27 December 2012

A very Olympia Christmas

It's been quiet on the blogging front. I won't apologize, because I've just had the best time for the past 2 weeks.

Olympia can be summed up in one word: ah-may-zing.

Where else would I have had the chance to be behind the scenes at an international horse show that was complete with FEI dressage, jumping, dancing Barcelona Police horses...I mean, I could go on forever.

I got to work with amazing vets and see things that I would never see on regular EMS placement (including a very interesting case of concussion). After this exam, it was a treat to realize that: yes, I have a pretty good idea of what I'm talking about. One of the vets that worked more closely with me and the other student there told me that I'm definitely going far in life, and that made my eyes a bit misty. For someone who only worked with me for a week, that was a very wonderful compliment that I took to heart. I really do hope I go far in life. I really loved working with the sport horses and everyone was so wonderful and nice (Laura Kraut sat next to me during a class, and I told her that it was just so nice to listen to a familiar accent which led to a commiseration about the crappy weather London was showing for the event; such a nice woman!!).

Also, being behind the scenes meant that I could peek at all the cool jumps that they had for World Cup and Grand Prix events. Seriously, coolest thing to be a part of ever. 

As for Christmas, I hope everyone got great things from Santa (and family)! My parents arrived Sunday, so I've been spending the week with them. Today, we did an outing in London that involved the Tower of London and the London Eye. It was pouring rain for most of the morning, but by 3pm it was clearing and when we walked onto the car for the Eye, the sun was setting and we got some beautiful views of the city. 

 It's been great spending time with my parents and sister for the past few days, and I'll be very sad when my parents head out on Saturday. But then again, I'll be home in March...so I shouldn't be too upset.

And now, I'm going to cuddle with my dog-sitting charge Hoss, and finish my whisky night cap. Bring on the New Year.

11 December 2012

End of Exams and a messy Christmas Ball.

Let's lay the scene:

2 very tough final exams back to back
Lots of very relieved 4th years (at least until Friday)
A beautiful venue
Unlimited wine and beer
3 course meal (that I didn't really eat much of)

Needless to say we had a good time celebrating the end of exams. I'm very glad this round of exams are over. Friday brings the "pass/fail" results, and I'm debating waiting to look at them until the official results come out next week (or maybe even until my parents get here the 23rd). 

But for now, I'm just going to sit back, relax, enjoy having a dog in the house for a little while (dog-sitting for my friend L), and basically just not worrying about studying. 

05 December 2012

Are we there yet?

Monday was interesting. We had the second part of the written exam, and I definitely nailed one question. But the second? Well...suffice it to say that I didn't feel that enough info was given and I hope I wrote down enough to pass it.

But hey. 50% is passing. And C = DVM (or BVetMed in my case).


Good news though; a spot for a volunteer opened up for Olympia International Horse Show later this month, since the person who was supposed to go could no longer commit to it (she's bummed, I talked to her earlier). I emailed pretty much immediately and got the spot! So I'll be spending a week volunteering in Kensington and hanging out with some really amazing people. I'm excited! But I'll miss spending that Sunday (the 23rd) with my parents, which isn't the best, but at least it's only one day.

Also, I'll be getting a foster kitty this week!! I was originally meant to get one tonight, but there was a big miscommunication about it all and I'll be going Friday to pick one up. Can't wait. I miss having a cat curl up with me at night.

And now, back to studying.

29 November 2012

Don't Panic.

This has been my daily mantra for the past few days leading up to 4th year exams, which start tomorrow. I'm about as prepared as I can get, although the past few days I haven't really been going too overboard with studying.

The set up is a bit different this year; we have an exam tomorrow that includes four essays: one ethics, one statistics type, and two clinical scenarios. For the clinical scenarios, we just have to write down a prioritized problem list, a differential diagnoses list, and tests we'd like to perform and why. Tomorrow afternoon they'll release more info and then Monday we finish the clinical scenarios. Then we have another week after that until the MCQs and EMQs.

And to be honest, I haven't actually had a proper panic attack about this exam. I feel almost too relaxed going into it, but I really don't know what else I can do to prepare. I've studied, I've reviewed old case studies and clinical scenarios...I feel like I've missed something except I can't be asked to care.

Oh well. I guess it's better than going into full panic mode like I've done for the past 2 years.

22 November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!

This is a little late, but I just got back from dinner at a friend's house. It was pretty much amazing. My pumpkin pie came out lovely, and the bacon armor on the turkey was delicious.

Here's a picture of half of the spread; the other half was blocked by the poinsettia plant.

Of course we made way too much food for seven people, but what's Thanksgiving without leftovers??

Hope everyone enjoyed their day (whether you celebrate or not)!

One more week until exams. Not excited to start, but excited to be over with 4th year exams. December 10th can't come fast enough.

16 November 2012

Last day!!

Today was officially (OFFICIALLY) the last day of lectures for BVetMed '14.

You heard me. The LAST DAY. Of FORMAL LECTURES. 



Caps lock is a bit annoying, and I've been at the Buttery (the Hawkshead bar) for a few hours, so pardon my typing. 

Seriously, though. BVetMed4 had the theme of Noah's Ark for last day of classes, and it worked out WONDERFULLY. I dressed up as a sloth with my friend A., and it was amazing. Although the face makeup was a little itchy so I had to remove it right after all the pictures were taken. Here's a sample of our class picture:

Needless to say, we had a great last day of lectures. I'm so proud of class of 2014, for taking the theme seriously and for being so badass at doing it!

And now, onto the serious bit of revision until exams in 2 weeks. Bring it on!!

10 November 2012


So for those of you living under rocks, President Obama was elected for a second term this past Tuesday. I know a lot of people are unhappy about it, and yes, you have the right to complain (only if you voted), but he is our President and if you're a citizen of the US, you better respect that or GTFO.

Now that my mini soapbox rant is over...

Next week is my last week of proper lectures EVAR.

Yes, I spelled it wrong.

Seriously, though. Last week of classes. Forever. Except for pre-taught tracking. And final year seminars.

4th year exams are in just under 3 weeks, and I've got and formative OPSVE to 'prepare' for. But seriously, I'm not going to do much preparation for it. It's formative, it doesn't count, it's meant to be a learning experience and I'm going to treat it as such. If I don't know how to do something, well...color me surprised. It's more to prepare us for the final year exams than anything, and unfortunately this is the only time in the year that we have in which to do it.

I should probably get back to studying, since this is my procrastination tool (and I've got nothing really left to talk about). Until next time.

30 October 2012

Oh Sandy...

Hurricane Sandy is currently ravaging the New York and New England region. My home state of RI isn't faring too terribly, but some of my favorite beaches are probably eroded to bits. Rumor has it the Narragansett seawall is falling apart under the tidal surge, but I'm not sure if that's true. My cousin at Johnson and Wales in Providence got evacuated yesterday afternoon. It's really crazy.

Long Island, where most of my family live, is also getting hit pretty hard. Another cousin got evacuated from her dorm on LI, but she's safely at home. I keep looking at pictures of places around LI and RI and it just breaks my heart. So far no lives lost in Rhode Island, and I hope it stays that way.

On a school note, week 3 of PMVPH is killing me. I'm bored out of my mind because it just doesn't interest me one bit. But at least I'm getting a lot of revision done on the side!

12 October 2012

Fresher's Flu

As a reminder to all: you can definitely get Fresher's flu without actually being a fresher. I am living proof of that.

Seriously. I went to one Fresher's Week event, ended up staying out way past my normal bed time and voila! Fresher's flu. It's really only coughing and sniffly nose at this point, but it's driving me crazy. I've got a self-imposed restriction to my house/bed this weekend in hopes that it helps me get better faster. Although I am volunteering at the Dog Olympics (it's a fundraiser for one of the college's charities) on Sunday, but only for a few hours.

On a different note, we had our last Dermatology lectures today. Really, they were endocrine lectures about hyperadrenocorticism in dogs/cats and PPID (pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction) in horses. Interesting, especially since I want to do my final research project on PPID in horses.

Also, we FINALLY got our sub-groups for our rotation groups, and I really do have a fabulous set of people in my group. Thank goodness for some semblance of good luck or whatever it is. Makes me more excited for rotations to finally start!

07 October 2012

Long time no post.

I have a feeling that the closer I get to clinical rotations, the harder it will be to post here. So bear with me.

Right now, school feels like a long slow march to 4th year exams. We've been doing dermatology for the past two weeks, and I've come to the conclusion that it's probably the only thing that would tear mea way from equine/large animal medicine. But then I'd probably be stuck inside all day and, well, I like being outside.

This week we get our final sub-groups for our rotation groups, which means I'll be able to figure out when I can go back up to Yorkshire/Lancashire for another week or more, and start planning out when and where I want to go to placement for, well, the next year and a half. Because really, when you think about it, I only really have a year and a half left of teaching/rotations before I have to start studying for final year exams. And that's a bit scary.

On a less traumatizing note, my sister has found a place! She and her boyfriend are moving into a flat close to her school in London, which means I have to find a bag large enough to fit a change of clothes, my iPad and my Macbook. It's a relief that she's here, because now I can have downtime without having the constant reminder of vet school all the time. As much as I love all my friends here, it's nice to get away from it for a little while. Even if I am going to bring all my work with me and probably study at her place. Plus, sister time!

16 September 2012

Fun in the North.

I got back yesterday from my placement in Lancashire and I have to say that I loved it up there. The practice I went to was absolutely wonderful; I got to do a lot while I was there, and I definitely feel more confident about my developing skills. They were super encouraging, and I really got on well with two of the vets (one of which is leaving, unfortunately). On the weekend, I took out the trusty TARDIS to check out the countryside. I lucked out and it was beautiful.

Also, the practice wasn't too far from the Yorkshire Dales, so I took a drive to Thirsk to check out the World Of James Herriot museum.

First of all, I was completely star struck.

I mean, seriously. I still remember the day my mother gave me "All Creatures Great and Small." We were living in Wisconsin then, and I was home from school (either because it was too damn cold to go or because I was sick, I can't remember which one it was). I was bored out of my mind and probably being annoying, so, in exasperation, my mother handed me the book to keep me quiet. Well, it worked. I didn't stop reading it until she took it out of my hands at dinner, and again when I went to bed. I fell in love with it. I mean, who hasn't? He was a wonderful storyteller. 

And so began my fascination with veterinary medicine. Walking into his old practice in Thirsk was like walking into the books. I'll admit, I got a little verklempt. After Alf Wight died in 1995, they refurnished the practice to look like it did back in the 1940s. It was so amazing. The rest of the place is basically a museum of the history of veterinary medicine. They have a bunch of old instruments in there, and also there's a section for kids (and vet students). One of the exhibits was mishandled a bit by an over-enthusiastic "trainee vet" and was out of commission (I got a kick out of that). 

So all in all, I had a fabulous time on my last summer placement. I liked it so much I'm going back in February for lambing/calving season, and I've been promised that I'll be assisting with Caesarian sections and all the fun stuff. Can't wait!

And tomorrow, 4th year begins. I'm a bit nervous, but I'm definitely ready. Only 2 more years left!

02 September 2012

2 weeks left.

I'm heading up to Lancashire soon to start my final two weeks of EMS for 3rd year. I'm kind of excited, because this placement is 50% equine, 50% farm animal work. I'll get more experience working with the two fields I'm most interested in!

Also, lectures start back up two weeks from tomorrow. Didn't really give myself that much of a breather, did I?

Also also, my sister moves to the UK in (less than) two weeks.

So...lots of big things happening in two weeks. I'm getting nervous for 4th year, but looking forward to finishing the lecture portion of my schooling and going on to the rotation portion. So close!

23 August 2012

Mixed animals.

Only one more day left of my mixed animal placement, and I have to say that I do like it. The variety keeps you on your toes (especially the occasional ferret that reminds you that yes, they bite, and yes, it hurts when they do). I've not seen too much large animal work here, but I have been to a TB test and that was kind of fun. The farm we went to had a bunch of Charolais cross calves that were wild (and when I say wild, I mean, OUT OF CONTROL). Two of them managed to rush the crush (unintentional rhyming) and move it forward about a foot. That was exciting. Most of them decided they wanted out from any point except the front gate and got their heads stuck a few times in the bars. Silly things.

Apart from that, they've actually allowed me to do things! This is the first time I've had truly hands on experience in surgery, even if it was only two cat castrations. I still feel a bit out of my depth with the small animal side of things. There are times where I revert back to my vet tech days, when I was so timid and lacked confidence in myself when approaching problems...and also did all the tech duties of drawing up vaccines and holding animals. It's almost like my brain hasn't realized that I'm in vet school, and I know a lot more than I did 3 years ago, which should translate into more confidence about my abilities.

Anyway, this weekend I'm taking my friend J to Isle of Wight for her birthday, because no one should be alone on their birthday. I've got candles and some animal shaped balloons from Sainsbury's to celebrate. Hopefully it doesn't rain the whole weekend!

11 August 2012

Still on an Olympic high.

I meant to post this sooner, but alas. Placement got in the way. 
On Thursday, I got to go see history being made at the Dressage Gran Prix freestyle event at the Olympics. It was a once in a lifetime event, and I had THE BEST time. I went with my friend A, who was the one who managed to get the tickets for the event. And although the USA rider Steffen Peters didn't manage to get a medal, it was still amazing to watch the top riders of the world compete for the gold. I feel very blessed that I was able to go. 

Anyway, my second placement of the summer is now over. I had a wonderful time, although I didn't really get to do much. I'm finding that is a trend with my placements thus far. I wasn't entirely bored out of my mind, but when I'm seeing facebook statuses of "I just performed a castration!" or "I just watched a _____ surgery!", I kind of want to pull my hair out. 

Oh well. I still have two years left of school (YIKES) in which to do all these things. I suppose I'm not in a rush. 

I've got two more placements left this summer; one mixed animal practice and one farm animal practice. We'll see how things go. 

28 July 2012

Happy Olympics!

Got back into the country yesterday, with quite possibly the most uneventful flight I've ever had. Boarded in Boston on time, landed early, and I even got to sleep for about 2 hours, which is the most I've ever slept on a plane.

The most surprising part of the journey: there were NO LINES at UK border control. After all of the build-up of "Heathrow won't be able to handle the number of people coming in to London for the 2012 Olympics", it took me 30 seconds to get through the border. And as soon as I got to the luggage carousel, my bags were right there. My flight was due to land at 9:30am, and I walked into the arrivals area at 9:35am.

Anyway. It was a very nice surprise after worrying about it for the past few days. Had a really nice night watching the opening ceremonies with J, even though I fell asleep 3 times and missed the US athletes walking into the stadium.

Monday starts my second equine placement. Meanwhile, I'm gonna relax and watch some sports.

25 July 2012

Bored. Out. Of. My. Mind.

After the past two whirlwind weeks, I now have time to relax and do nothing.

And I'm absolutely bored.

I realize now that it's hard for me to relax entirely because I'm so used to being on the go or always having something to do. It's not a bad thing. I like being busy. But being so entirely bored as I've been for the past few days, I understand now that the career of veterinarian is a perfect fit for me (as if I needed any more proof). 

This past weekend I had the luck of being with my college girlfriends for almost 3 whole days. It's been a long time since the four of us have been in the same place for that long. C's wedding was beautiful, went off without a hitch, and I had a fabulous time hanging out with my girls and their husbands/fiances. (Before you ask, yes...I'm the only single one of my close friends left). 

My bored state will be brief, though: I go back to the UK on Thursday and I start my next clinical placement next Monday. I'm a little nervous, but it will hopefully be as good as my clinical placement here in RI. 

Oh yeah...and I'm going to the Olympics. BOO YAH.

13 July 2012

Time flies when you're having fun.

My first week of summer EMS has flown by. It's been really great working in my home state, and seeing people that I know. Doing this externship has really solidified (again) in my mind that equine medicine is the path for me. So far this week, I've seen a head trauma on a miniature pony, a chronic laminitic horse, gotten to do vaccines, performed some radiographs...the list goes on and on.

Needless to say, I'm having a great time.

05 July 2012

Rotation groups are in!

BVetMed 3 just got our individual rotation schedules, and I got all the tracking rotation blocks I wanted!! I'll be doing Equine Orthopedics, Bell Equine (which is a really nice referral center), and Equine Diagnostic Imaging.

Suffice it to say, I'm a VERY happy camper right now! On top of that, I also got the rotation group I wanted, which means I'll be able to go to my good friend K's wedding next May. The only snag is that it's a research block, and I was hoping for an EMS block so that I could get a bunch of overseas EMS done in one go without having to fly back to the states for more. Fingers crossed that it's ok for me to do that.

Yay!! So happy right now.

04 July 2012

Happy 4th!

Well, it's my second year celebrating America's independence in the country it gained independence from. Except this year, I'm watching my favorite musical, '1776', in celebration. I used to watch it every year on television, since it is all about how Congress came to declare independence from Great Britain. Plus, John Adams is my favorite president, and he's a large part of the movie. Plus plus, some parts are very funny.

Anyway, instead of finishing exams this year, we have the day off from school (the day is listed as "directed study", which we all know to be "you're supposed to do something but really, you don't have to"). I've got a barbecue at a friend's house around the corner, where we'll be drinking to America's independence.

Also, in two days, 3rd year lectures end and I fly home. So close!

27 June 2012

Away we go.

My sister's visit with me has come to a close. In a few minutes, I'll be driving her to the airport for her flight back to the US.

But the best news happened yesterday. She applied for a masters program in London and got in!! So she'll be here for 2 years and be graduating the same year I do. It'll be nice to have her around, for a little bit of home during what I believe to be the most harrowing 2 years of vet school: rotations.

I fly home next week to do a 2 week placement in RI, and then my good friend C's wedding, and then I get a few days to relax before I come back to reality the UK.

As an aside: we finished our Locomotor module last week, and I seriously forgot how much I loved all that stuff. It really solidified in my brain that I definitely want to do equine sports med/orthopedics. I mean, I'll still do some farm animal placements, but I decided to track Equine for rotations with the mindset that I can totally do it.

These next 2 years will be amazing!

06 June 2012

Cornwall Road Trip!

In my last post, I said that my sister and I were going on a road trip through the West Country. Well, holy crap. It was beautiful. Seriously, seriously beautiful. Cornwall is like no other place on Earth.

Anyway, we started the trip early Friday morning in order to try and avoid the crazy long weekend traffic. About an hour into the drive, Corinne said "Hey, where's Stonehenge? We're driving by it, right?"

And thus, the random "let's go here!" planning started.

We kind of made the decision to not plan too far ahead so that we could go where we wanted on a whim and not have any time constraints. Gotta say, best plan of the trip. There was no rush to get anywhere, the stress was minimal, and we could just enjoy driving through the country with all it's majestic views.

So we went to Stonehenge, which was pretty damn cool.

And then, we stopped at a little town called Ilminster for lunch (I think it was somewhere in Somerset), which was really nice. From there, we pretty much drove straight through with minimal traffic.

I should say now that the whole drive was drizzly and cloudy. But when we hit Penzance, the sun started to peek out from behind the clouds. It was absolutely bloody gorgeous. We ended up dropping our stuff off at the hostel, freshening up, and heading straight back out to get dinner and see the town. We stopped in Land's End and ended up in a place called Sennen for dinner. Sennen is this little town on a cove.

The next day, we decided to do a little King Arthur stuff, since Cornwall is where the legend lived. So we went to the Arthurian Center and saw the site of his last battle (supposed) and King Arthur's rock, where he was supposed to have died. It was a corny little place, but worth it just to get a picture of the rock for my mother (she is an avid/rabid King Arthur legend fan). Then, we went up to Tintagel to see the castle where he was born, and Merlin's cave. Here's the cove that the castle was built next to.

I went into Merlin's cave as far as I could, which was pretty far since the tide was out. It was really cool.

We ended up opting not to go all the way up to Tintagel Castle, since it was pricey to get in and we didn't feel like walking up a 80 degree angle to get up there (I swear, it was the steepest damn flight of stairs I've ever seen). So we walked back up to the town, got lunch, and then started our drive to Bristol.

We actually didn't do much in Bristol, but the hotel we stayed at was phenomenal. Great room, huge bath tub, and the food was great AND there was live music that night. It was an awesome find. Seriously, if you ever need to stay in Bristol and don't want to stay in the city, go to Almondsbury and find The Swan Hotel. They were great.

The next day (Sunday), we decided to skip Oxford and come back, since there really wasn't much to do nearby Oxford and the weather was complete crap. And, Corinne's boyfriend and my good friend Stuart had just arrived (he's originally from here) and we wanted to spend some time with him.

Anyway, that was our trip. Fabulousness. We had so much fun.

And now, back to reality. We started our locomotor unit last week, so basically I'm going to have a much easier time paying attention in class since I really like the stuff we're going to be learning.

30 May 2012

Sister time!

My big sister arrives in London tomorrow! I'm so excited that I made a mini-poster for her.

Well, it was part excitement and part procrastination that led to the making of said mini-poster. But it was all love!

Anyway, she's here for a month (which should prove to be interesting) and we plan to do quite a bit of traveling while she's here. Since this weekend is Jubilee weekend, and also a 4 day weekend (YES), we're escaping the city to do a bit of a driving tour from Cornwall to Bristol and then up to Oxford, and then back home to try and wander into the city to watch some of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

For people who are asking "What the F is she talking about with this Jubilee stuff?"; Queen Elizabeth has been on the throne officially for 60 years, and is only the second monarch to do so in the history of British monarchy. It's a huge deal, and the entire country has gone crazy over it (except for the smart people fleeing the country for the long weekend to avoid the hassle of it all).

Anyway, it should prove to be a very good weekend. The faster I fall asleep tonight, the faster tomorrow comes and the faster I see my sister! Gah, so excited. I'm never going to be able to fall asleep.

25 May 2012

Here comes the sun!

It has been super beautiful this week, which is a welcome change to the dreariness we had for about a month and a half. The majority of the 3rd (4th?) year class is sunburnt, since everyone has been laying out on the lawn at campus every time we get a break more than 5 minutes long. I, on the other hand, have been actively avoiding staying in the sun for too long, since I am a ginger and the sun is basically poison to me.

But yay for warm beautiful weather! It's pretty atypical here in the UK to get such a great stretch of nice weather, so we're all trying to enjoy it while it's around.

And now that I've said that, it's probably going to rain for the next 6 weeks.

17 May 2012


Phew. What a relief.

3rd year is over and I have officially passed the exams, as well as the AHEMS research paper. From what I've heard, there were much fewer fails than there were last year for the 3rd years, which is fabulous.

So now, I'm officially 4th year (I think? I'm not really sure how it all works). But now, I can rest easy, prepare for summer EMS (8 weeks!), and not have to worry about another exam until December.

Well, I'll probably start worrying about it around October.

Yay! Celebration time.

11 May 2012

Florida = Paradise.

I've been in Florida visiting my best friend S, her husband C and their son little C.


First: I get to practice playing with a baby without actually having one. Second: I get to see my best friends. Third: I get to be in 80 degree weather and go to the beach and see dolphins.

I do know one thing for sure after this trip: I'm glad that I am not married and have no chance of getting pregnant during vet school. I've been listening to lectures that I'm missing and for one whole lecture I had little C on my knee (he's 4 months old), and it was very hard to focus on the lecture and take notes and keep little C happy at the same time. I can't imagine if I had to do it 24/7. So while I'm definitely ready to be a mom, I'm not ready to be a mom and juggle baby and vet school at the same time. Kudos to the brave women who do: I would probably go crazy if I was in your shoes.

My flight back to reality leaves on Sunday, but I don't think I'll be ready to go. It's been so wonderful to have a mini-holiday away from school and meet my nephew. Also, going back means that I have to face exam results, and I'm not sure I'm fully prepared for them.

04 May 2012

It's like...a weight...has been lifted...

3rd year exams are DONE.

I'm not very confident about my performance, but at least I don't really need to worry about it until grades come back in 2 weeks.

And now, time to relax, celebrate being done with 2/3 of 3rd year (weird, right?), and get ready for Florida!

30 April 2012

Crunch time.

Exams are Thursday/Friday of this week.

Sunday I leave for Florida to meet my nephew.

I can totally do this.

(This post is just to try and prove to myself that I can get through the next 5 days in one piece).

25 April 2012

I don't wanna!!

Imagine a 4 year old at Toys R' Us whose parents refuse to get her the shiny pony toy that just came out. Tantrum? Oh, you betcha.

And then imagine me sitting at my desk hitting my head repeatedly against the surface.

What do they have in common? The fact that I feel like acting like a four year old and stamp my feet around while saying "BUT MOMMA I DON'T WANNA STUDY ANY MORE."

Because I really really REALLY don't feel like doing any more studying/revising/panicking over this exam any more.

And this is where I will end my exam stress-induced mini-rant, because...I have to get back to studying.

21 April 2012

Licensed Driver.

I had my UK drivers test on Tuesday and I'm happy to say that I passed with only 4 faults. All that worrying for naught. (Plus, I spent a lot of money on lessons...so if I didn't pass, I was going to be very upset with myself.)

Monday, as an incentive to passing, I bought myself a cute little 2001 Polo. Blue, 3-door, Manual, good gas mileage and has a really fun blue and grey interior. Here she is:

 I have named her TARDIS...because she's blue and is bigger on the inside. She is thus proof that I am probably the biggest geek for Doctor Who ever.

Anyway, revision continues. I'm on Principles of Science, which is so far kicking my butt, but I am kicking back. Less than 2 weeks until the first exam. Ugh.

10 April 2012

Yumchaa study time.

My friend D. and I got back to our old study habits today; we met at Yumchaa in Camden early early (I got there at just before 10, she got there at 9:30am) and stayed until dinner time.

It was really great to just sit in the café and study. Surprisingly, I work really well in that kind of atmosphere and I'm not really sure why. Maybe it's because my house was always very loud growing up between my mother shouting for my sister and I to do housework/come to dinner/get the dogs/stop fighting/etc and the barking dogs... But I do seem to thrive in an environment where there is white noise. And since Yumchaa has wonderfully large tables for us to sit at, D. and I got into the habit last year of going on weekends to study, just to go somewhere different.

I do have to say, after a while of sitting in college for class and then studying...you go a little stir crazy. Changing scenery really helps me keep focused on revision. I can get some stuff done at home, but then I get distracted and clean/cook. I can get some stuff done at school, but then I get sick of looking at the same room. So going to a café, where people are coming and going, there's music in the background and a nice steady level of quiet(ish) conversation...it's the perfect study environment for me. Plus, it gets me out of the house (always a bonus during revision time). If someone gets too loud, pop in the headphones and listen to some music. Fleet Foxes was my mainstay last year; this year, it's the Doctor Who and Sherlock soundtracks (yep, I'm a sucker for tall and lanky Brits). And generally, natural study breaks occur and I get to catch up on things with D. And then she forces me back to work (since I'm so easily distracted). It's just something that works. And it made me a very happy camper to be back in London for the whole day (even picked up some gluten free essentials at Whole Foods!!).

23 days until exam time. Not that I'm freaking out or anything.

08 April 2012

Revision revision revision!

My 2 week placement with the small animal vets finished up yesterday. It was pretty damn awesome to be back in a practice doing things, but it was nice to realize once again that small animal is definitely not my thing. I love my dogs and cats, but working in a small animal practice would not be a good fit for me. I like the outdoors. And the smell of barns and horses. Yep, it's definitely equine/large animal for me.

This last week was pretty amazing, though. I got to scrub in on a tendon reconstruction surgery, which was interesting to watch. The dog had come in with a wound on its left carpus that wouldn't stop bleeding (arterial bleed!) and she refused to put any weight on it. I ended up holding the left leg during the surgery, so I got to see it up close and personal. I even managed to guess the correct suture material for everything!  I also participated in a euthanasia on a heron, which was interesting but sad. Someone had found it on the side of the road just sitting there, and had brought it to the practice to be humanely euthanized (which was the right choice). I've never seen a heron up close, but man they are gorgeous creatures. Unfortunately, this one was really sick and did need to be euthanized.

And now, the next 4 weeks will be devoted solely to revision. Exams are the first week in May, and the week after I go to Florida to finally meet my nephew! That is what is keeping me going.

01 April 2012

EMS: first week conclusions

1. I know absolutely nothing off the top of my head. My feeble attempts to sound somewhat competent were pretty pathetic.
2. I managed to confuse radiography principles with ultrasound principles (aka black on ultrasound is FLUID, not AIR. Duh.)
3. I need actually ask to do things. I mean, I knew that. I realized that I would have to be a little pushy in order to get to do some procedures, but I'm just not very good at it.
4. Getting to do a ligation during a castration procedure made me feel like a REAL VET. REALLY. And I'm not kidding. I actually did something to the insides of a live animal and it LIVED. Miraculous.
5. Studying after 10 hours of standing on my feet is really hard. I leave the house at 8am and get back around 7:30-8pm. That is a really looooooooooooooong day. And then to come home and make dinner and then sit down to study...yeah, it doesn't really work so well.
6. Downtime at the vet practice means study time for me. I usually wander around first to ask if they need help, or if any in-patients need walking, but generally they push me towards the break room and practically tell me to study. They're good people.
6. There is no way that I could be anything but a veterinarian.

And that, my friends...is my EMS experience thus far.

PS: I may or may not be doing a castration solo this week. (fingers crossed)

26 March 2012

First Day of EMS

It was pretty great. The morning commute was awkward (mostly because I got turned around and got off the bus for apparently no reason, making myself late). While I don't love small animal work, I'm glad I did something familiar for my first EMS. Good way to get my feet wet. Saw a bunch of consults, watched a rabbit dental, and had a few spare moments to study in between. Welwyn, where the practice is, is really cool, too. It's a tiny little town that's been around for a looooong time and there are some pretty cool old buildings.

Also, birthday was pretty good. Made myself and roommate A. a huge feast of enchiladas, and she made a flourless chocolate cake. It was amazing. Granted, I studied most of the day...but that's what happens when you decide to go to vet school.

22 March 2012

Goin' to Church.

David Church, that is.

We had a bunch of clinical scenarios given to us today by Church to work on in small groups. Honestly, they weren't easy. I did them with two friends instead at home (mostly because I'm poor and didn't want to stay and pay for lunch).

At the end of the day (3pm), we all got together as a class and Church took us through each of the scenarios.

First of all, he is kind of a difficult lecturer. Difficult in the sense that he will hardly ever give you the answer that he's looking for. This is good, though, because it prompts us to think and actually speak up when we have an idea. Learning process and all that, ya know?

Second of all, nothing is ever as straightforward as it seems. The first clinical scenario was about a 6 month old Mastiff, and it was all over the place. But somehow, between him and all 200+ of us, we got down to the cause of it all.

Of course, once we got there, I spoke up and wondered why the original problem occurred in the first place. He was hysterical; apparently for this first scenario we (as a class) followed the exact progression of signs/things that he did in the slides, and my question couldn't have been better if it was rehearsed (cue excessive blushing, because he asked me my name in front of the class and I meekly told him).

Oh, have I said that he was one of the interviewers for my RVC interview?

Anyway, for lack of a better point of this post: I really wish more lecturers were like this. I like being challenged almost to the point of frustration, because it pushes me to think past the edges of the box. While a lot of veterinary practice is about pattern recognizing, we have been told over and over that pattern recognizing is NOT a good thing to do, and to not get caught up in fitting clinical signs to what you think is the problem. And Church does EXACTLY that.

One more day of class! Going out to dinner tomorrow and then watching Hunger Games. CANNOT wait. It's kind of for my birthday, since no one is (ever) here for my birthday. My actual birthday will be spent studying, possibly watching a movie, and then making myself chicken enchiladas for dinner. Yum.

19 March 2012

One more week!

This is the last week of classes until we go on Easter holiday, which also means there is only one more week until clinical placements start. I'm nervous and excited for it, but I'm also more nervous because the amount time I have to study is basically cut in half from last year.

I must say, though, we had a mock EMQ exam last week and it went better than I thought it would. I don't think I'd go so far to say that I'm completely prepared for the May exam, but I do feel much better about the format. Results for that come in on Friday, so we'll see.

The weather here is finally getting sunny and warmer. Not as warm as back home (70 in Providence RI this past weekend?? What?), but warmer for UK weather. It's a bit schizo, though; sometimes the sun is out in the morning and it rains by mid-afternoon, and then gets sunny at around 5:30 (just in time for the sun to set...), but hey. Any sun is better than no sun at all! Unless of course you sleep through the sunny morning bit.

Also, my birthday is right around the corner (literally). I'm not old, but most of BVetMed 3 is on their way to turning 21 this year...so that makes me feel a little old. But hey, another year wiser too, right? Hopefully?

07 March 2012

Lame? Heck yes.

I'm part of the Equine Clinical Club, since I'm a huge geek about horses. The club sets up various things in the year to expand our horsey knowledge. A few months ago, we had a lecture about horse behavior and such, and today we did a mini-seminar about horse lameness.

It was pretty awesome. The sky cleared just in time for us to be outside for it, and the equine vet that ran it did a pretty good job. A lot of it was revision for me, since I've shadowed vets that were very invested in my learning and would quiz me and make me guess which leg was lame, and why, and how I could tell, etc etc. (I have some pretty awesome horsey mentors back home). Plus, he was a riot. The pony wasn't exactly the perfect patient and tried more than once to bite/kick the people who handled her, and he got visibly annoyed. I was close enough to hear him mutter some not so nice things to the bratty pony. I actually took a turn trying to get her to trot back and forth, but I was wearing steel toed boots and my legs would NOT move fast enough.

Renal module started this week. It's nice to have a new subject to listen to; I was getting a little sick of Respiratory. And renal physiology is something I can wrap my head around. I studied it so much last year because I was so worried that we would get an essay question on it for the exam (AND WE DID), and thankfully I feel pretty comfortable with renal stuff.

Less than 3 weeks until my first clinical placement (and my 26th birthday..wah). I realized the other day that I didn't bring any good office clothes with me, so I've got a major shopping trip in store sometime in the next few weeks (yay!).

03 March 2012

Too early for revision?

So I may be crazy, but I've started to do objectives for our different strands/modules. Yeah, the exam is the first week of May. I know this. But that eager beaver side of me is just taking over.

For those of you who don't know, all of our lectures/DLs/CALs/etc come with a set of learning objectives; what we're supposed to get out of them, really. Last year, I included writing out these objectives as part of revision, which really helped (or at least I like to think they did, since I managed to pass). Not for everyone, since they're really time consuming, but when you have nothing to do all day for 10-12 hours, writing out objectives for about...100ish lectures is doable.

This year, my study tactic has been a little different. Since getting the trusty iPad, I've not been writing out every lecture. Instead, I've been making flashcards from each lecture through Quizlet.com (an amazing website, if you've never heard of it, you better go over there now). First of all, it's FREE (the best word in the world for students), and you can upload them to your iPad or iPhone (or iPod, I hear those still exist) through Flashcardlet. So basically, I've got all my lectures on hand to study from all the time. Granted, I haven't really had time to take advantage and actually DO all the sets, but when I'm on placement it will come in extremely handy when I'm on lunch or have absolutely nothing to do.

Mmmm..placements. I'm both nervous and overexcited for them. I managed to clinch another 2 weeks at a mixed animal clinic in Gloucestershire, which brings me up to a total of 8 weeks. Probably going to book another 2 weeks at the very end of the summer with whoever will have me, but that's contingent upon me passing exams first round. Otherwise, I'll be doing my last 2 weeks during Christmas 2012.

This term is flying by so damn quick! Scary to think that it's almost over.

22 February 2012

Theory test passed.

So today, I braved 3 hours of public transportation to take my UK driving theory test in Watford. It was definitely as easy as the first time I took a written driving test, although this time there was a video portion.

They called it "Hazard Perception", and it's actually a pretty good idea. You're given a bunch of videos and you have to click the screen when you see a hazard developing and when it gets in your way and have to stop or slow down. It's not the easiest thing ever, but I passed it.

Now on to the practical driving test! Hopefully I'll be able to pass that sooner than later and buy a car before my first placement at the end of March.

18 February 2012

11 weeks.

Soooo....exams are coming up in a couple of months (just under 11 weeks, to be exact), and I'm already starting to get a bit worried. I mean, I'm pretty much on top of lectures and things. We've been doing our Respiratory strand for the past 2 weeks, and we have 2(?) more weeks before we start Renal. And then we have Easter break for 5 weeks.


For some reason, I'm sincerely terrified. Last year, my body did not have the best reaction to stress, and it manifested in some not cool ways (panic attacks, really). I don't want that to happen again, which is why I've tried to stay on top of things with lectures and clinical scenarios and such.

This year, instead of 5 separate exams, we have 2: an MCQ paper and an EMQ paper. I'm still not really quite sure what an EMQ is, but it's basically like multiple choice answers with a bunch of different (short) clinical scenario questions. The real reason I'm worried is because a large portion of last year's class failed the first time around, and some people from that group failed the second time around also. Long story short: I don't want to be put in a situation where I have to defend why I deserve to have a second shot at 3rd year...hence why I'm starting to worry about exams 11 weeks from them.

So. I think I will set up a revision schedule (Hermione anyone?) so that I feel more comfortable/less stressed about the upcoming exam in May.

Will it work? Probably not. But it makes me feel better at the moment.

On a personal note...my family had to say good-bye to one of our beloved cats, Cosmo, this week. I'm still having a pretty hard time coming to terms with the fact that I couldn't be there to say good-bye. I will really miss him.

12 February 2012

Driving on the wrong side of the road.

Today was my first foray into driving in the UK. I drive a manual at home, so I figured I'd try and get a manual license (because if you don't, you're restricted to buying a car that's an automatic). Anyway, my instructor picked me up at 9am (ungodly hour that I am for some reason repeating next Sunday) and brought me to a nice quiet street not far from my house. He gave me the run-down of what his strategy with me would be teaching-wise, and then handed me the keys to the car.

My first thought was "f*ck I just forgot everything." (A similar thought ran through my mind the first day of exams last year).

It ended up being ok, though. The pedals are all in the same place that I'm used to, which made my life just that much brighter. The main difference is the way I am supposed to drive in order to pass this test. Granted, I completely understand why they are so super aware about driving here. One, the roads are a heck of a lot smaller than in the US. Two, the roads are SUPER narrow and windy. Three, did I mention the roads? I mean, god. They're small.

Anyway, today, my instructor told me that I was a very good driver, but I was too fast coming to junctions and I didn't check my mirrors enough. For the test, I need to be checking my rear-view mirror every 5-8 seconds (to which my reaction was WHAT). For my speediness, I will blame the Mini Cooper that I drive at home, because darn it, it's just more fun to be zippy in that thing than cautious! But really, the checklists I need to remember to drive here are just bonkers.

Example: moving off from being parked on the side of the road. First, place the car in 1st gear (note: it's still got the handbrake on). Second, find the bite point (basically where the clutch picks up the gas and you no longer need to have your foot on the clutch). Third, 6 point visual check (left blind spot, left side mirror, ahead of you, rear-view mirror, right side mirror, right blind spot). Fourth, release the handbrake, move off, and check ONE MORE TIME on your right side to make sure you're not about to run some poor person over.

Suffice it to say that I had a hard time trying to remember everything in the order I'm supposed to do them. And I've been driving for 10 years. I mean, I'm sure I do similar things at home just because I'm in the habit of doing them (and I've managed to remain accident-free for the majority of my driving career thus far). But goodness. It can be a bit overwhelming.

Bottom line: re-learning how to drive on the wrong side of the road is a bit of a drag.

04 February 2012

I heart cardiology.

We finished our cardiology module this week. It was seriously one of the most fun module thus far. And really, I think one of the reasons that it was amazing as it was, is because the lecturers were SO invested in us learning the material.

I will say, though, that all of the lecturers here are invested in us learning the material. But the cardio lecturers seemed to just have so much fun teaching us.

For example: for our ECG lecture, the lecturer literally acted out (in interpretive dance) the heart cycle. And then gave examples of what different arrhythmias would do to the heart cycle. Also, Adrian Boswood is hysterical and cracks jokes all the time during lectures, which makes paying attention very easy.

So yeah. I'm sad that the cardiac module is over.

And I just realized that I've only got 7 more weeks until I begin my clinical EMS. Yikes. And only 3 months until exams. Double yikes.

PS: here's the video for the Mad Professor, who our ECG lecturer got his ideas from.

26 January 2012

So not in shape.

So I wrote a while ago about my not-resolution to run a 10K this year.

Unfortunately, the 10K I planned on running closed, so I'm making it up by running a 5K next month. Not quite as awesome or scary, but hopefully still doable. But on top of all of this, a few friends and I have started to go to the gym more often in order to get more into shape.

Well. Last night we went to Core Stability at the gym, which basically equates to a Biggest Loser type work-out. So needless to say, walking is really difficult today (and so is going up stairs and lifting my arms).

It just really highlights how out of shape I really am. I mean, I was a pretty active person in high school; I ran and did swim for a few years, and I rode my horse pretty much every day of the week. Once college hit, I rode less and eventually sold my horse. After that, I became sedentary. Yeah, maybe a few times I surfaced out of it, but overall...I was a lazy couch potato.

So now, I'm determined to not let that happen again. Maybe I won't look quite so slender as I did in my teens...but I didn't really have much shape back then either. I'd like to keep the good parts of my figure.

As for school: we've started our cardiology module this week, and I've realized how much I really like diagnostic imaging. We had a echocardiography lecture today, as well as a lecture on cardiac radiography, both of which I found extremely interesting. I did find an equine diagnostic imaging internship a while ago that I was debating on trying out for; now, I will definitely be applying (read:begging) to that.

20 January 2012

Learning to tie a knot.

This week was our first week learning how to do sutures and tie knots. RVC has this wonderful place called the Clinical Skills Centre (or Center for us Americans) that gives students the opportunity to learn and practice their Day One skills (clinical skills that we'll need to know on our first day on the job). This week, we learned more about surgical tools, suturing, and how to do a one-handed surgeon's knot.

Well, last night I was bored out of my mind, and remembered that the ladies at the CSC gave us a two-colored string for us to practice the knot with. So I watched the new episode of Criminal Minds and practiced doing my surgeon's knot.

Seriously. I have the best life ever.

I am proud to say that I have (sort of) mastered the one handed surgeons knot with a very thick string. The real trick now will be to do it with slippery suture material while I'm trying to perform surgery on a living, breathing animal. Only a couple of months left until I have my first clinical placement!

14 January 2012


Week one is over, and it was a whirlwind week (sort of). It's our second to last week of the reproduction strand, and I got to do sutures for the first time as a clinical vet student (and actually know what I was doing...sort of).

That piglet over the summer was almost like a teaser to see if I could actually stick a needle into a living animal. Tada! I can. And I can do it to inanimate flesh as well, since we learned what suture technique to use after performing a caesarean section. Using an actual uterus from a cow (they get them at the abattoir when the cows get slaughtered).

So yeah. Feeling very much a vet student after this week.

On a side note; the running thing is going ok. I only managed one run on Monday so far, and then spin took me out of the race (haha, pun) for a few days. I'm back on the wagon today, though: I've got my running shoes on and as soon as I get the motivation, I'm gonna go out and do my run. I swear. Really. Even though there's still frost on the grass.

10 January 2012

White noise.

I have a new pattern to studying now. Instead of listening to music, I've been listening to the Harry Potter audiobooks, being read by Stephen Fry. Seriously, best background noise ever. I've always been one of those studiers that needed white noise in order to focus well. And for some reason, this seems to work.

On another note, a friend of mine posted this wonderful video on facebook earlier today. It's from Burning Man 2011; a bunch of participants were filmed reciting the words of Dr. Seuss's "Oh, The Places You'll Go!" It made me a bit weepy; I can't tell if it's because it's so well done or if I'm just a bit of a sap. Probably both. Anyway, here it is. Hope it gives a bit of inspiration for those of you who are doing vet school interviews soon.

01 January 2012

Here's to 2012.

Here's to it being another fabulous year for all of us. 

I don't really do resolutions any more, since they never really work out for me in the end. So every year, I resolve to not make resolutions. 

But this year, I'm going to run a 10k after 10 years of not running (I ran cross country until my sophomore year of high school...which was scarily 10 years ago). I even bought new running shoes! And my other not resolution? Keep passing vet school. Because, you know, that's kind of important too.

So here's to 2012. Hopefully the world doesn't end.