Mid-terms and the mystery tour

Hey guys

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a few weeks – I’ve been crazy busy with midterms! I had three last week and one this week. We’ve had results back for three of them, and I passed all of them, which is a huge relief. I’ve definitely found it easier to study this year because I’ve been enjoying the classes more, with the exception of behaviour and welfare. I absolutely love the module, and behaviour is something I’m considering doing a PhD in, but the lecturer is not someone who particularly inspires me to learn. That said, when I’ve done independent study, it’s been really interesting which I guess is a blessing because if I found the subject matter boring, I wouldn’t get anywhere!

Midterms have meant that my social life had come to a complete halt, but this Monday it was the vet school mystery tour. We stopped at Ballymahon on the way to Carrick-on-Shannon, which is in County Leitrim (no, I don’t really know where that is on a map!). VetSoc hired a club out for us and we had a fab night! It was fancy dress, and my friends and I did a group costume: we were the Pretty Little Liars.We got back to Dublin at 4.30am and I have never been so glad to see my bed. The bus journey home was actually alright – last year it was a bit of a vomit-fest. I don’t know that we’ll be able to go next year since all I’ve heard about semester one of

fullsizeoutput_1971.jpeg

We got back to Dublin at 4.30am and I have never been so glad to see my bed. The bus journey home was actually alright – last year it was a bit of a vomit-fest. I don’t know that we’ll be able to go next year since all I’ve heard about semester one of the third year is that it’s the single worst bit of vet school.

Every week, VetSoc organise some talks in the evenings and at lunchtime, and recently there’s been a focus on wildlife and exotic practice. There are lots of EMS (extra-mural studies) opportunities abroad, which sound absolutely incredible. I want to work in Australia or Africa when I graduate, and animals that we would consider “exotic” here in Ireland are much more commonplace over there. I’m taking an elective in exotic species this semester, and this week the wildlife society came in with lots of cadavers. They had everything: a hedgehog, a fox and her cub, a pine marten, a badger and even a cygnet. It was the best class in terms of experience – we were learning to capture and restrain the animals first, then how and where to inject them and lastly how to intubate them. If any of you guys are interested, their website is outstanding: irishwildlifematters.ie – they have everything on there from what to do if you see wildlife you think may need help to common conditions and normal body parameters for vets.

Did anyone else read the Animal Ark books by Lucy Daniels when they were little? I adored them – I had every single one of them and I still do, somewhere! Anyway, Daniels has written more of them, and Mandy is now a qualified vet. I’m loving them! It’s as if Mandy and I have grown up together. A real trip down memory lane to Welford, but these aren’t children’s books. There are some romance and some mystery bits as well as the animal side of things. I’ve also started rereading the original books, and the attention to veterinary detail is incredible. I guess as a child, you don’t really notice, but now that I’m learning all of these details myself, it’s amazing to see how accurate and precise the books are.

I have a few more exams in three weeks – one is my genetics midterm and the other is my first resit. I’m not worried about them, but I don’t like exams in any situation so hopefully, I’ll manage alright. My therapy sessions are going really well, which is a huge relief. Having anxiety issues in high school is one thing because you’re still a child and you’re surrounded by people who are looking out for you – not just your parents, but teachers and guidance counsellors, too. In college, you’re in the (semi-)adult world and you have to start looking out for yourself. It was daunting for me to reach out to a stranger for help, but it’s working wonders for my confidence. I had a minor setback a couple of weeks ago, but where I would usually isolate myself when that happens, this time, I was able to work through it constructively and confide in others. I know this blog is about my life at vet school, but if any of you are struggling with feeling alone or anxious, don’t be scared to ask for help. I know from experience that it seems like the most terrifying thing in the world, but there are people whose job it is to help, and they want to do just that. I don’t know what the situation is in other colleges, but in UCD at least, therapy is free, so take advantage of it!

Love always,
Cici xoxo

Week four!

Hey guys!

Well, week four didn’t last long. Time is speeding up and to be honest, it’s a bit scary! Our first mid-terms are in two weeks and although I’m definitely more prepared this year than I was last year, it still feels like I don’t have enough time between the lectures and the tests. That said, generations of vets before me have succeeded and I refuse to let exams get in the way of what will one day be a very hands-on career!

This week’s exotics class was on bird skeletons, so no dissection, but it was cool to see how birds are put together and what allows them to fly. I was one of those kids who was really interested in how both birds and aeroplanes stayed in the sky – for a long time I just assumed God held them up because nothing else seemed plausible, but although my faith still runs strong, I now understand physics a bit better! The other lectures are getting into more depth about blood and nerves and chemistry which is all feeling a bit foreign right now. It’s definitely not as daunting as last year i.e. this year I know what the subject matter is, but I’d be lying if I said it was plain sailing. Luckily for us second-year vets,  our timetable isn’t very full – we have most Thursdays off and a lot of the other days we only have classes in the morning or the evening, so plenty of time to study and keep up extracurriculars.

Speaking of activities besides studying, I’ve actually managed to attend all of the rugby training sessions so far, which I am very proud of. I’m really enjoying getting back into it and the girls on the team are all lovely. We were meant to have a match this week but thankfully it was pushed back by the other team, so our first one is this Wednesday against another Dublin university. I have no idea if I’ll make the squad or not, but either way, I’m having a lot of fun playing again. Having decided to leave fencing until next semester, my other sport for this semester is polocrosse! We had our first lesson on Thursday night and I’m already hooked. I did a few lessons when I was back in England but I could not remember a single bit of information when our teacher, Debbie, was explaining the rules. It’s so much fun to play and it’s a real workout! I did fall off because the horses are very sensitive to neck-reigning – I was leaning down to pick up the ball and I moved my hand, so my mare dropped her shoulder to turn left and, well, I didn’t – but it was all good. I was actually really proud of myself for not getting flustered – usually, that would be exactly the sort of thing to set off my anxiety because everyone’s focus was on me, but I managed to laugh it off and hop back up. I did have a moment of panic in the car because I was thinking back to it and blowing it out of proportion in my head, but I’m definitely handling my anxiety better now! The therapy sessions are definitely helping and I’m a lot more comfortable in situations that I just used to avoid.

One of my own animals was in the university vet hospital this week – my darling Abhann, who’s the only remaining male lamb of my spring adoption spree, was in to be castrated. He’s very unhappy to have been separated from his girls, but I do not need any deliberate lambs! Hopefully we caught him before it’s too late, but he may have already sown his wild oats. Everyone at the vet hospital thought he was darling – he’s a real pet, he walks with a “harness” (which is just a horse’s headcollar!) and he’s very affectionate. He’s not allowed back in with the ewes for six weeks just to be on the safe side, so he’s outside my bedroom window in the garden. The other invalid, my mare, Africa, is much better! She’s sound at a walk and very slightly lame in trot, so I’m thrilled. She’s had a poultice on all week – I changed it on Thursday and I will again tomorrow morning – but it didn’t look as though anything else had come out. Either way, she’s feeling heaps better. Her little sidekick, Ellie, is not very little at the moment. She’s a Welsh section A who’s the size of a small house – time to invest in a grazing muzzle, methinks! We can’t separate them because Africa goes nuts if she can’t reach her, but being an old lady, Af needs plenty of grass to make sure she keeps condition on over the winter, so Ellie is just getting wider and wider and wider!

I just got home from my aunt’s 50th birthday dinner and I’m absolutely stuffed – four courses and I regret none of them! I don’t start until 11am tomorrow (see what I mean about the easy timetable?) but I do have to get up early to change Africa’s poultice and give Abhann his antibiotics, so off to bed with some revision for me!

Love,
Cici xoxo

Accidental Experience

Hey guys

How on earth is week four starting already?! This semester is going so fast, I can’t believe we’re almost half way. I’ve been a lot more involved in extra curriculars this year which I think contributes to the time flying by. I’ve joined the rugby team, which is so much fun – training is twice a week,  Monday and Wednesday, and it doesn’t start until 7pm which means it doesn’t get in the way of anything else. I’ve also joined the equestrian club, and I’m starting polocrosse lessons this Thursday which I’m really looking forward to. I’m starting fencing this week and I’d love to start climbing again but to be honest I don’t know if I’ll be able to fit it in!

As far as lectures go, I’m still enjoying the modules, which is a huge step up from last year – as I mentioned in a previous post, I was really struggling with motivation towards the end of last year, but I’m feeling so much better now which is a huge relief! Exotics is still the most fun – we’ve now dissected a rat and more recently, a seal pup – that absolutely stank, but it was really interesting. They have so much fat, even on their heads! The other modules are less hands on, but I’m able to relate them more to what I’ll be doing in practice.

Recently, I’ve been getting lots of “accidental experience” – my mare, who’s 23 and doing fantastically for her age, has been having issues with her feet since last winter. She had never been lame in her life before last year, but now she’s been getting abscesses. The current one is particularly bad – none of the ones she had last winter ever surfaced, but I ended up called the vet for this one as she was hopping lame even on painkillers. My new vet (who is amazing! she’s a new grad and my new favourite person) came out and scraped the sole which released a load of gross pus. That made her instantly better, and I left a poultice on her, but a few days later she was back to not putting any weight on it. The farrier came out very early this morning and scraped more of the sole away, which made more pus come out, and he also said that he thinks another abscess will erupt up by the coronet band – his theory is that some grit got into the wound and is now travelling up the hoof. Not great news, but so much better than being told “I have no idea why she won’t put her foot down”!

I’m having to be ultra organised because I’ve committed to so many activities as well as having my chores with my animals at home, so my bullet journal has been an absolute life saver. I’ll go into more detail in the next blog post as I have to run for a lecture now, but I hope you’re enjoying my second year antics so far!

Love,
Cici xoxo

Let second year begin!

Hey guys

The first week of my second year in college has come to a close and it’s been so much fun! This year, I’m a peer mentor in the UCD vet school’s programme, and it’s been exciting showing the newbies around. As a peer mentor, I’m assigned three first years who I essentially act as a “big sister” to. For the first five weeks of college, we meet up with them a couple of times a week and make sure that they’re not floundering and that they’re comfortable and making friends. My own peer mentors were fantastic, so I felt like I owed it to them to help the new ones, and it’s been really rewarding.

In terms of lectures, there’s no introductory week for us to gradually ease back in like there was this time last year. It’s straight in to lectures from day one, which is actually quite nice in terms of establishing routine. Technically speaking, the modules are harder this year – obviously – but they seem easier. I think that’s probably just because we’ve been exposed to the veterinary world for a year now, so the technical terms don’t sound like gibberish anymore. On a more personal level, I’ve been reading the lectures before class where possible, so instead of going in blind, I have some idea of what’s happening. I didn’t do any study during the week, but I did sit down this weekend and write up my notes, which meant that anything that I was confused about I could look up while it was still fresh in my mind.

The highlight of this week (for me anyway!) was our first exotics class. In UCD, we pick two electives each year on top of our core modules. I’m not sure when it stops, but anyhow – this year, I’m doing a module on exotics in semester one, and then a rotation elective in the large animal hospital in semester two. Our first exotics class was on Friday, and we started with fish. I found it really interesting to see how very different a fish is to any animal that we’ve studied so far – up until now, we’ve only looked at mammals, which are obviously quite complex, but a fish is very simple in terms of structure. Our hearts have four chambers where theirs only have two, and their respiration system is very passive compared to all of the effort we have to put into breathing. Once we’d done an hour on theory, we moved down to the dissection lab where we were greeted by frozen dogfish, rays and another smaller fish which I believe were snappers (?). It smelt pretty awful and even after I showered I still had fish smell in my nose, but it was such a fun practical. One group had a fish that had just eaten another smaller fish, so we saw the whole digestive system, and a few had pregnant ones.

Of course, back to college means that nights out begin again. The first year nights are back, and although we’re not first years anymore, it’s still fun to go out with all the vets – we’re definitely the best school on campus! It’s crazy to think that a year has passed since we were just beginning college, but I’m really excited for this year. Hopefully I’ll be back on top of my studies in no time and I can properly enjoy myself.

Until next week,
Cici xoxo

The Wake Up Call

Hey guys

Second semester went by in the blink of an eye and I managed to post nada. I’ve sat down to write three different recap posts, but I haven’t had time to finish them. Why? Because I’ve been studying. This summer isn’t a relaxing one for me because I failed two of the modules in the second semester of first year, which means repeats are coming up when I get back to college. I made the mistake of sitting back and aiming for just a pass – which is a D- minimum – in all of my modules, which meant that I didn’t put nearly as much time and effort into my study as I ought to have done. My two fail grades were Es, which means that they were both borderline – an E is the best of the fails. Now, if I had been aiming for As and slipped a bit, I would have ended up with Bs or Cs and I wouldn’t be spending my summer worrying about the enormous workload that I’m inevitably going to have in the first semester of second year.

College is all about learning curves, and this has been a huge one for me. Coming into a program like vet med means that every single person there is an overachiever. Every vet that I’ve spoken to has said “everyone fails at least one exam in vet”, but that doesn’t stop it coming as a shock to someone who has never failed at anything they’ve attempted in their life before that point. Honestly, it sucks, but it’s taught me that I absolutely cannot be complacent about it. If I have to put in more hours to achieve the same grades as my classmates, so be it. I don’t want to just graduate, I want to come out with a degree that will be my passport to the world, and for that to happen I need to push myself to get the highest grades possible.

When I got my results, I’ll be honest, I sat on my bed and had a bit of a breakdown because I was terrified about what was going to happen. I hadn’t even considered the possibility of failing, so I hadn’t researched it. I thought that I was going to have to repeat first year. Once the panic subsided, I texted my student advisor – who is an absolute godsend, everyone adores that woman – and she called me to explain the situation. The repeats will take place at some stage during the first semester of second year, and they’ll be pass/fail. I could do the same as before and aim just to pass them, but I’ve started studying according to a strict schedule for the summer because I want to ace them. I don’t care if that won’t be reflected in the grade – and its taken me until now to figure this out – because the information in the modules is going to be of use to me as a veterinarian, so I need to know it all anyway. The exam won’t test me on the whole thing, but whereas in high school, I could afford to leave out chapters that were highly unlikely to come up if I was struggling, that can’t happen in college. Yes, the exams are what are going to allow me to progress through the course, but in order for me to perform as a surgeon to the best of my ability, I need to know myself that I have learnt everything in as much detail as I can manage.

Failing exams in college does not mean that the world is going to end. Obviously, I have absolutely no intention of it ever happening again, but I have learnt that sometimes, it’s okay to fail because it wakes you up and points you back in the right direction. I think for someone like me, scraping through would have made me think “oh, this is okay, I can coast”. By having to resit the modules, I’ve had to rethink my approach to studying and realise that I just need to do more, even if that means sacrificing social outings.

Of course, second semester wasn’t all bad news! We were out at Lyons Research Farm once a week learning how to handle animals and – the highlight of the semester for me – I went lambing for two weeks, which was amazing! That was another serious learning curve – I’ve grown up with animals but they’ve all be pets. It’s a completely different thing to view them as members of the food chain, and although I didn’t find it hard per se, it was odd to distance myself so much from the animals. I have a habit of getting very attached very quickly, which obviously is going to have to change if I’m going to be a good vet, and lambing was fantastic experience from that point of view.

The other very exciting event happened in February: we got a puppy! We lost our darling Sandy in December, and Ash was very lonely without her, so when a litter of puppies turned up at the rescue centre, we went and Ash chose her new sister. Maisie Mouse is a lurcher collie cross and she’s now an integral part of the family – she’s lying on my feet as I write this.

IMG_1824IMG_1920IMG_1942IMG_3048IMG_3049IMG_3112IMG_3120IMG_3124IMG_3127

Cici xx

Back to College

Hi guys!

I hope you all had a lovely winter break with family and friends. The break from college was a tad long for me – six weeks, and I’m useless at having nothing to do! – but it was nice nonetheless. I did two weeks of work experience in two different vet clinics: the first was in an exotics clinic, which was so much fun, and the second was in a small animal hospital. Being home all the time also meant that I was able to spend a lot more time with my horses, which I’ve really missed!

Getting back to college this week was a welcome change, but it has been a bit tough readjusting to 6am starts! This semester is tougher than the first because we have six modules as opposed to four but it’s manageable. We got our exam results on Wednesday – I passed them all, thankfully! I’ve been writing up my lectures the day we have them or the following morning, and I’m already seeing a difference – when I go into class having at least read over the notes beforehand, it’s so much easier to follow along!

This semester we get to go out to Lyons research estate to learn how to handle various animals, which is so much fun! My group was tasked with sheep this week, so we learned how to flip them, check their feet and teeth, etc. The highlight of the day was of course the lambs – there were lambs born just that morning! It was freezing, of course (this is Ireland, after all!), but it was enjoyable nonetheless. I’m going lambing with a friend in vet over the two weeks we have off in March, which I’m super excited about!

IMG_3787.JPG

Other than college, this week has been fairly chilled, but next week is rag week so there will doubtless be a little more excitement 😉

Talk to you next week!
Cici xoxo

Study week

Hey guys!

Two weeks in a row – finally! 😉

This week was study week, because we have big scary exams next week to mark the end of the first tenth of our course (how?!). I’m one of those people who gets uber stressed about exams, and these ones have been the worst ones so far because I most certainly did not do enough work during the semester. As a result, I had a bit of a meltdown on Monday because of the sheer volume of stuff I had to learn. Moral of the story: keep on top of things! It wasn’t quite as bad as I had initially anticipated – it never usually is – but it was still tough. I’m absolutely useless if I try and study after about 6pm, so to get any semi-decent day of work in, I have to be up early. Usually, that’s no issue for me, because I prefer going to bed early and waking up early, but this week I was all over the place. Anyway, I’m feeling much happier now because I have a solid chunk of my revision behind  me – I say revision, but a good 50% was learning new stuff… Even my boyfriend, who is Mr Chill when it comes to exams, messaged me yesterday in a bit of a flap, which made me even more nervous. Is it obvious I don’t test well? 😛

I went to an exam study tips seminar given by some of the older years a few weeks back and they gave us some really solid advice. Since I was behind, it didn’t really work, but I’ll definitely be putting what they told us into action next semester.

  • Find what study works best for you. You may have already found this when you did your exams at the end of school, but people learn lots of different ways. I have to write everything out, colour code it and then read it out. My boyfriend can read things and retain them that way. Others learn by making up stories or drawing out a sequence of events. It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you manage to get what you need into your noggin.
  • Plan your time. There is no point in sitting down and deciding on a whim what you’re going to do, because there’s no structure if you do that. I used to find that when I studied without a plan, I would spend fifteen or twenty minutes on one subject, and then swap to another and do the same thing. Everything was very choppy-changey, and I really didn’t take in all that much. Sit down at your desk ten minutes before you’re going to start studying for the day, write down a timetable and stick to it!
  • Make lists. Lists will become your best friend when you have a massive amount of material to cover. I have lists for each of my modules with the titles from each lecture, and each time I get to the end of one, I cross it off. Not only does this satisfy my need for organisation, it’s so satisfying.
  • Colour code. This is a personal thing, but it works really well for me, so it’s worth a try. I have a different colour for each of my modules, and I associate information in each colour to that module. Initially, I write out my notes and highlight the important bits in the colour for that module. Then, I answer questions that I either find in a textbook or online, or that I make up myself, and highlight the bits that I’m unsure of. By the time I finish up, I know the answer fluently.
  • Record yourself. Another personal one, and it does take a bit of getting used to! I read out my notes and recorded them to listen to when I was doing chores, and although isn’t the most efficient way of learning for me, it still gets some information into my brain when I have other, mindless things to do. I also record myself asking the questions, and then if I’m waiting for a bus or in the car somewhere, I play the questions and write the answers down to check when I get back to my notes.
  • Routine, routine, routine. This is the one thing I relied on completely last year during my final exams, and it’s what I missed most this week. If you get yourself into a solid routine, it’s so much easier to keep up, and it means you really appreciate your breaks.

I hope some of these help you guys with your studies, and they’re all helped by studying as you go along – obviously! Fortunately for me, first year doesn’t count towards my final GPA, so my misjudgment won’t be too catastrophic!

Love always,
Cici xoxo

Saying goodbye to Sandy

Hey guys

So much for regularity… Sorry! I’ve been really busy the past two months with both college and my personal life, and when I’m not doing things, I’m catching up on precious hours of sleep.

Lots of things have been happening recently, but the newest news is the saddest: this week, we had to say goodbye to one of our precious puppers, Sandy. We adopted her from a rescue home just over two years ago along with her best friend, Ash. They had been there for 7 months because they had to be homed as a pair and they’re lurchers, so they’re big girls. Sandy was the gentlest, kindest dog I’ve ever met. She wasn’t pushy, but she was always there, and she had the loveliest chocolate brown eyes. She acted like a puppy with she was outdoors, and she loved racing around the field with Ash. We were so lucky to have had those two years with her, and she’s left a huge hole in this family. Ash misses her lots, but we know it was the right decision. Her protein levels were dropping rapidly because her system wasn’t able to function the way it used to. We could have kept her alive on drugs, but we didn’t want to watch her wither away until we were forced to let her go. I keep telling myself that having the option of avoiding the pain is one of the major reasons I chose veterinary medicine over human medicine, but that doesn’t make losing her any easier. I miss her most in the mornings when I come down – she used to “sing” when we talked to her, and now the house is quiet. We buried her in her favourite corner of the woods, and I like to think that she’s gone over the rainbow bridge to join Finn and Cree, the dogs I grew up with. Rest in peace, Fluffmeister, we love you.

sandy

Other things that have been happening lately: I passed my driving test (yay!), we went on a mystery tour and ended up in Galway, I went to both my own and my boyfriend’s debs, mid-terms came and went faster than I thought possible, Halloween night in Dublin (catastrophe of the highest degree), I was honoured as an Entrance Scholar and now end of semester exams. I haven’t been able to commit to rugby training because I’ve been so all over the place this semester, but I have plans for 2017 (don’t we all) which include getting my life back to the nice organised ways of last year. I have been managing to get to the gym, though, and over the Christmas break we’re going hiking, which will be fun.

In terms of vet school life, I cannot believe how fast this first semester has gone. It’s absolutely flown! It’s so hard to believe that I’ve only known my classmates 12 weeks because it feels like forever. Of course, I still don’t know everyone in my year, but we have five years together, so hopefully by graduation I’ll at least recognise everyone! Work-wise, there is a huge quantity of information, and I’m one of those people who has to fight for every grain of knowledge I retain, so it’s been a struggle. However, my grades have improved over the semester, so I’m able to hold my head high – well, at least as high as the tower of books that I seem to end up with every time I study! Does anyone else start off studying with your desk all organised, and by the end it looks like that monster book from Harry Potter has had a go at it? Anyway, I’m very glad that it’s almost Christmas – two weeks and I’m freeeeeeeee! I have two weeks of work experience booked, one right after exams finish and the other the week before we go back to class. Tip: you have to get 12 weeks of pre-clinical extra-mural studies over the course of first and second year, so start early! I have three week booked for January 2018 already – the best places to see practice are booked up really early, so get in there!

I have a reminder on my phone now for every Saturday, so providing I stick to it, these posts will be getting more detailed because there won’t be as much to cram in – plus, since they’ll be written closer to the time of the events, I’ll actually remember them better!

I hope you’re still enjoying this somewhat fragmented journey!

Love always,
Cici xoxo

Getting stuck in

Hey guys

Another two weeks, I know! It’s been crazy busy at college because everything is in full swing now – I can’t believe it’s week 5 already!

These past two weeks have been much more structured than the first two, which is nice for me, being the organisation geek that I am 😉 Microsoft OneNote is an absolute godsend as far as taking notes is concerned! I’ve really started to appreciate that all of my lecturers put their presentations up for us to access on Blackboard, because I was talking to some other students whose lecturers don’t use the online platform and they were having to write down almost everything, which meant they missed out on some of the important points. Now, I’ll be honest, I probably haven’t done enough study for the stage we’re now at – I’ve only read over some of the first lectures, but we have midterms in two weeks so I’ve set myself a schedule for this week to try and get on top of it all! Honestly, guys, I know everyone says it, but start early! Letting it pile up just makes a heap of work which is so daunting. Having friends on the course does make it easier, though – knowing that there are others who are just as lost makes me feel a bit better 😉 the dry labs are getting easier! Remember last week how I was saying that I didn’t really understand my laptop? I’m getting the hang of it now, so my assignments are becoming much less stressful. However, Friday of week 3, I had my first college experience of leaving things to the last minute: our assignment was due at 6pm, and I didn’t start until 2.30pm, at which point I realised that my laptop was on 2% and I had left my charger at college >_< by the time I had gone in, picked up the charger and gone home again, it was 5pm, so I had one hour to do the assignment. I ended up submitting it at 5.59pm! It was hands down the most stressful day of the year so far, which explains why this week, I’ve already finished the assignment for that class! We’ve also started wet labs in both anatomy and biochemistry – yes, that means dissection (guys, make sure you have lab coats, nitrile gloves and latex gloves!). Our year was split up into groups and we were each given a surgical case that we had to “solve”. None of them were too complicated – ours was bloat with a flipped stomach in a dog -, but we were then given a cadaver relating to that case and we had to get elbow deep in blood and guts to show how the situation arose and how we might fix it. It was a bit eerie at first, but once you get stuck it, it’s actually lots of fun!

As far as the social scene goes, that’s just getting better and better – and that’s coming from someone who’s ill! I’ve had a cold for over a month now because it’s just so hard to say no to the group – they’re the best people, honestly! They’re so much fun and so reliable – you know when you go out and you just feel safe? That’s how the vet group makes me feel 🙂 it really is like a family, and my peer mentors are still looking after us really well, which is fab. We went out to have dinner and drinks with them last week and we joined another peer mentor group there which was really good because it meant we made more friends! I struggle with anxiety, so making friends is a tough one for me, but I feel like I really fit in with this lot. Knowing that I already have a solid friend base has made it easier in lectures too, so I really encourage you to try and put yourself out there – I know it can be really difficult, but it’s so worth it I promise ❤

I went to a rugby training session last week, which again was a fantastic way of meeting new people, and it also finally got me to do some exercise! I’m lucky in that I have a high metabolism, but my diet has been atrocious these past few weeks so it was high time to get out there and run around a bit. Sports clubs at uni are a brilliant way of meeting people, but it’s also a way of trying new things – I’ve also joined the kickboxing club, which is something I’ve been wanting to try for ages! College really is like turning over a new leaf, and it’s already shaping up to be my best year yet.

I hope you guys are enjoying these somewhat random posts – let me know in the comments if you have any questions or suggestions!

Love always,
Cici xoxo

Embrace the experience!

Hey guys!

So much for one post a week – so sorry! They’re not kidding when they say vet is an intense course, oh my goodness!

Busy as these two weeks have been, I’m absolutely loving the course. It’s such a relief to realise that all the hard work in high school, all the hours working at subjects I didn’t really like have really paid off! The lectures are all focused on us being in a clinic one day, and knowing that makes learning so much easier because you can immediately see the application. It’s not all plain sailing, and I’ve felt lost more time this past fortnight than I did in my whole high school career, but it’s all settled into place eventually. My lecturers are all obviously passionate which is another thing that really helps – you know the way some school teachers just seem over it? College professors aren’t like that – at least mine aren’t! I haven’t actually got many lectures, per se – this semester is quite a light workload, actually – but the autonomous learning is just as important. If we don’t read the notes that the lecturers put up online before class, it makes it infinitely more difficult to follow what’s happening – trust me, I tried winging it and it’s so not worth it! I came out of that lecture really stressed, feeling like I’d never catch up.

One thing that I still haven’t quite got the hang of is our “dry labs” – we spend three hours on a Monday afternoon using an online microscope and we have a weekly assignment based on screenshots. I realise now that taking some sort of crash course called “technology for dummies” may not have been as bad as it sounds. Vet is a course which relies heavily on a laptop – you have to have one!!! I’m a self confessed technology dinosaur and I’ve found it tricky to learn the course content and the basics of laptop-ery simultaneously, so if you’re planning on doing veterinary, make sure you know what’s what with your laptop! Similarly, I use Microsoft OneNote to take notes in class, and touch typing would be a real asset! If you’ve never heard of OneNote, as I hadn’t two weeks ago, it’s absolutely genius when it comes to taking notes. All of our lecturers put the PowerPoints they use up on Blackboard, so we can save them as PDFs and put them on OneNote. That way, we already have the basic notes and we just need to take down the extra things they say rather than frantically trying to remember everything they say! It honestly makes life so much easier, and you can share pages of it if you have a group project or something. There’s also a recording tool so you can record each lecture, too, and listen to it again if need be. Honestly, every college should show students how to use it during orientation!

It’s not all been work, of course! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the vet students are the absolute best! VetSoc, which is our dedicated society, organises mixers for us the first four Wednesdays of term and they’ve been so much fun. It’s a really good way to meet new people both from our year and from the years above us – each week, a first year is paired with someone from each of the years above, so it’s forced mingling but it really works! Last week was first year-fifth year and this week was first year-third year, after which we went to a club and then headed back to one of my friend’s apartment and ordered pizza at 5am – uni is fun, guys! This week was fresher’s week, and Monday brought the UCD Fresher’s Ball in Dublin. We had the BEST night, it was so much fun!

I was really nervous going into my first lecture – I was scared I would be immediately overwhelmed, I was scared I would do something wrong and I was scared no one would remember me from orientation. Those fears were completely unfounded! Near everyone is in the same boat – very few people know each other, so everyone is looking for a friendly face in the first few weeks, and the lectures start off with at least some connection to something you’ve heard before! The best advice I can give you is to embrace the whole experience – don’t hold back! I’ve joined societies I didn’t know existed – FoodSoc anyone?! – and I’ve met people I’ve just clicked with. I didn’t have a bad high school experience, exactly, but already in college I feel closer to some people than I ever did in school and that’s part of why I love it so much.

I hope you guys are finding these posts at least semi useful – if you have any suggestions, they are of course welcome!

Love always,
Cici xoxo