experienced with indoor climbing, but the mental puzzle as you calculate the next move was unexpected, but amazing.

At no point did I feel unsafe. The sport challenges each individuals boundaries and you choose to go on or stop. Whether you reach the anchor or not, a sense of accomplishment is inevitable and the physical challenge unbelievable.

As an avid gym rat and hiker for 7+ years, it has been a while since I have been challenged on this level and felt so alive! While I had always plan to sky dive when I turned 30, I think rock climbing on many levels may have been the more exhilarating choice.

I look forward to getting back out on the rock as soon as my body recovers and in the process learning more about my limitations and the amazing things my mind and body is capable of.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Middle Ground Found

After true burnout of myself and the other lab vet I am working with, we both pushed back to our manager and he responded. Things are much better. The study is now manageable for the time frame we have. I was able to attend an influenza vaccine talk today during lunch. I will be spending more time with the primates on an enrichment level, reading more articles, and getting a better feel for lab medicine and not just the summer project.

After the OBX and the long 4th weekend (we camped again this time at lake Anna with some friends), I feel rejuvenated. I am avidly practicing for my RAVS surgery practical, which is going to be tough, but practicing suture techniques is only going to put me ahead, even if I don't pass the test.

While I am depressed that summer is half over, I have been able to go to the gym and have a small social life between 2 jobs now and things feel much better.

Last night I went to a great pilates class, followed with Zumba, which was more like salsa. I loved it! It strengthened my desire to learn how to salsa. I need to add that to the next 30 years list. I made the list before my 30th birthday to keep track of all I want to accomplish in my next 30 years. Matt and I also really want a boat and sooner rather than later. Perhaps in the next decade?

I also decided on Monday that I am very glad I am spending some time at the emergency clinic and time in lab medicine. It makes for good comparisons.

As for my current career plans, I think I want to practice in small animal medicine for 3-5 years and go from there. I can always switch but it makes for a solid foundation.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mid-Summer Evaluation

I am still struggling with balancing my life with my NIH position. The pilot study has gotten underway and I find I have not time to even enter and evaluate the data. I feel like I race around the NIH campus just to make a meeting or to store samples, etc. While it is a good experience and a resume booster, it is not enough time learning about what a lab animal vet does and too much time watching mice behaviors and pressing on their rear for fecal samples. I don't see how my poster will be done in a month either since my sponsor is on vacation for most of July.

Meanwhile my Saturday shift at the Hope Center has been very rewarding. I intubated my first cats last night (it is much harder than a dog), got some catheters in and really felt like I made a difference. One of the new doctors is a senior from VT that just graduated in May and it was funny how I helped him with a blocked cat. It made me feel more at ease that starting out is a challenge for all vets and perhaps I have some advantage because of my experience at the Hope Center.

Matt and I went to the Outer Backs and VA Beach last weekend and it was absolutely beautiful. Many wildlife refuges, lovely beaches, great seafood and not enough time to see it all. I would have loved a whole week there and we are toying with the idea of returning at the end of the summer.

In my not so spare time I am trying to have a social life and work on my resume and externship ideas. I saw a wonderful ballet with my sister Thursday night at the Kennedy Center. Matt and I went to Artomatic in DC Friday night and got inspired by all the wonderful artists and photographers in the area.

It just stinks that I have less time and less sleep than I really would have liked my last summer before graduation. Hindsight is 20/20, but part of me wishes I just worked at the Hope Center all summer, instead.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Lab Animal Medicine Realities

While I was in love with my position at NCI-NIH in Lab Animal Services, it has taken a slight detour away from the clinical side toward another deadline intense, time-draining summer research project. While I think the project is important for the welfare of laboratory mice used in surgical research, by looking at different analgesics and different doses through corticosteroid levels and behaviors, spending my entire summer locked in a basement for 8-10 hours a day watching mice behaviors is not going to give me the idea of a career in lab animal medicine.

The opportunities, speakers, meetings at NIH are amazing opportunities. I strongly fear that because of this study I will be unable to participate in them. Today I attended the first of 4 journal club meetings having to do with teaching how to critically read a scientific article and current MRI research. I hope I can attend the next 3 as well, just one of the many opportunities for summer students that I may miss out on.

The first 2 weeks of my internship I shadowed a lab animal vet on his animal rounds, sat in on an IACUC meeting and spent some time learning clinical primate techniques and standards of protocol. Now I may not have those opportunities again.

When I started this summer I was asked about my goals and what I wanted out of this summer. While I voiced my opinion and the first few weeks were perfect, this week we (pretty much just I) start the pilot study, which will take up almost all day Tuesday and Thursday. Next week it could take up the same amount of time, and if the pilot study is successful we will be doing 10-15 animals per day, all of which require behavior watches at 1, 3, 5, 7 hours post-Sx.

While I understand the importance of the study and the impact it can have on lab animal medicine if it is successful (no similar data is available for mice), the time pressure of summer research is frustrating. As my last summer before I graduate, I really need to explore as many options in veterinary medicine as I can. Only watching mice for painful behaviors is not going to help guide my career ambitions.

I hope after the next 4 weeks, a middle ground is found.

In the meantime, Matt and I have been biking and hiking and having leisurely weekends with great weather. I am glad I decided to work at the Hope Center on Saturdays, even though it makes for a 6-day work week.

This weekend we head south to Richmond, VA beach and the OBX for some camping, driving and R&R.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Early Start to the Week

This morning I awoke at 5:15 am to get to the primate facility by 7. I was planning to rebel and drink my tea on the metro,, but somewhere between my car and the train my thermos disappeared. I was devastated and very tired, but I made it on time to practice some physical exams on the sedated macaques.

After that I headed back to the office to do some safety and emergency preparedness required reading and try to plan the rest of the week.

I did have time to take aerobics class during lunch which woke me up and will save time later.

I spent the afternoon shaving mice to save time when we practice our vasectomy surgerical technique for the last time before the pilot study tomorrow.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Major Mishap

I was warned by all 3 anesthesia instructors, "You will make this mistake." After 3 successful intubations in class, I honestly thought I wouldn't be that stupid. I was. I had the opportunity at my emergency shift Saturday to be the anesthetist and I messed up the intubation. We fixed it quickly and the dog did great under anesthesia, until another horrible thing happened.

The abdominal exploratory looked worse than expected and the simple procedure the owner agreed to pay for would not be sufficient. The owner still refused to perform the other, more expensive but good prognosis, surgery and I had to euthanize the animal on the table. I was really shaken up by my decrease in confidence and the irresponsibility of the owner. The owner has many times allowed the 2 year old sweet poodle/lab mix to eat socks because "he always just passes them." Yet he refused to perform the appropriate surgery to heal the dog he hurt.

It was horrible and again made me question if small animal medicine is the right career for me.

As I write this I realize what a tremendous learning experience and career exploration this summer may turn out to be.

Week 2 at National Cancer Institute

My second week at NIH was just as exciting as the first one.

I worked up a primate case on endometritis, spent more time with some young macaques handing them food. Note: they love marshmallows and pineapple. Some are shy, some are more outgoing but they all have fun, unique personalities.

We spent some time organizing logistics for my analgesia study. We are starting the training for the pilot study this week. Our mice come in on Tuesday and we will be behavior watching and practicing vasectomies one last time before the real thing next week. Some days will be long and hard, but hopefully it will be worth it.

I sat in on an Animal Care Use Committee Meeting and it was eye opening. I saw first hand how the legislation that many times feels like red tape when trying to organize a wet lab or experiment really does have a major impact on the welfare of the animals. It also mentioned numerous studies going on at NCI to cure brain cancer to breast cancer to HIV to ovarian cancer.

Being involved in lab animal medicine incorporates clinical duties, animal welfare, research knowledge, and the cutting edge of new medicine.

Next week I have 2 surgery days with the primates. I have to get up a little earlier than I prefer, but hopefully it will be rewarding.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

VPI Summary

Better late to review than never I suppose, even though I got back 2 weeks ago from California.

I really enjoyed my week in LA and benefited greatly from my week at VPI. The people were amazing and nice. My understanding of pet insurance will really add to my career if I choose the small animal career path.

While I spent 6 years in business prior to starting vet school, I did not have much knowledge on how the insurance industry works. I also did not realize that for some reason the general public does not think of pet insurance in the same way as medical, dental or even car insurance. They do not understand you have to pay for various levels of risks and benefits as you would for car insurance for pet insurance as well. They also do not understand why their pet may not be insurable or why they may still have to pay some amount.

VPI showed me that pet insurance can bridge that gap between medical advancement, higher costs, and an owner’s love for a family member if we understand how an insurance company operates. As veterinarians we must understand and educate clients on pet insurance if we want to continue to offer the best medical treatment options possible.

Learning how an insurance company works is vital in client education if veterinarians are able to educate their clients on pet insurance properly. I now have a detailed understanding of the education pitfalls currently coming between clients, pet insurance veterinarians and small animal medicine.I can use this knowledge to educate my classmates, practitioners I meet and my clients in 2 years to bridge the lack of understanding of how pet insurance works and why it costs and covers what it does.

Friday, May 29, 2009

First Week as a Lab Animal Veterinary Intern

My first week at NIH National Cancer Institute as a SCRTA (which=intern, but they love acronyms there) was pretty spectacular despite getting up around 6:15 every morning.

All of the veterinarians I am working with are patient, knowledgeable, and nice. It is a very welcoming learning environment. Instead of feeling like I am in their way, they have made me feel very comfortable and excited to learn. I completed my medical evaluation and training by the end of Wednesday and performed my first sugeries ever on lab mice. I began practicing a vasectomy technique I will be using for my summer reasearch project on analgesia/anesthesia and post-op pain management. I am very excited about this project and the surgerical experience I will be getting.

Today I shadowed a lab vet's rounds with mice, frogs, and rabbits and helped perform health checks on the mice. I also got to practice an intrafemoral bone marrow injection technique that is growing in popularity with stem cell research.

I ended the week on a high note meeting with the primate veterinarian on her goals for the summer. I will be doing some research for the staff on different topics, devise new enrichm,ent ideas, play with some of the more "bored" primates, perform intubation, shadow surgery, blood collection and physical exams, and work up some cases.

It is looking like a busy, but very meaningful and educational summer!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Back from the Missing

So I may have left some awesome readers hanging and I apologize. When I last wrote I was about to take my last exam of second year. Now I am officially a 3rd year! Also, have officially been in California for 5 days and loving it.

Matt and I toured all over Beverly Hills, Malibu, Venice, Santa Monica, Hollywood, UCLA, Bel Air, Getty Center, Orange County, Chinatown, Dodger Stadium and Downtown LA. It has been fun and sunny. We bought some art at the BH art market, shopped Rodeo Drive, and drove around a lot. Thank goodness for GPS and hybrid cars.

Yesterday I turned 30 (ugh) and started my 1 week veterinary externship at Veterinary Pet Insurance. The days are flying by with a lot of terrific information to absorb. I wish more vet students could have the opportunity to understand the insurance industry and how it will impact the profession.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Almost there

I can taste the end of second year and it feels great. One more exam on Wednesday, with all the big ones behind me. Summer is going to be very busy, starting with a vacation/externship in sunny LA!

Seeing the 3rd years transition into their new clinician student jackets today (their first day of 4th year) made me realize just how close and possible this vet school thing can really be. It's funny whenever you feel beat down or frustrated it picks you back up somehow. It's as if vet school karma knows when you're at the breaking point.

Good luck to all with exams left! Stay tuned for a fun summer blog about Veterinary Pet Insurance, lab animal medicine at the National Cancer Institute at NIH, RAVS in Spokane, and weekly emergency cinics! Oh and hopefully some fun in between.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

It seems impossible all over again

After an intense 7 hours of toxicology almost straight in the library, I thought I was making head way. I decided to head to the gym for a mental break. While on the elliptical I wanted my break to continue, but I diligently opened my folder of study sheets. I remembered almost nothing that I studied all day. Panic started to set in. I kept telling myself, I needed the break and being at the gym was a good idea, but I felt guilty and helpless, so I closed the folder and continued the break.

I remind myself that I have felt this way many times before. I have been proactive about studying this material. I am doing the best I can, and hopefully it will work out. By "work out" I mean I do not have to study for these horrible exams again next year. Fingers crossed. Time to eat dinner and hit the lab.

Oh how finals are horrible! 11.5 more days of torture remain.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A beautiful weekend

With no exam for 1 full week and beautiful warm, sunny weather finally, I took Friday afternoon off to play/run outside and Saturday involved little school work as well. It did involve sunshine, the VT spring football game, and playing in Target. For one of the first times during a semester I did not feel guilty about not studying. A sign that I must have needed the mental break.

Now it is Sunday evening and I am feeling the final exam preemptive stress kick in. I am trying to think of this as good stress, stress to propel me through the next 2.5 weeks, and not focus on it as panic attack time. I can only do the best I can from now until exams and I plan to be super productive from here on out, with some minor intermittent packing/cleaning. If the packing/cleaning cannot get done until after my last exam that's okay too.

So here's hoping I make it to 3rd year the first time around. 6 exams/classes to go!

Friday, April 24, 2009

2 Classes Down and Finals Begin

Well respiratory medicine and musculoskeletal, two of the 3 credit classes are done. Next exam is anesthesiology on Friday, so we have some time to study, prepare, and finish up strong, I hope. Today was fun, but the last 24 hours were an emotional roller coaster.

It began yesterday at 2pm. I was in the library, focused and studying for my musculoskeletal final and then I got the email from Matt, "I can't telecommute Monday." I was heart broken since I hadn't seen him in 2 weeks and was looking forward to the extra time together. After that my focus was hazy and I was sad. Then in our last clin path lab, my teacher started crying telling us she'd miss us, and I started crying.

I fought through the disappointment and kept on studying. On this morning's exam, despite having studied for over a week for the exam, I still didn't know what was going on and had to guess on a number of questions. I hope that's not an omen for finals. The past few tests I have been studying and studying and then I am clueless on the exam.

After the test the day got brighter. My last class ended an hour early, I had a great meeting with my toxicology professor and met a friend for a picnic lunch in a tree by the Duck Pond on this beautiful day. We made our "next 30 Year's" list of things we hope to accomplish and played with her super fun dog, Diego.

Right as we were finishing my running buddy called to go for a run, perfect timing. We had a great run with her 2 dogs, then got back and did some online shopping, always fun. Then Matt met me at home and now here I am.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Less the 1 month until second year is complete

People keep telling us we're on the home stretch, downhill slide. I feel like the next few weeks are an uphill battle through 1 more week of class and many final exams. The memory of last semester's final exams looms in my head like an ugly cloud. While I hope that these exams will go by quickly and I will be prepared, I cannot help but think that getting to May 13 could take forever.

On the bright side, my wildlife medicine class had a fantastic lab Saturday at the Wildlife Center of VA in Waynesboro. We practiced restraint, BCS and PE on different birds, toured the amazing facility, looked at bird/raptor radiographs, and practiced common bird bandaging techniques. I plan to go back for an externship 4th year and to shadow the vets for a day this summer.

So far second year has been more practical and I am starting to put things together and think like a doctor, but remembering all the differentials for each clinical sign for each of the species is still rusty. With each new concept that sticks in my brain, something definitely falls out.

For now we must keep trudging along and fight for our last summer break.

Friday, April 3, 2009

It's been a long time

Since my last entry spring break came and went in a flash. It was a combo of yard work, clinical pathology, a SAVMA road trip to Ohio State and extracting my first tooth (harder work than you think), and a little more sleep than I am used to, but not too much.

The week back has been rough, 2 tough exams and our second go at being anesthetists, which is an exam in and of itself. I made it alive and tired. Not sure how the exams went, but that's the beauty of vet school there are always more exams...

I also pulled a back muscle Wednesday, which hurts terribly for those of you that have been blessed with never pulling muscle. I had never pulled one before and the shooting pain drove me into the arms of the doctor, NSAIDs and Vicadin. It feels much better now.

Most of my classmates are pretty tired and ready for the rat race to end for summer. I will just be patient and take it day by day. One month and change is not far away.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

1 more test until Spring Break

Even though spring break will not be much of a vacation for me, I am excited for a change of pace. We are all starting to get tired of studying. I am looking forward to a little time to spend outside and catching up on some much needed sleep. I truly wish we did not have 2 exams the week we return, but such is life. And upon return there will only be 4 weeks of class until finals, yeah!!

Due to the SAVMA symposium, which I am excited to go to, I will only have a few days to spend at home in Washington DC. They will be filled with doctor's appointments, yard work, a trip to the DMV for a new license, and planning out the summer, and studying. Hopefully, I'll get to see a few friends and family too and go for a bike ride.

Well, study break is over and it's time to get back to how to conduct a thorough Orthopedic horse exam.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Semester is Flying!

With 1 week and 3 exams until spring break, I can taste it! Spring also arrived, and then left.

Anyway, it's the Friday after a 3 exam week and I survived. While I do not have confirmation, I believe I passed. Next week is another 3 exam week, starting out rough with Virology on Monday. Monday exams make for excellent weekends!

On a slightly different note, my summer is shaping up to be very busy. Perhaps too busy. My summer job decisions came down to 3 amazing choices: Pathology externship at John's Hopkins University, Research at the NIH National Cancer Institute in lab animal medicine, and a very lucrative lab animal internship at Merck in NJ. After deliberation, due to location and connections I have chosen to work at NIH this summer. The 4th year externship door is open at JHU, and hopefully I can keep the door open at Merck as well. In addition, I have the RAVS trip to Washington State, possibly working a weekend shift at The HOPE Center Emergency clinic, and I was recently awarded the Veterinary Pet Insurance Externship/vacation to Orange County, CA. If somehow I manage to do all of these things, it will be quite the resume and experience-building summer.

I am a little overwhelmed, but hopefully over spring break I can start planning out how all of these jobs will come together. I also have to (boo) study for 2 exams when I get back and attend the SAVMA symposium at Ohio State.

I will be one happy and tired vet student next Friday. But as a good friend always told Friday never comes, and with a summer like this he is most likely correct!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The tough get going

It's been a little while, in fact it's now March, and I apologize. Clearly, the lack of blog entries is symbolic of the increasing amount of exams as the semester progresses. So far so good, but so much further to fact 3 weeks until spring break. 3 very intense weeks of 2-3 exams each week. And spring break, what spring break? We return to 2 exams the first week back! I am going to the SAVMA symposium at Ohio State, though, for a memorable experience.

This weekend the snow ruined my fun and sent my husband leaving a day early for fear he may not return to work for days otherwise. It was the first time in a while the distance has really hurt me. I am trying to work through it as best I can, to study for the looming toxicology and general medicine exams. It is snowing like a beast out there. I am very sick of winter and now have another reason to hate snow!

Thankfully, we had a good, albeit short, weekend. Friday night I made dinner (after deciding not to go to the VA VMA conference in Roanoke and forfeiting the well-worth it $25) and we watched an excellent episode of Lost. Saturday we both did work together, Matt went to the VT v. Duke basketball game, and then we saw a terrific play, The Thistle at Pope Creek.

While I tried to get a lot of work done, as usual somewhere I fell short and now it will be cram, cram, cram until spring break (which will be catch up, catch up, catch up).

Okay on with the herbicide toxicoses!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day

After a semi-productive morning of studying, I decided to rejoin the human race and have a date with my valentine. We went to the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, visited some art galleries and a fabulously expensive chocolate and paper store. We ended with a huge and delicious Mexican meal at Alejandro's. It was nothing fancy, just great food and a great salsa bar, and most importantly great fun!

While I had to re-enter the vet school race when we got home, it was what I needed: to spend some time with the person I am so lucky to have.

Quotes to get you get through the day

This week was a little rough on the confidence, but with supportive friends and some inspirational quotes when they were needed the most, I think I will make it through.

"Life does not put in front of you anything you can't handle."

"Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end."

"When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on."

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Avoid the burnout

Well I think I survived the first week of exams. This week contains another 2, potentially harder exams. It's Sunday and I am tired. The weather was spring-like and I tried to enjoy it a little bit. We went for a long trail run on Saturday in the late afternoon, and got a little lost due to poor trail heads and a cloudy memory. We found our way back, thankfully, before dark and were able to laugh about it. Needless to say our bodies were sore. We ran/hiked for over 40 minutes more than planned.

The rest of Saturday and Sunday were heavy study days in an effort to stay on top of the current classes and prepare for next week's exams.

This week we have a lot of lectures and a pet peeve of mine. It makes vet school infinitely less manageable when we have 6 lectures before the fist exam that will be on the second exam, when we are still trying to master the 10 prior lectures for an exam that week. It means a lot of catch up next weekend in cardiology. Ugh my brain hurts just thinking about it.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Let the Exams Begin!

It is the 3rd week of classes and the games begin Wednesday. Many of the weeks of this semester are 2-3 exam weeks. As I have been talking to many other classmates and 3rd years, apparently the pre-exam anxiety I have starting this week is normal, and unfortunately does not go away with further advancement through the program. Each semester is so different, and we all find ourselves having to prove to ourselves time and again that yes we can do this.

So here is hoping that this week goes well, and makes me remember that yes I can do this.

Musculoskeletal exam Wednesday, Wildlife Medicine Midterm Friday. Until the weekend...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Could this be the hardest semester of them all?

After 3 semesters under my belt, I was feeling a little more confident that I knew how to study and that I could get through it. Right about this time in the semester, I start to look ahead at all of the exams I will have to take and pass, and I get overwhelmed. It may be irrational, but this time feels different. Clinical pathology is a 3 credit, but really 5 credit class with daily homework assignments. While it is my favorite class so far, it will get ugly once the exams start coming in bunches next week. We have an average of 2 per week the entire semester, with some lovely 3 exam weeks sandwiched in there. More exams means that they count less, but I don't see how it will be possible to continue staying on top of all these subjects, that they keep warning us not to fall behind. It does appear that falling behind is a horrible idea this semester, since all the material builds on itself. In addition, more than ever it's about applying ideas to cases versus memorization/regurgitation. While I hate memorizing, it is more of a safe place right now.

Anyway, in the life of a vet student intimidation is common. We all must work past the intimidation. So far I have done all I can and it's been more than adequate, so I must believe that it will be enough again this time through.

The longing for spring break has already begun!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

School's Back, Am I?

I still want to be a veterinarian, I have absolutely no doubt. However, I cannot put my finger on why my motivation and typical new semester excitement has been lacking this week. The subjects are very interesting and many are more applied and clinically relevant than ever before. The thought of all the work that is required makes me tired just from thinking about it. Instead of viewing the semester as fresh and new, I keep thinking, "wow I will have a lot of outlines and review sheets to make." It could be related to me not being rested, or could it be the first sign of major burn out from the prior 3 semesters. I am not sure what the cause is, and while I have moments when I cannot wait to look some fact or concept up, for the most part my work the past few evenings has been just going through the motions.

Perhaps it's a form of "veterinary block", similar to writers block. It does not indicate you don't want to be an author/vet, but you have just hit a point where your inspiration and juices are not flowing properly. Everything feels very routine to me, and while many things in my life are positive, my veterinary inspiration is lacking. I am probably just fatigued, but I will continue to plow through and hope the motivational juices flow once more.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Winter Break Update

So here I am packing up my Northern VA life and bringing it back to Blacksburg for semester 4 of vet school. The rumor is that this is the hardest semester and the one where all the learning starts to make sense. It's also the semester of expensive textbooks. While I am more rested than I was last week, I could use another week or a few days to really stay relaxed. Instead I am going to the National VBMA conference in Orlando, as a 2009 Mid-Atlantic Regional Leader. Exciting, yes! However, I am not ready to leave Matt and home yet, not that I have much of a choice now. I am also missing the big inaugural concert on Sunday, with the Boss, Beyonce, John Legend and other musicians I enjoy. Oh well, it's also going to be acrtic cold here and super crowded, and I have to hope it will be warmer in Florida.

I am starting to be complacent with how break went. I did what I needed to do, and no one ever gets everything done that they want to. I worked a lot, applied for as many summer jobs as I could find, and relaxed and worked out as much as possible. Now it is time to regroup and re-energize and hope the semester goes quickly, successfully and that sometime in March I will have a summer job.

Until then I must finish packing and be one with the fact that no matter how much time you have off, you will always want more. Life goes on with or without you.

I think I am saddest that today was my last day to sleep in.

Monday, January 12, 2009

All good things...

I have to say I do not feel very rejuvenated and rested. In fact last night my mind wandered everywhere, except to sleep. I really do not want to go back to school. I don't exactly know why, since I am as sure as ever that I want to be a veterinarian. Here are soem possible reasons:

  1. Matt's telecommuting situation is still TBD
  2. Still exhausted from last semester
  3. I know what I am in for
  4. We lost 5 classmates to semester 1 of second year
  5. I have not figured out my summer, which means it will have to get done during the semester.
  6. I didn't get enough time with Matt and friends.
  7. I have a new role as VBMA Mid-Atlantic regional leader, and not sure how that will fit in.
  8. Ready for summer.
  9. Don't want the busy, stressful life back.
  10. Tired.
So while I have dented the to-do list (yes I unlocked all mariokart races and some new characters), I am not ready to go back into the bubble of vet school. I hope this crappy feeling is replaced by renewed sense of energy very soon!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Ice Skating-Like Riding a Bike

So I have been chipping away at my last days of break list. Today I submitted summer job applications (still more to do tomorrow), mopped all the floors, and took 2 gym classes back to back. Yesterday Matt and I went ice skating for the first time in at least 15 years. Not a bad start to my second to last full week of break.

Ice skating was a blast! After one lap hugging the wall, I broke free. Many of the skills I acquired when I took lessons as a kid came flooding back. I almost skated backwards, could do lunges, in-out circles (not sure what these are actually called), and most importantly could control my speed. My ankles and shins hurt today, but it was worth it.

After ice skating, Matt and I walked by a murder site by the Verizon Center in DC before going to eat a well-deserved lunch at Matchbox. We had a really nice lunch, great wood-fired pizza!

This week is off to better start, but the DVD player is on the fritz. Last year the plasma tv broke when I was ready to watch some tv and this year the DVD player, just as I am ready to start on my Alfred Hitchcock box set I got for Christmas 2 years ago. Oh well, thank heavens for the Playstation 2 we never used.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 Recap

Somehow I slugged through finals and had a somewhat successful semester. There is some controversy concerning 10% of my class and the school's adjusted "D" grade policy. The administration had informed us that we were grandfathered under the old policy for 3 D's =failing, but apparently they are arguing that 2 D's = failing and 8 classmates may not be returning for the spring semester. I hope this is not the case. The class president sent out a survey to gauge general understanding of the policy, but due to the holidays we have not heard anything further regarding the administrations decision.

The whole issue has caused some backlash between the students and the school's administration, which I think is a shame because I think all of our teachers and staff work very hard and have taught us well. They did not, however, address the policy change to us properly. I hope the situation is rectified properly.

On another note I'd like to recap 2008 accomplishments:
  1. 3 semesters of vet school under my belt.
  2. Tried my hand at biomedical research, and enjoyed a lovely summer in Blacksburg.
  3. Co-published my first review journal article (volume to be determined in early 2009) on toll-like receptors.
  4. Continued networking throughout the veterinary community and exploring alternative career options, such as lab animal medicine.
  5. Had a blast in the UK with old friends.
  6. Received a national VBMA position as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Leader for 2009.
To quickly recap winter break thus far:
  • I was not "into" the holidays this year. I suppose between the crappy economy and lack of funds energy and time it just wasn't my year.
  • Garfield, one of my cats with FLUTD, blocked the weekend after my last exam, while we were in NYC for a party and to visit my mom.
  • I have still not caught up on sleep between working many shifts at the Hope Center and lack of sleep in NY.
  • I visited Covance with the Pathology club and learned more opportunities in lab animal medicine.
  • I have been cleaning the house, and trying to get back into shape.
  • Matt and I cooked a delicious Rick Bayless Mexican meal for New Year's Eve.

I am already starting to get depressed about break being half over:(

Still on the list:
  • Finish cleaning the house.
  • Get more into shape.
  • Apply for summer programs.
  • See more friends and go ice skating at the National Gallery.
  • Try to organize more photos.
  • Watch more movies and unlock the 3 other races in Mariokart.
  • Attend the National VBMA meeting at NAVC in Orlando.
While spring semester will be very interesting and start bringing concepts together, I believe it will be very challenging and I am still tired. I can only hope the next few weeks can rejuvenate me enough to get through to May 14.