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.