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

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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