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