Saturday, October 10, 2009

Post-Game Analysis

We took our mid-term 2 weeks ago, and it was very much like playing the first game of the season. Going into the game, you are oscillating between confident and unsure. You think about how you've prepared, and it seems like you've practiced as hard as you can, but then again, maybe you could have practiced just a little bit more. As students, we deal with that roller coaster in different ways. I need a cushion of time between wrapping up studying and taking the exam, but some people only feel secure if they read as many pages of their notes as time allows.

My classmates seem to be a pretty grounded group, though. I've never been part of an academic setting in which students were competitive with each other, but I know many vet students experience that kind of atmosphere in their undergraduate programs. I love that no one seems to have brought that mentality with them. Everyone is supportive, and I get the sense that everyone knows how hard we all worked to get where we are, and that we want success for each other just as much as we want it for ourselves.

That being said, I knew before I finished taking the mid-term that I had not been putting 100% of my effort into studying. I was certainly doing enough to be prepared for class each day, but I really hadn't put the time into reviewing all along. The mid-term gave me a big push, and I've really been able to crank up the intensity of my studying. They've been telling us since we got here that this is professional school, that we should consider other students and faculty our colleagues, and that we should approach the whole endeavor like a job, but I hadn't given any of that much thought. I was studying last week, and actually enjoying myself, when I realized that was exactly what they meant. Our careers are not going to start in four years, after graduation. They have already started. Studying is no longer "homework." It is real work. Thinking about it that way helps me find the initiative to settle down and concentrate when I first sit down, and stamina to keep going when my focus starts to waver.

Ophtho Exams!

My favorite part of vet school is our practical lab that we have 2 or 3 times a week. This is the time when we get to polish our physical exam skills on real, live, warm, fuzzy animals. We usually have one small animal lab and one large animal lab every week, and everybody has to do everything. A few weeks ago, we were learning small animal eye exams. Everyone is used to seeing a direct fundic exam, where the doctor looks through an ophthalmoscope to see into the back of your eye (the fundus). There is also an indirect exam, where you use the tapetum (the part of the eye that causes animal eyes to glow in your headlights) to reflect an image of the retina back out of the eye and into a magnifying lens.

You hold the light source back by your face, and the lens right next to the eye. When you see the reflection of the tapetum, you move the lens between the light and the eye, and an image of the retina jumps into the lens. It is trick to position the light and the lens, and the dogs don't like having a bright light shone in their eyes anymore than we do, but when you get it to work, it's beautiful.

I also think the indirect exam is cool because it's simple, and kind of old-fashioned.

Monday, October 5, 2009

You know you're a vet student when... think the purpose of Fall Break is so you can spend all day in the library instead of all day in class.