Wow, I really can't believe that I'm officially finished with my first quarter of vet school. I'm 1/16 of the way done (counting summers). Looking back, I feel like it's crazy that I was only in school for two months and two weeks. It felt so much longer than that! I guess when you go through five weeks of exams in a row, and then study for nearly three weeks for one week of finals, it tends to feel like an eternity.
Awesome stuff about vet school:
- My friends! I'm convinced that I've got the best lab group in the entire world, and I love the people that I hang out with and study with. I was (and still am) thankful for their support every single day, and I love that they are so hilarious. Seriously, I don't have time to exercise in vet school (not that I did before), but I swear the fact that they make me laugh until my sides hurt is helping me to burn fat somehow.
- People in general - everyone, from my family and friends, to my classmates, to the professors and administrators, and even to the IT department of my school, has been so supportive! I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't this. I love having an atmosphere where I feel like everyone genuinely wants everyone else to succeed.
- Cool experiences! This quarter I got the opportunity to put my arm in a live cow's rumen (via ruminal fistula), witness electroshock therapy for an elephant, learn how to work with and lunge horses, and hug a variety of animals that I'd never hugged before (llama, goat, sheep, cow, horse...)
- Learning. As nerdy as this sounds, I really enjoyed learning a lot of new things that I'd never known before. Although some of my favorite classes were definitely my hardest, I never found myself outright disliking the material (the tests, on the other hand...)
Not-so-awesome stuff about vet school:
- The workload. In undergrad, I had to work my tail off to make a B in biochemistry, the hardest class that I had to take. I only had that class for three hours a week, and I had three other classes on top of it. This first quarter was like having three biochemistry classes for twenty-three hours a week, and still having three other classes in addition. None of the material is hard, and I'm never confused, it's just A LOT of stuff to learn.
- The pressure. Having to learn so much to do well on a test is hard work. Having the thought of failing out in the back of your mind makes it even worse! If you get a D as a final grade in any of your classes, you have to take a remedial exam, and then you're on probation. If you get another D or if you ever get an F, you're dismissed from the program to start again the next year. No one in vet school is dumb - every vet student likely had a very good GPA in undergrad - so the fact that anyone has to remediate or start over at all should show how hard it is!
- Not getting to spend time with your significant other. There were days when I would see Derek in the morning before he dropped me off at school, come home and eat a fast dinner with him (sometimes not even this much), and then be off to the coffee shop to study all evening, only to see him again when it was time for bed. Forget about having time to do fun things together, like play video games or go on dates. But if there's a bright side to this, it's that it really makes you appreciate the time you DO get to spend together!
All-in-all, vet school is a love/hate relationship. Sometimes I love it, and sometimes I love to hate it :) The fact that I have so much support, though, has been the key to me surviving. Whether it's been Derek being understanding and being there for me when I'm feeling frustrated and overwhelmed, or my family and friends always having kind words of encouragement and support, or my classmates going through the same exact thing that I'm going through and being there to hate it all with me, their confidence and comfort has helped me get through my first quarter even when I didn't necessarily feel up to the job.
But enough about that, because it's winter break! I don't have school for a whole month! Woohoo! That doesn't necessarily mean I'm done studying, though. I've got a whole bunch of chapters that I want to read for physiology. I'm trying to get as much done as possible in order to start out strong next quarter!
This Saturday, Derek and I are flying down to Oklahoma to be with family and friends for a couple of weeks. I can't wait to spend Christmas at home with people who I haven't seen for months! Aside from people we want to see, Derek and I have a whole LIST of food we want to eat. Sadly, other than seafood and fancy grilled cheese, I have to say that Oregon doesn't have a whole lot going for it in the food department.
List of places Derek and I want to eat:
- Abuelo's (QUESO - sadly nonexistent in Oregon)
- Lanna Thai (khao pad, satay gai, and delicious spices)
- Coney I-lander (coneys!!)
- Sonic (although they exist here, they don't have cheddar bites - shameful)
- Chic-fil-a (morals be damned, I want a chicken sandwich)
- McAlister's (spicy southwest chicken griller, omg)
- Rib Crib (crib club, and any BBQ in general, hell yes)
- Quiktrip (2:00am donuts and chicken sandwich for the win)
Now that my mouth is watering, I bid you adieu. I'm meeting with two friends for a fun dinner and movie night, and I have yet to get ready! How exciting! I'm not going to promise when I'll update again (as we can see how well that's gone so far), but I do want to at least periodically update my blog. It is fun, but unfortunately it gets put on the back burner when I have so many other things to do!