12 December 2017

2017: a year in perspective

I wonder, sometimes, if I made a poor decision going into veterinary medicine. I'm 3 years out, have gone through some truly awful and harrowing experiences (two internships, shitty ass job), and feel like it never. Fucking. Ends.

Yes, I said fuck.

And yes. I have a dream job. It's everything I've ever wanted. Except that I never wanted to be a solo veterinarian working as part of a group practice. Essentially, that's what I am. Sometimes I wonder how I could be duped into taking a job without knowing the full extent of what I would have to go through. Truthfully, it could be much, much worse. I could be on call all the time (oh wait...). Or I could have no real time off to myself (oh wait...). I could feel burdened unnecessarily and needlessly by clients because I'm unable to set boundries that will protect my emotional and mental health (again, oh wait...). 

It's still a dream job. I work with (mostly) wonderful clients. I have a super supportive partner in crime, my technician K (I would have fallen apart long ago without her). I have an awesome apartment that I love (and can be quite cold because I still don't make enough money to pay for a $200 energy bill). I managed to meet a wonderful guy (albeit a bit complicated, but who isn't) and feel like I've actually found someone who will challenge and support me in ways I didn't know I needed. 

But yet, burnout has still reared it's ugly head.

I've been on call the majority of the last 6 and a half months. And when I say majority, I'm talking 90-95% of the time. So when I say I have no downtime, or minimal downtime, I'm not kidding. I try to step away, or at least compartmentalize, but it can be downright impossible. I have had difficult clients drive me through a wall and leave me with no emotion left to give them: sadness, anger or otherwise. I find myself getting angry at every little text from a client simply because I can't deal with their questions at 7am on a Saturday morning. My client care has wavered, and I feel like I'm not in control of my own life. Explaining all this to the people who run the practice now? I've tried. I explained, and waited for 3 months for something to come through. And it's still only maybe 1 weekend off a month, and I feel like a burden to my per diem counterpart. 

It's suffocating, it's frustrating, and it's overwhelming. And I feel like no one is listening.

This is veterinary medicine as I see it. Can I leave? Probably not. I owe so much money, and I can't even imagine how I can pay it back without incurring a massive tax on the discharged balance in 20 years.

Can I try and do something else within the profession that doesn't involve me being a primary care? Fucking right. That's the plan. If only I could figure out a way to actually get time to get it done and pay for it at the same time. 

I thought these days of extreme burnout were behind me, but I was wrong. I used to love veterinary medicine. Now I wish I had never read James Herriot.

09 March 2017

2017: the year I get to kick ass

I posted around this time last year, so it seems to be a trend for me to update once a year to whomever is still reading/interested.

I got no job offers in the last few months of my internship. I had a tearful goodbye with my intern-mate (who got the surgery residency at Missouri, and I'm so proud!), drove back across the country to my parents' house, and put my stuff in storage.

As an aside, I did not apply to surgery residencies for 2016. I realized that it was crazy talk for me to do another 3 years of training, and Missouri really revived my love of ambulatory practice. It reminded me of what got me excited about veterinary medicine in the first place. Thus, applying to general practice jobs.

Anyway. So I moved back in with my parents, desperately still applying and setting up interviews. I interviewed with a regulatory position with a race track organization, and ended up taking the position because I needed a job. For the past 8ish months, I've been working as a regulatory vet, not loving it and feeling bored out of my mind. It hasn't been the healthiest workplace for me, and it's caused me a lot of grief. Also, living within arm's length of NYC and driving on NYC parkways/thruways/streets is enough to drive the most sane person crazy.

After a really honest conversation just after the new year with a close friend from vet school, I decided to get off my butt and apply to jobs. I had an interview with a private practice in CT much closer to home, with much more green space and a lot cheaper to live (yes, pay cut in income but whatevs). They offered me the job, and I accepted. So at the end of the month, I'll be going on a cruise, moving to CT, and starting a dream job.

2016 sucked quite a lot, but 2017 is gonna be my bitch.

28 March 2016

30 years young

This past Friday, I officially left my 20s and entered a new decade. To celebrate, I spent an entire day interviewing with a practice that I'm hoping beyond hope will hire me. It was a very long day, not exactly strenuous, but definitely tiring. In the end, I drove home, parents made me a frozen pizza, I drank some hard cider, and fell asleep before I could make it out to celebrate. Lame way to celebrate turning 30.

I have one more interview tomorrow before I head back to Missouri to finish up my last internship year. Only 3 more months to go! Maybe after this, I'll actually stay in one spot for longer than one year.

16 July 2015

2015 Update: one year later

Yesterday marks the anniversary of when I should have graduated and walked across a stage. I've only done it once in my life (high school graduation). It wasn't a stage, but my family and friends were there to cheer me on. I'm not quite as sad as I thought I would be a year out from missing out on what would have been a wonderful and momentous occasion in my life. But then, I'm too busy to dwell on that shit.

Turns out, I didn't get a residency as I had hoped. February came and went, the match was published, and I frantically applied to the few remaining internships unsuccessfully. March went by, I played with cute and not so cute foals and experienced a very busy (cracked-out, as I like to say) end of the NY foaling season in April. By May, I was a bit distraught; I had applied to about 15 jobs or internships with either no response, a polite "thanks but no thanks", or "we're still reviewing applicants". I managed to send out one last application with the thought that if I didn't get this one, I'd move home and chill out for a month while applying for jobs.

Turns out, I got the internship. Which is where I'm posting from; I ended up at University of Missouri as a surgery and medicine intern in the equine hospital. It's hot, the move was a bitch, but I'm so much less stressed out than I have been in years.

Also, turns out I like being called Dr. Wahlberg.

And so, I continue in my quest to attain a surgery residency. I'll let you know how it pans out.

PS: congratulations RVC class of 2015!! And to the ones who missed it by just that much? Well, a year out and I only noticed what day it was because of the Facebook posts.

13 January 2015

Long time, no post.

So after many months of debating whether I should post an update, I decided: hey, why not. I'm sitting doing nothing on overnights and I've got time to kill before rounds.

September came and went, and I finally achieved a childhood dream: I earned my degree in veterinary medicine. Yes, it wasn't the traditional way and it caused me a lot of grief and self-doubt, but in the end I believe that it made me a stronger individual. I'm better at rolling with the punches and at receiving criticism.

I'm now over 6 months into my internship and I'm still mostly enjoying myself. Winter in upstate NY is rough (it's currently 7 degrees F) but so far hasn't been too bad. Foaling season has started off with a bang and a fizzle, but that's the way life goes.

I applied for equine surgery residencies, and I'll find out about those at the beginning of February. Fingers crossed I get something. I really like UC Davis and enjoyed my visit there, so here's hoping they liked me too!

Anyway, that's my life right now. Can't say that I have much to complain about, and it could be a lot worse.

14 August 2014


So I didn't quite survive finals round 1. I managed to do really well on everything except the OSCE portion. I missed out by one station and unfortunately was not able to graduate in July with the rest of my class. 

I can't really describe the ups and downs that come with a failure like this. I've never really failed at anything in my life, and to do it at something this important and this big was a huge blow, not only to my ego, but to my confidence as well. Which, at the start of an internship, is a horrible combination. 

I'm not going to lie, it's been a tough month since results came out. I'm still wobbling a little to find my center again. But if there is anything good about this, it is the support that I received after realizing that I wouldn't get my degree (yet!!) or graduate in July. My friends from school and outside of school were (and still are) super supportive; I can never say enough how lucky I am to have these people in my life. Not only that, I could not have asked for more support or understanding from my employers. Getting the news was tough, but realizing that it could lose me my position as an intern was heartbreaking. But my employers couldn't have cared less. Of course, they're concerned because I have to take so much time off to fly back and prepare/take the exam again. But their value and opinion of me did not change, which was (to be completely truthful) more than I expected. 

So, in the end, I'm still an intern, I'm still doing what I love (even more now than ever, despite sometimes having feelings otherwise), and I'm going to go back in September, kick this exam's ass, and say goodbye to RVC for good. I've had such a great time at the school, but this whole business has left a bitter taste in my mouth. I'm sure it will mellow as the years go by, but right now it's still too fresh. 

Thanks for reading. I hope that, if you come across this blog because you're thinking of going to the RVC, you seriously consider it. Great school, great professors (mostly), and they're only improving the way they do things. My experience is mine alone, and hopefully yours will be better. 

30 June 2014

The Big Move

Well, I survived the weekend of crazy-why did I think this was possible?

Friday I flew into Boston and it was  MAD HOUSE. So many people. Too many people, really. Saturday, my dad and I packed up a u-haul truck. I had a pedicure, and I almost fell asleep in the chair I was so tired. Had dinner with parents, then went down to South County to attend a friend's bachelorette party (many shenanigans went down; I was only there for a little while but shenanigans were had). This morning, parents and I drove up with all the stuff and 2 cars with 3 dogs to Saratoga. It only took about 4 hours to get everything out of the truck and up a floor (THANK GOD FOR ELEVATORS). I'm about 1/3 of the way unpacked at this point in the night and I'm too tired to go on. Tomorrow: first day at work.

What. Was. I. Thinking.

I mean, I did it. Mostly. I've got the big stuff unpacked. I do need to do a giant shop for food and some other essentials (like TOILET PAPER. Honestly, who forgets to buy toilet paper).

But seriously. I moved from the UK to my parents house and to Saratoga all in one weekend. I don't even have time to be jet-lagged (I am SO lagging, it's awful).

Advice: if you can get away with it, try not to do what I did. I just hope my brain has recovered enough from exams that I can be a functional human being this week.