20 April 2010

Oh, that silly volcano...

So as much as that silly volcano is worrying me, it is a blessing in disguise. Since the admissions officers at RVC are worried about me getting the hard copies of everything...they sent me emails of everything (read: awesomeness).

What I got this morning via email is my accommodations packet. And my AHEMS packet. And my preliminary school year schedule. Now I truly know the consequences of starting school so late. As a G&T student (aka 4 year student), I start this year on September 13. According to my first year calendar, my oral examinations won't end until the week commencing July 11. WOW. To me, that's late, since I'm used to mid-May as my last week of school. That will take a bit of getting used to.

But yay! I got these emails this morning and even though I didn't get to read them fully, I was literally on a cloud all day. I can't believe what a difference an EMAIL from RVC makes...

18 April 2010

An Inconvenient Plume

What a great way to describe the volcano erupting in Iceland this past week. I totally stole it from MSNBC...but it’s the most accurate title ever. As most people by now know, the volcano that is under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier (not a typo, that's the correct spelling) has been spewing ash in the skies over Western Europe, causing airport closings throughout the entire area. Also, scientists are unsure how long this eruption will last and if there will be more in the near future (NYtimes article). Bad news for people traveling to Europe, and even worse news for me.

Why? Because I’ve planned to fly from Logan Airport via Icelandair. And if this thing keeps spewing or starts to spew again around the time I need to be traveling, it could potentially be catastrophic to my travel plans (i.e. I would need to find alternate travel FAST). So now, I’m contemplating throwing away my plans for air travel and considering the only alternative I have: taking a cruise to the UK. Which wouldn’t be terrible, but it would be more expensive. And not as fast. It would take me approximately 6 days (some cruises are 16) to cross the northern Atlantic and I would be having anxiety attacks the whole time because I’d be hyperventilating about possibly being a passenger on the next Titanic-like disaster. Ridiculous yes, but it would still happen. But, if this volcano continues to be a nuisance...I’ll be on that ship regardless of my anxiety.

Currently, the only available cruise before I need to be in the UK is on August 8 on the Queen Mary 2 (arriving in Southampton August 14). I would need to find a hostel to live in for the month before my matriculation at RVC begins (September 11). So while it is feasible, it will be more expensive (like..$2000USD more). ALSO, RVC still says that international students won’t be able to apply for direct loans until end of July/early August. Again, bad thing. I need to be able to apply for my visa and have it in hand before I board the cruise, and in order for me to qualify as a visa holder, I need to have the loans secured and I need proof of loans before I can apply. AND: it would make it completely impossible to visit everyone before I leave, especially if I need to save as much money as possible to cover expenses. I really don’t want to have to do that, since I’m planning on spending a week with my grandparents in LI, a few days with my aunt in Brooklyn (probably will stretch to a week since I won’t want to leave), a weekend in Maryland OR Amagansett (depending on construction plans) with the cousins, and then a week with my sister in NOLA. So in order for me to do this, I would need to make my last day at Express the beginning of July (which would be AWESOME, since I’d only have 2 and a half months left to work, but not good for expenses).

SO. Do I err on the side of caution and book a cruise and hope that it's worth it (and I can get a room in a hostel for a month), or do I wait until July/August to book a flight and hope for the best?


11 April 2010

In 5 months...

I will be in the UK. It's kinda crazy to think about. Less than a year away. I can't believe how fast time has gone.

10 months ago...the VMCAS application opened. I was convinced that I would not get in to vet school. I was terrified. But I got it all done.

7 months ago...I submitted my application. I did it on Wednesday 9/9/2009 at 9pm. NOT on purpose, actually. I was in a bad place because I had just lost an uncle, and I needed to finish it before I forgot about it. So before I could forget about it, I triple checked it and said "F*ck it", sent it off and paid for it.

5 months ago...I was having a crappy week. I checked my email on my blackberry at 7:30am in the morning and almost cried when I read the invite from RVC to interview. I had to read it twice before I believed it. And then I read it again to make sure I wasn't dreaming. I remember getting out of bed and going into the dining room and telling my dad "Holy shit...I got an interview at Royal Veterinary College." I also ended up getting a promotion at work that day. I started loving Wednesdays.

3 months ago...I was freaking out about my interview. I was so worked up that after hand-steaming my interview outfit, I left it at work. Interview was on a Wednesday (seriously, good things happen on Wednesdays...) and immediately after, was told that they were offering places verbally to exceptional students and that I was one of those exceptional students. My sister said that she heard me squeal from the next room over. I deny that said squeal took place (but I was so blissfully ecstatic I could be wrong).

2 months ago...I got my email offer.

1 month ago...I got my packet in the mail.

2 weeks ago...I sent off my acceptance and payment information on a rainy Monday afternoon.

Now, all I can think about is that in 5 months exactly, I will be in the UK starting to realize a dream I've had since I was 9 years old. How many people actually get to SAY that?? I mean, yes. I will miss The States. I will miss my family deeply, and I'm terrified because I will miss very important things (like weddings, births, family events, etc). What if I don't fit in? What if I hate it? And, most importantly (and the scariest)...what if I can't do it? What if I get there, start the program and fail? I'm not equipped to handle failure. But what if I just can't do it?

I know this is normal to go through, but it's not like undergrad. I KNEW I could get into undergrad, and I knew that I would be able to get a degree. Piece of cake. But this is so completely different. This is what my life has been inching towards since I first opened that James Herriot book. What happens if I can't do it and then have no direction?

Sigh. I need to stop thinking so much. And ruminating over this. I got in. I'm going. I'm going to live it, breathe it and kick ass at doing it.


God, I'm a whiney bitch. But I have to get these insecurities out in order to get over them, yeah?

09 April 2010

Money's in!

RVC took the money out of my account this morning!


I got kinda worried because my bank told me the exchange rate would be 1.601, but it ended up only being 1.522! Yay for me! Less money for me to pay. And I didn't overdraft my account either. Phew. Wouldn't have wanted to pay those overdraft fees.

08 April 2010

Gotta love Wednesdays!

So today I got an email from the Head of Admissions about the scholarship that I was up for. Unfortunately, I didn’t get it. But I didn’t expect to get it anyway. Oh well. That just means I have to pay for my 1st year’s tuition. But BONUS. I got more info about the pre-sessional program that I have to attend (I believe the term was “compulsory”). It’s going to cost me 590£, which includes staying at the Lee Abbey London from September 11th through the 22nd, 3 meals a day, a 2 week travel card, and free(ish, I mean...I’m paying for it??) transport from Heathrow to Lee Abbey.

The first thing I thought was...I have to pay MORE to be in the program? But I guess it makes sense. The facilities won’t be available to freshers yet because they probably won’t be ready. And I get to be there by the 11th soo...not gonna complain. And 3 meals paid for with this? AND a travel card that gives me unlimited access to the London Underground AND buses? Do people get this on vacation for a $1000USD? I dunno. Maybe. But for 11 days? That breaks down to 90USD a day for room and board, a bus and underground pass, AND covers my transport via London Underground to Lee Abbey London. AND covers my transport to my actual place of living on the 22nd. Lee Abbey doesn’t look too bad, actually looks pretty nice.

More info to come when I get my Welcome packet in the summer. It’s getting so CLOSE.


I’M SO EXCITED. And I apparently I just can’t hide it. :D

06 April 2010


Yes...it is a song by the group Phoenix. But it's also the only term that can explain my recent obsession with making lists.

All I can do now that I have sent off my acceptance and deposit is start planning with what little information I have at my disposal. I shouldn't say little, I should say non-specific information. Most of what I can find is through the RVC website.

So now I've been making lists of this I need to do before I leave.

1. Organize my room: very important. I need to figure out which clothes I need to take with me and which ones to leave behind. And I have A LOT of clothes. Working for Express for the last 4-ish years has definitely improved my fashion sense, but it left me with a slight retail addiction in the form of buying clothes I don't wear (or wear once and forget about them until I rediscover them 3 years later). So my first priority before leaving will be purging my closet of clothes that aren't coming to the UK with me. Most of those rejects are likely to go to my sister.

2. I need a luggage set. No idea why, but I've been told this more than once. Apparently it's easier to spot which ones belong to you? But it does make sense; ideally I really just need a large suitcase and a carry-on suitcase (which would hold clothes for a week just in case the large suitcase gets lost in transit).

3. Flight plans: I need to figure out which airline is best. So far, after a few days of research on cheaptickets.com and priceline.com, Icelandair seems to be the most feasible and cheapest. Plus, if I get a 6 hour layover, I can leave the airport and explore for a few hours. Wouldn't that be fun??!

4. Apply for loans. Alas, even though the student loan bill has been signed, most of the stuff it changes doesn't go into effect until loans taken out after July 1st, 2014. Boo. But the loan process is still in limbo for RVC (could change soon, hopefully) so technically I can't apply yet.

5. Apply for a visa. Which can't happen until after I apply for my student loans. Big sigh. But I also need to call the office in Boston to figure out what I need to bring with me to fill out the visa and whether or not it's worth it for me to get biometrics done (fingerprint scans and something else, supposedly makes everything safer?). At least I know that I can review the visa application for a Tier 4 visa online and fill it out for the most part.

6. Find a UK bank. I'll be asking my uncle who has worked in the banking industry for years about the best option for an international student. So far, I like HSBC and NatWest. But his input will likely change that...maybe. What will also be involved is my bank that I have here. Apparently, according to the RVC website, it takes a few weeks to open up a bank account. Very different than what I'm used to (it took me 2 hours to set up my current bank account). I will need my visa/passport, money (obv.), a letter of an unconditional offer of school, my banking statements from the last 6 months, and a letter of reference from my current bank (optional, but I guess it's helpful). Big sigh.

...and that's about all I've got for now. I'm sure there is more that I missing, but as of right now, that's a sh*te load of stuff to get done.