Monday, April 30, 2012

Not Sure What to Feel

So today marks the first day of our very last week of PBL.  It's a short case - we only have PBL today and Wednesday, and we only have one BSL lab this week, plus two clinical skills talks.  We're done with our molecular and cellular biology class, and we'll be done with our ethics and law class on Wednesday.

This week is such a weird mixture of everything - excitement to be done, sadness about being done, bewilderment that two years has passed in such a blur, stress over finals, and excitement/terror at the prospect of beginning clinical rotations in August.

I've mentioned this to people before, but I'm pretty sure vet school involves some kind of wormhole, because there's no other way to explain how the past two years moved by as quickly as they did.  And as bitchy as I've sounded in recent posts, they really have been an amazing two years.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

New feature!

Look to the top right of the page, right beneath the horse picture in the header.  See that new link?  I'm setting up a store for  I ask that if there's something on there from amazon that you would have purchased anyway; for instance, textbooks, for those of you in the incoming class, or NAVLE prep materials, a new stethoscope, or an extremely cute mustache toy for your pooch, that you click the link to the store to buy it, instead of going straight through amazon.  It doesn't cost you any extra, and helps me out a bit.

Friday, April 27, 2012

I was contemplating taking down the post from earlier today

Because, let's face it.  It was kind of hostile.  But then the more I thought about it, the more I thought, "fuck it.  the hostility was deserved."

Here's what happened.  Last Friday, and Wednesday, we had a clinical skills class.  Before each class, the instructor decided that they needed to plug their laptop into the loudspeakers in the classroom, and blare shitty pop music at us.  Then today during molecular and cellular biology, one of our groups of classmates decided to do their powerpoint presentation on heartworm with the title of each song a pun based off a pop song.  Which was kind of cute.  Until they decided to aurally assault the whole class with a 10 second clip of "Quit Playing Games With my Heart."  There is nothing cute about forcing a captive audience to listen to boy bands, no matter how brief.  I'm pretty sure had they played that music at Guantanamo instead of waterboarding people, there would have been a public outcry, and actual war crime sanctions against the US.  Even though I got a gawdawful earworm before I was fully awake today, I did misdirect some hostility at my classmates, who were in all fairness, trying to be cute, and trying to make a boring presentation more entertaining.  (FYI, stick with veterinary medicine - I'm sure you'll be a great doctor, but comedy is not your strong point.)

The hostility comes from a place of helplessness and frustration.  I pay to go to school, and learn veterinary medicine.  I pay a lot for that privilege.  The classes I attend have required attendance, (unless you're a certain person who I have ranted about recently.)  If I'm subjected to something that is most definitely NOT veterinary medicine related, and I stand up and walk out of the class, I risk getting in trouble for it.  However, somehow it's perfectly ok for somebody else to ear fuck and entire room of people with their "music," and that's ok.  And I interpret forcing your personal musical taste on people as an act of hostility.

For instance, take my next door neighbors (the douchnozzle ones, not the amazing D.O. students).  One of them likes to work on cars in their driveway.  Which is literally 2 feet from my bedroom window.  They like to blare mariachi from their car speakers at what has to be at least 100 decibels.  It shakes my entire house.  Listening to the bass lines makes me ashamed to be a bass player (because I might get lumped in with these people who think that a bassline consists of C, G, C, G, repeated on tempo for 5 minutes straight.)  And I can only come up with two explanations for my neighbors playing the musical abortions they play at the volume they play it at.  Theory #1 - they're so self-absorbed, that it never occurred to them that sound travels, they're not the center of the universe, and they're absolutely clueless that anybody might find their actions objectionable.  Basically, they're so narcissistic that nobody exists within hearing range except them.  Theory #2 - It's an act of outright hostility.  Much like a dog pissing on somebody's leg, the neighbors are saying "I own this airspace, and I will fill it with the most foul sounding shit I can, because fuck you."  So basically the options are either clinical narcissism or sociopathy.

That's also how I felt during class last week.  I'm trapped in my seat, and I just want to learn about thoracic radiology and get on with my life.  But no.  Instead, I'm subjected to loud, inescapable music and bullshit self-help pop psychology quackery that has no basis is peer-reviewed science.  Once again, I'm left to my theories.  Theory #1 - this person thinks that everything they love must be so wonderful, and must be shared, and everybody will love it because they do.  Basically, they have no concept that other people have different taste, and that their ideas and music aren't the only things out there.  And they're having so much "fun," so the "fun" must be shared with EVERYBODY! i.e. Narcissism.  Theory #2 - They secretly hate us, and like a dog pissing to mark it's territory, they decide to fill the air of the classroom with their piss to mark their place in the pecking order.  i.e. Hostility.  I can't come up with a flattering theory.

So yes, I'm hostile about music.  I listen to all sorts of music that doesn't suck.  Classical.  Metal.  Jazz.  Bluegrass.  Classic rock.  BUT, I also learned from a very young age that not everybody has the same taste as me, and I've always made it a point to not force my choices on other people, because that would be rude.  Apparently, not everybody got that memo, or doesn't have the empathy to figure it out for themselves.  But I've always made it a point to turn down the volume in my car if my windows are open, or to pop in earphones if I'm listening to something and somebody else is in the room.  It strikes me that it takes either extreme hubris or indifference to others to do otherwise. But maybe that's because I make it a point to not do rude things to other people.  Unless you count passive-aggressively calling them rude online, but guess what?  They can choose whether or not to read this.  I could not choose whether or not to sit through class.

News Flash

It doesn't matter if you're a student, or a faculty member. It's a dick move to play your shitty music during a lecture to a captive audience. Frankly, your taste in music sucks, and people who possess empathy have the ability to recognize that not everybody appreciates the same things as you. People who aren't narcissists don't force their personal taste on other people. This has been a public service announcement. Making a captive audience listen to pop music makes you a dick. That is all.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The buttcrack of dawn and I don't get along

Tuesdays, Thursdays, and some Fridays classes start at 8 am.  Those days kill me.  If I'm lucky, I'll be asleep by 2am the night before, but that's a best case scenario.  It's not that I have insomnia, either - I have no problems falling asleep, it's just that my circadian rhythm is backwards, and if left to my own devices, I have no problems going to sleep at 5am, then sleeping for 8 hours.  When I worked night shifts, they always warned us about "night shift syndrome," where you have all these ill effects from having to live backwards your natural circadian rhythm. That's how I feel all the time, but those 8am days especially kill me.  (And I'm not just whining - it's a real syndrome) It's the main reason why I've always considered emergency work a strong option - so I can actually feel like a normal person.

Anyway, so today, I stumble into class at 8, expecting a physiology lecture/Q&A from one of our internal medicine specialists.  But for some reason, I see a familiar face sitting off to the side of the room.  It's our old physiologist who left at the end of last year to go work at one of the Caribbean schools.  And for some ungodly reason, he decided that while on vacation in Cali, that he would visit us, and do a guest lecture.  It's a helluva good way to make 8 am seem that much more tolerable.

Today's Tyler's birthday, and he requested a strawberry birthday cake.  I've never met a strawberry cake I liked, so I kind of cheated. I made a vanilla cake and dyed it pink,so it's a psycho-somatic strawberry cake.  But I made this straberry frosting for it.  I don't care if you don't have a cake to put it on - just go make it, and eat it plain.  It is the best frosting I have ever tasted.  Hopefully good enough that Tyler won't notice that it's on a pink vanilla cake.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


So after last week's fiasco, a bunch of classmates emailed the administration about "Ginny Forest."  The resolution?  She's still in class.  Good to know that good students like Sarah can get legitimately sick, and even though they would have been able to catch up on missed classes, get kicked out, while pathological liars can cry (or god knows what else) their way out of anything.

We had a heart auscultation lab at school today, and it was wonderful getting to hear murmurs on real live animals, vs. trying to listen to mp3s.  Plus, I got to snuggle a kitty that looks like Wilford Brimley.  To make it even more awesome, when I just googled for an image to illustrate my point, I found this website.  Apparently there's an epidemic of diabeetus cats out there.

I read a news article earlier today about an officer in TX that went to the wrong address, and fatally shot this guy's dog.  Know what threatening thing the dog was doing at the time?  Yeah.  Playing frisbee with his owner. It's not an isolated incident, it seems that about every 6 months or so a news story pops up with the exact same plot line.  Cops go to wrong house, cops kill family pet, cops keep job with no repercussions.  And those news stories scare the crap out of me every time.  I just think back to how incompetent the police here were when my car got hit by a drunk driver - they basically told me that I shouldn't call them for something so insignificant, then arrested the wrong guy.  What's to stop them from being similarly incompetent, and showing up here instead of at my criminal-2-houses-down-neighbor's house? The thought seriously chills my blood.

I got an email earlier today from the USDA about their summer vet student program.  Denied.  :(  Now I really need to figure out how to not end up homeless over the summer.  Anybody want to hire me full time?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A huge double standard

I probably shouldn't talk about this in a public forum, but since it's been an ongoing problem that everybody else has swept under the rug, I'm going to bring it out into the light.  This even ties into yesterday's post about who I would or would not hire, because this person is the first on my "no way in hell" list of classmates that I would be willing to work with after graduation.

Remember last September, when my best friend, Sarah got sick, and ended up in the hospital with sepsis and pneumonia?  The administrators at school told her that since she had missed too much classtime, that she would have to withdraw from our class, and repeat her 2nd year next year.  The magical cut off of how much time is too much to miss is 2 weeks.  If I remember, they told her this before she had reached 2 weeks of missed classes.  She originally got sick, missed class on Friday, was hospitalized the entire next week, and was told she would have to repeat that following Wednesday.

What does that have to do with anything?  Well, there's another girl in our class, who for the sake of keeping her anonymous, I'll refer to her as Ginny Forest.  Ginny skips class all the time.  Last semester, we had a series of early morning Necropsy Labs, where two groups at a time came in and got to practice doing a necropsy.  Ginny skipped her groups necropsy lab, but was supposed to make it up during my group's lab.  The lab started at 8 am.  She comes waltzing in at 8:30, with no explanation.  One of my other friends is in a PBL group with Ginny Forest this semester.  This friend tells me that Ginny has already missed 4 PBL sessions.  Another friend tells me that she skipped her Hills Wellness Center rotation, with no explanation to the rest of the group.  Just decided not to show up.  There have been a few times when I've been walking to my next class, only to see her just pulling up and getting out of her car 2 hours after class was supposed to have started.  Now, I have no idea how many classes altogether she's missed, but this has been a chronic problem with her, and I'd bet if you added it all up, that it would amount to way more than 2 weeks worth.

To make things worse, about once or twice per month, either in class, or in the anatomy lab, I look over to see that she's in tears about something or other.  It's gotten to the point to where we look over, and roll our eyes because Ms. Forest is crying yet again.

Where am I going with this?  I'm pretty sure she's gotten away with missing as much class as she has, because she went through a family tragedy first semester of first year, and people cut her slack.  I'm pretty sure she's been milking that, and crying her way out of getting called on her BS, and she's been getting away with it.

Anyway, this all leads up to this week.  Tuesday, for a fun epidemiology lesson, our epidemiology faculty decided to have us watch the movie "And the Band Played On." (Quick aside - it covers the scientists at the CDC working the AIDS epidemic in the early 80's.  I thought it was a pretty amazing movie.)  Anyway, the movie is about 3 hours, and class is only 2.  Tuesdays, and Thursdays, our class is divided into halves.  One half has their BSL lab from 8-10, and then anatomy lab from 10-12, and the other half is the opposite.  So we get to BSL today at 8 am to finish watching the movie.

And we sit there.  And we wait.  Then our faculty members announce that a certain person had missed (skipped?) class on Tuesday, and asked to borrow the movie, so she could catch up.  They agreed, with the stipulation that she had the DVD back by today at 8.  We proceed to have an epidemiology discussion for about an hour.  Around 9, a classmate announces that she got a hold of Ms. Forest of the phone, who says she'll be there in about 30 minutes.  Which is 30 minutes before class ends, and not enough time to finish watching the movie.

Another classmate runs down to the anatomy lab, to ask the anatomists if it's ok if we cram all 95 of our class into the lab for the next hour, so we can all finish the movie.  They say it's ok.  So we head to anatomy, where now it's way too crowded and loud to really accomplish anything.  I tried to read histology, but couldn't focus over the noise.

At 10, we traipse back over to our BSL lab to finish watching the movie.  Nothing is said about Ginny and her inconveniencing the entire class.  She's not there to apologize to the 50 of us she just screwed over.  Not only did she make us wake up early to be in class by 8 for something that wouldn't happen until 10, she also managed to screw us out of a useful 2 hours of anatomy.  As a result, now I have to find 2 hours somewhere this week or this weekend where I can go to the lab to make up for the missed time.

I'm annoyed about today.  I feel like she owes us all an apology, since she wasted everybody's time.  She also wasted everybody's tuition money.  We end up paying about $120 dollars for every hour we're in class.  If she wasted 45 people's time for 2 hours, that means she just caused just over $10,000 of wasted tuition.

And yet, she'll probably get away with it.  Because she'll cry her way out of it.

Honestly, if I were Sarah, and I got kicked out for having the audacity to get sick, but Ginny Forest continues to be able to skip classes and cost everybody money with impunity, I would be pissed beyond all belief at the unequal treatment, and maybe even consider a wrongful dismissal suit to cover a year's of lost salary + the compounded interest that's building up on her student loans.  Good thing Sarah's much nicer than I am.

As it stands, if nothing's done after today's incident, I am going to lose a lot of respect for the administration.  I really hope somebody finally stands up to her manipulative tears.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A game I play sometimes

Sometimes when it's slow, or when I'm sitting in class listening to various classmates talk, I play a game in my head.  Basically, I look around the class, and think about if I were to own a clinic - who in my class would I hire in a heartbeat, who I could tolerate, and who would I immediately turn down? My "in a heartbeat" list covers about 20 classmates, the "maybe" list adds another 25 or so, and the "no chance in hell list" comprises the other 50. The "no chance in hell" list is so long, since there are so many good reasons to put people on it.  Either they're slow to piece information into something usable, they're callous, or would just be irritating to have to work with every day.

I mentioned this game to another classmate, who confessed to me that she and her roommate play a similar game.  Their version is "if my pet were sick/injured, who would I let treat them."  Not surprisingly, there is a huge amount of overlap between her list and mine.

It'll be interesting to see how the list changes during 3rd year rotations, and actually seeing how classmates adapt from classroom stuff to more hands-on practice.

And yes, I know that makes me a judgmental bitch. It happens.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Getting Overwhelmed

I just filled out my preferences for third year, and wrote a 4 page paper for our ethics and law class.  I feel like this week is going to run over me, back up, and run over me again.

Tomorrow, I have a dinner talk for the VBMA to go to.  That knocks out studying Monday night.  
Tuesday, I have a hills rotation, so I don't get out of class until 5.  That usually means I don't start studying until 7-ish, and only get a couple hours in.  
Wednesday, we get our molecular and cellular biology paper, which our group has to present on friday.  So I get to comb through the paper with a fine tooth comb, research all the ambiguous parts, and put together part of a powerpoint.  
Thursday, our group's meeting to put together our MCB paper, and figure out what the hell we're doing for a video we have to make for next week about ECGs.  
That pretty much puts me at Friday before I get any useful chunk of time to get any meaningful studying done.  Just thinking about it makes me start to hyperventilate a bit.  At least I got my stupid 4 page paper out of the way.  

On the less whiny side of things, I went to the Renaissance Fair on Saturday with a classmate.  She hadn't been to one before, so it was a blast.  I was starting to get annoyed with some of the people in costume, though.  For a ren fair, you expect the typical renaissance costumes, tolerate some pirates, but generally the anachronism should be around the same(ish) time period.  This time, there were a TON of fairies, steampunks, and some guy in a Ghille suit, that I think was supposed to be some sort of Green Man.  For some reason, it was really bothering me, but then I decided to re-frame people's mis-matched costumes as them being extremely bad at history (like they think the renaissance is when fairies became extinct,) or thinking of them as 1800's steampunk time travelers visiting the renaissance period.  It made it much more entertaining.  

Also, I'm now pretty sure the good weather's here to stay.  How's that you say?  Because the icecream trucks are circling the park across the street from my house like vultures, and my crazy porch cat brought me the first popsicle wrappers of the season.  

And completely unrelated, but I found an old ZeFrank video that pretty much describes my study habits, only much more hilariously than I could have.  

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A little bummed out

Thursday, our group had our last VACS rotation of 2nd year.  I got to do a canine neuter.  VACS has been my favorite of the rotations, and I'm a little sad that I don't get to do it anymore.  I have three more rotations of the year - large animal, equine, and Hill's wellness center, and I feel like by doing VACS so early in the block that I don't really have anything left to look forward to.

This morning, I was planning on sleeping in.  My plans were thwarted by Tyler waking me up at 8 to help him change a flat tire.  After getting the tire off of the car, on the inside sidewall was a giant piece of what used to be a hotwheels or matchbox car.  WTF?  How does a shard of diecast car get in the sidewall?  I was expecting a nail, or glass, but a hotwheels?

We had a renal toxicity case this week, that I'm still trying to catch up on doing all of my reading for.  Usually, our PBL cases progress in a way so that Monday and Tuesday we can get the majority of our basic science reading done, Wednesday and Thursday, we can add more details, and by the time we get our disclosures on Friday, we're just wrapping up loose ends.  This week was not one of those weeks.  Monday's disclosures just pointed to a dog with neurological signs that was possibly in shock.  No idea which organ system to even look at.  Tuesday in Anatomy, they told us to concentrate on the kidneys.  Did some kidney anatomy and physiology on Tuesday afternoon.  It wasn't until Wednesday that we got enough information from the case to narrow the toxins we were looking at down to specific renal toxins.  Wednesday I was at school until 7:30 for the spay study, so I didn't get much reading done, and Thursday I had VACS until 5, and still had to read my molecular and cellular biology papers for Friday morning.  So today has been me playing catch up, since Monday and Tuesday were basically wasted as far as meaningful studying goes.  The bad timing of this week combined with recovering from spring break has just made it really hard to get back into the swing of things.

A couple months ago, I applied for a summer job with the USDA, basically following a vet, doing slaughterhouse food inspection (basically making sure zoonotic diseases don't enter the food supply.)  About a month ago, I got an email saying my status had been updated, to being in the list of best qualified applicants. Yesterday, I got another email saying my status had been updated again, except when I log in, it still says the same thing.  I understand government jobs work at their own speed, and the hiring process isn't going to be instantaneous, but I just want to know whether or not I have this job!  (Can you tell that patience and uncertainty are not my strong points?)