25 September 2011

I'm Doing It!

On the eve of the first full week of vet school, I thought it appropriate that I post an update on my first three days.

First of all, WOW. Looking back on all the material we've been given over the first few days of school, it's hard to believe we've only actually been IN school for three days. Three days! It seriously feels like weeks, and the amount of stuff we have to learn is absolutely unbelievable.

That being said, I have managed to surprise myself time and time again over the last few days. I have learned more in such a short period of time than I ever thought was possible, and am actually enjoying the large amount of work and how busy it's keeping me. In high school and undergrad, I wasn't a regular studier. Most of the time my attendance to lectures was enough, and if it wasn't then I'd just spend the night before the exam cramming (and quite miserably, I might add). For these first few days of vet school I've managed to stay on top of the material, and though it takes about 3 hours a night it's very do-able and I'm actually having fun. I did, however, grossly underestimate the number of notecards I would need for use to make flashcards. I bought 600 and have blown my way through nearly 200 in these first few days. Phew!

Even with all the studying I'm managing to work out a rhythm and maintain a life. I have a 5-hour a week work schedule and plan to join a club or two. Speaking of, I only have to pack lunch one day this week; the rest of the days have lunch lectures from various clubs that I might be interested in! So those will be fun. But I used Saturday to do nothing but sleep, and had a fun group study session at the VMAB with some friends this afternoon. I have to do some homework for Epidemiology, study some cell bio, and re-review anatomy, but I feel really good about everything.

I'm hoping this feeling sticks around, and with the help of lots of coffee, eating healthily, exercising, and establishing good study habits I'm pretty confident it will. My strategy at this point is to take it one day at a time. Every day that I walk out of that school I'm another day closer to being a veterinarian. As long as I make sure I get through each individual day, the rest will take care of itself. I'm actually doing it!

19 September 2011

And So It Begins...

WOW it's been a long time since I've posted! This summer seemed to take forever and fly by all at the same time. I spent a ton of time at the clinic and learned so many amazing things. The vets and staff there are the best, and I'm so very grateful that they tolerate me following them around and picking their brains all summer. Cherie and Robin and I moved into our new place at the end of August and we love it! In addition to Cassius we now have two five-month-old kittens named Sloopy and Gray.

I started working in Student Affairs at the vet school and I absolutely love it. The Student Affairs staff members are wonderful and I really enjoy helping others who are applying to vet school.

Vet school starts in 1.5 days, on Wednesday morning! I purchased my course notes, which fill one 3" binder and one 1.5" binder, today and in true Caitlin fashion read all the syllabi =) Maybe I'm just being naive, but I really can't wait. Check back in a few weeks to find me kicking myself over saying that but as of right now it all sounds pretty good.

Other than that, orientation was fun and my classmates are great. I've hung out with a bunch of them already and I can't wait to get to know the rest. Guess I have 4 years to do that =D

07 March 2011

Endings and Beginnings

Is there really a difference? Isn't one just a continuation of the other? When one thing begins, an ending is inevitable. When that ending comes, a new beginning is always sure to follow. That's how things have felt these last four years, an endless cycle of beginning and endings, endings and beginnings.

I had my last horse show ever with The Ohio State University Hunt Seat Equestrian Team on February 26th and 27th. When I joined OSET, I didn't really have a whole lot of expectations. I expected to keep to myself, learn a few things, and just overall have some fun improving my riding abilities. I never really expected to make new friends, become a more confident, competent rider, and renew that competitive streak I used to have back when I showed Ellie every single weekend during the summer. Perhaps that's why I surprised myself on Sunday when I hopped off my last IHSA horse with my green ribbon (darn that left lead!) and got a bit teary-eyed. My coach said I had a great ride, and when she noticed I was upset, she asked if I had been cose to pointing up for regionals. I shook my head, and she said "Then why are you so upset?" I thought about it for a minute. Regionals had been a long shot for me. I would have had to have won my class on both days at the show in order to point up. After my third place finish on Saturday, there was no chance of that, so the pressure wasn't really there. So I said the only thing I could really think of: "It was my last show." Slighty disappointed in my placing, I was, but even more so I was disappointed that I didn't have more time with the team. I was really quiet last year, and didn't realize what I was missing until I opened up a bit this year and got to know some really awesome girls and overall have an amazing time.

The same thing, I suppose, will go for Pre-Vet Club. The first meeting I went to last year, I was hooked. I never missed a meeting after that, and when I was elected Publicity Chair towards the end of last year, I dove head first into all things OSUPVMA. The friendships I've made during my time with this club are going to extend into the next four years of vet school, and who knows beyond that. I've loved serving as Publicity Chair, and will soon have to relinquish my spot to a newly elected member who will serve from this Spring Quarter until next.

Moving on from these things has really made me look forward into the next few years. I've always been kind of a late bloomer. I didn't start band and drama club in high school until I was a junior. I didn't play softball till I was a senior. Because of my transfer from LCCC, I didn't start OSET or OSUPVM until my junior years of college. The one thing all of these things have in common is that I wish I would have started them earlier because then I would have had more time to do them. The latter two were pretty much out of my control, but the others-the main reason I didn't start earlier was because of fear. Fear I wouldn't be good enough, fear I would make the committment and then not want to do it, fear I would make a foold of myself and in the end, I just plain had fun. So looking ahead to vet school, I really hope to have the courage to try new things. Anything that looks like it might be fun to me, any little opportunity, I hope to seize it. Maybe I will run for class president. Maybe I will join the Equine club. Maybe I'll restart the LGBT club. Who knows? But I plan to make the most of every possibility that I'm fortunate enough to get during my years in vet school.

As far as the here and now, I'm in the final week of the last Winter Quarter of my undergrad career. It's been a rough quarter and we'll see how it turns out. With two quizzes, two homeworks, three projects, and a campus tour to do this week, along with my usual classes and riding lesson, it's gonna be a hectic one. Finals week, hopefully, will go pretty smoothly and then I'll be home free to be on my way to Chi-town with Cherie. But, like all the other endings, this one is just followed by another beginning-Spring Quarter is just around the corner!

18 February 2011

Ohhhh Boy =)

The last several months have been a complete whirlwind, hence the lack of blogging throughout the entire interview/acceptance process. That being said...it went REALLY super fast. Allow me to provide you with a brief synopsis.

September 30, 2010, 11:15 pm: Hit the final submit button.
October 1, 2010, 10:00 am: Burst into tears because I thought some of my supplemental answers were crap and there was no longer anything I could do about it.
November 19, 2010, 9:45 am: Recieved the interview invitation email. RSVP'd for a morning interview on December 16, 2010.
 December 16, 2010 8:30 am: Interview day. Got there an hour early, met an AWESOME friend from SDN, interviewed (the fastest ~25 minutes of my life), thought I did awful, moped the rest of the day during the info sessions, tour, etc.
December 22, 2010 9:52 am: Got THE EMAIL. Best email ever. The one that begins with "congratulations."

And that was it. It was over almost as quickly as it started. Of all the emotions that took over that day, relief was the greatest one, followed by several brief moments of panic when I realized that now I have to go to vet school. But in reality I can't wait. I created our Facebook page, and have already spoken to many of my future classmates. I feel like a know a bunch of them before we've even met and I think we are going to have a totally awesome class. It's going to be a great mixture of people I already know, people I sort of know, people I've only met on the Internet, and people I've never seen in my life.

In the mean time, I'm trying to move past this pervading sense of senioritis. I have to pull off a C in physics this quarter, but other than that I could fail the rest of my classes and vet school would still be there when it was over. Now obviously I'm not the type to just go and do that, but it's hard to get motivated for some of the more dry classes in my schedule.

Thankfully, this quarter is three weeks from being over. Then it will be a fun spring break, ten weeks of spring quarter (with some AWESOME classes), and then a summer that will be spent in the clinic and in a truck. I can't wait.

So I think that's about it for now...I'm so glad that the admissions process is over for me FOREVER, and I wish those still waiting as well as those applying this upcoming cycle the best of luck. It's grueling, it's draining, and it's completely amazing. Enjoy it, because it really is over in the blink of an eye!

06 September 2010


Who shows up to work on Labor Day?

This girl does, that's who!

To be fair, the vet and I had agreed that I would come on Monday this week, but I think it didn't occur to either of us that it would be Labor Day.  So when in doubt-show up!  And then when the clinic is dark and empty....get back in your car and go home!  So no playing doctor for me today =(

In other, more exciting news, I finished my first draft of my Personal Statement!  After days of agonizing over it I finally finished at approximately 4am yesterday.  Since then I've been sending it to everyone I know (and even some people I don't know) to get feedback.  I've gotten a lot of great input and once I hear back from everybody I'm going to put all the suggestions together and see what I come up with!

On today's agenda is writing my Explanation Statement and working on my Honors and Awards.  I've been avoiding the H&A because it's going to be a bear trying to think back to awards won all the way through high school.  But...it must be done, and when it is, my application will be complete!  Well, save for the supplemental application, the questions on which I hear are quite intense this year.  I also still have to keep on top of my evaluations and make sure those get done in time, which is probably the most challenging thing seeing as it's out of my control.

This application process is coming to a close so fast it's crazy.  After October 1st it's just a waiting game.  Then, if an interview is in the stars for me, another waiting game after that.  Have I mentioned that patience isn't my strong point?

26 August 2010

Life and Death

Veterinary medicine is full of situations that seem to directly oppose one another, and one of the most common of these foils is the simple matter of life and death.  When the average person thinks about a veterinarian, the first and most simple connotation that comes to mind is a professional who saves animals.  However, as anyone who knows the ins and outs of the veterinary profession understands, sometimes a veterinarian, despite all their efforts and practical knowledge, can do nothing to spare an animal's life.

Pondering the conundrums that are life and death in relation to animals and veterinary medicine also brings about other seemingly illogical conclusions.  When it comes to animals in our current world, sometimes life is death and death is life.  Take for example, the puppy born to an unregistered, mixed-breed bitch as a result of an accidental breeding. The joy of a new life in one of its most precious forms is overshadowed by grim reality, as the numbers of unwanted animals are soaring and millions are either taken to shelters or simply left to starve and fend for themselves when their owners can no longer take care of them.  Had his owner been more responsible and his mother been spayed, then sure, he would never have been born and thus the life he had never existed, which many would view as a tragedy.  However, he also would have not had to live a life of suffering at the hands of humans.

In the same token, as cruel as death sometimes seems, it can often show a kinder, gentler side with its ability to relieve the suffering of an animal who is too wounded or ill to make a recovery and remain comfortable.  In these situations, often the kindest gift we can provide to an animal is the chance at a dignified, painless end.  While veterinarians don't always have the tools to save an animal's life, they DO often have the tools to relieve animal suffering, be it in the form of medication, surgery, high-tech procedures, or the ability to relieve an animal of an excruciating existence and allow it to peacefully fall into a painless slumber.

While traveling with the large animal vet yesterday, I witnessed the miracles of both life and death.  Viewing the heartbeat of a foal at just a few weeks gestation on an ultrasound monitor is an amazing thing to see, enough to bring tears to your eyes.  Such a small little flicker will one day become the powerful pounding of a life-giving organ in a strong, magnificent, and noble animal.

Then there were the two little beef calves, so ill from a respiratory infection that all attempts to cure them had failed.  Human euthanasia was the only viable option for these little guys; it was time to end their suffering.  I was saddened at the sight of them passing from this world, but at the same time relieved for them.  Their raspy breath gradually quieted, their heaving sides slowed, and most importantly the pain faded from their eyes.  What a blessing that I had been able to be there with them, holding their heads and stroking them, comforting them as they slipped away.

That's the difference I can make as a veterinarian.  For those animals that can be saved, I can provide the procedures and medicine their bodies need to heal.  For those animals that cannot be saved, I can provide the peaceful, dignified end that every living creature deserves to have when their time comes.

So those are the musings that I've had for the past couple of days.  As for the vet school app, it's going well.  I've now got all my evaluators signed up which means that I am free to send in the app any time now.  I still have to finish my personal statement, write my explanation statement, and finish up my honors and awards but I'm thinking I should be able to get it in by the end of the first full week of September.  I take the GRE again a week from tomorrow.  I've got to find some more practice tests and watch the DVD that came with my workbook, seeing as I pretty much finished the workbook already.  As for right now, I've got to get going on that running I've been slacking on.  25 minutes straight again today, hopefully I won't keel over.

24 August 2010

It's Always Something

The thing I like most about Mapleton Veterinaray Clinic is that while a lot of the time we're doing routine things-vaccines, wellness exams, fecals, heartworm tests, spays and neuters-there never fails to be an interesting case at least once a day.

Today, sandwiched between all the DHLPPC vaccines and the cat spay was a elderly beagle with urinary troubles.  He hadn't eaten in a day or so and hadn't gone to the bathroom in as much time.  He was weak and despondent.  When we x-rayed him, the size of his bladder was unbelievable.  The poor little guy couldn't urinate for some reason.  It was then that I was reminded of the creativity required to be a veterinarian.

The dog was started on an IV catheter and given a little sleepy juice.  Then the doc put in a urinary catheter.  Right off the bat he pulled out 3 60cc syringes full of urine.  Wanting the dog to be able to continue to have the catheter to spare him any further discomfort, Doc needed to figure out a way to allow the urine to drain perpetually without making a mess.  So he found an old IV line, emptied the remaining contents from the bag attached to it, and hooked it up to the dog's catheter.  In went the urine; it worked like a charm!  Faced with the question of how he was going to get the cath to stay with the dog and not get pulled out, he gently stitched it to the dog's skin and voila!  Instant security.

Practicing veterinary medicine requires so much thinking on your feet and coming up with solutions that weren't taught in vet school.  Knowing this and seeing it demonstrated time and time again makes me hope that I have the creativity and clarity of mind to come up with solutions to problems which I've never faced before.  I guess that's a skill that comes with time.

Also, I was informed today that the low-cost spay/neuter clinic I volunteer for when I'm at school is in pretty desperate need of help right now.  Apparently they've just completed a rescue of over 200 pit bulls which will be requiring foster homes and eventually forever homes.  They are also accepting donations for the medical care of these dogs.  More information can be found here: Shelter Outreach Services of Ohio

Well, it's time to go to bed, seeing as I have to be up in 6 hours to get ready for an adventurous day of large animal work.  Hopefully I'll come home with good stories to tell =)