An Update On Life

It has been ONE whole year since I have made a blog post. 
Oh, where has the time gone! 

Here's a brief list of things that have happened in the last year: 
1. I graduated with my Bachelor's Degree!
2. I have been working two jobs since March. My full time job at a corporate practice & a part time job at a private practice, two days a week.
3. I got a promotion to a Lead Technician job at my full time job! 
4. I attended my first veterinary conference, AVMA in Washington, DC (blog post about this coming soon!) 
5. I took my GRE (not that exciting). I did okay. I may take it one more time in an attempt to get a more "competitive" score - but my score is high enough to apply to vet schools.

And honestly, a lot of the "same old". Working two jobs and going to school takes up so much of my time that my life is very boring & redundant. I still cry a lot. I never do enough laundry. I eat too many frozen burritos. I watch too much Netflix when I should be doing more productive things (I've been loving "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" and "Disenchantment" - & of course I've been watching "Harry Potter"). 

I have developed a few goals within veterinary medicine, aside from getting my RVT (which I'm still working on) and getting into vet school (which I'm also still working on). I would really like to do some medical volunteer work and give back to communities in need. I want to go on an international volunteer trip, as well as attend a volunteer event in my home state. I am currently working on getting my RECOVER certification. I also have a "wishlist" of certifications I would like to achieve. These include Fear Free, the Companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy and Certified Veterinary Business Leader (through the NAVC). Unfortunately for me, all of these certifications cost ABSURD amounts of money. 

I have also been having a kind of "spiritual" battle with myself for the last year or so. At one point in my life I considered myself to be an Atheist, at another point an Agnostic. I would say in my more recent years, I haven't considered myself to be anything. I've strayed away from a title that is supposed to dictate my beliefs. Right now I don't know what I would consider myself, or what exactly I believe in. I have definitely been doing a lot of reading and soul-searching, even praying. My soul feels this emptiness and desperate want to have something to believe in. I'll let you know if and when I figure it out. 

I hope that to whoever is reading this, all is well with you. 

Let's all just keep swimming! 

(I took this picture myself & added the caption)

- C

The "Tough" Stuff - Veterinary Medicine

There is a veterinary medicine YouTuber that I watch regularly named Victoria Birch & today she posted a video answering questions she has received about the tougher side of veterinary medicine. I will link her video here. She encouraged others in the veterinary medicine community to answer these questions & since I don't make videos, what better place to put this than here? . . .

I am going to preface these questions by saying that there is a lot of heartache within veterinary medicine, as I'm sure there is in a lot of other fields of medicine. It's just something that comes with the job & it's a big reason why some people don't ever enter the field. When you're in the business of life & death, death is an inevitable part of it. Sometimes it is peaceful & calm & there is a known understanding that it is necessary. Other times it is loud, messy, unexpected & heartbreaking. Either way, the tough stuff really hurts. There's been more than one day where I've taken a moment to hide in our laundry room & cry on top of the freezer before going back to deal with whatever I have next for the day. I reflect on it sometimes, if I have had a particularly bad day I "journal it out" - but it all gets tucked away into this deep dark corner of my brain.

1. What procedure bothers you the most? 

- There aren't a lot of procedures that "bother" me per say. Victoria mentioned decapitation - which is performed in the event of suspected Rabies. For those who don't know, in a suspected Rabies case, the entire head of the animal is sent off to the lab for testing. I am fortunate enough that in the 4-5 years I have been in veterinary medicine, I have never seen a Rabies suspect. I don't particularly like watching enucleations (eye removal) they make me pretty queasy & my bones feel like jello thinking about it, but they don't "bother" me, I just do my anesthesia monitoring at an angle where I can't see it happening 😏.

2. What is one thing you would change about veterinary medicine? 

- I think that client communication is extremely important & sometimes it gets left by the way side. I have seen so many doctors & technicians try to explain something to a client in a way that is not easy for the client to understand. As the doctor is explaining something to them, you can almost see their eyes rolling back into their heads. Sometimes owners won't ask for clarification because they are embarrassed or don't want to look "dumb". I think people need to remember that your every day person doesn't know as much about animals as we do & they don't know any of our technical jargon. Taking the time to break down the information you need to provide them, in a way that they can understand it is so important. The client will have a better experience, they will trust you more, they will feel comfortable asking you questions & they will leave with a better understanding. A client should never leave the office feeling overwhelmed & confused. We have one doctor who is really good at printing out reading information for owners to take home when a diagnosis has been made that can be a lot to grasp. There are a lot of other notable mentions here including fear free training, working for each other instead of against each other (in terms of coworkers), more mental health resources for veterinary professionals, the importance & necessity of licensed technicians to a practice, etc.

3. What is the most valuable lesson that you've learned? 

- There are a million & one valuable lessons to be learned in veterinary medicine, so it's hard to choose. I can sum it up with patients always come first, it's okay to cry, never be afraid to ask for help & admit to your mistakes. Nobody likes a technician or a doctor who is an emotionless droid, whose sole purpose seems to be bragging or showing off instead of being committed to patient care.

4. Are you scared to put your own pets under anesthesia? 

- No. Anesthesia is generally very safe, regardless of a pet's age. I personally have never seen a pet die under anesthesia, nor have I ever seen any recovery complications. That's not to say because I haven't seen it that it doesn't happen - it's just not as common as you would think. I will say however that in terms of surgical procedures sometimes "you get what you pay for". Paying for a $100 procedure through a shelter or rescue versus a $500 procedure through a regular clinic is not something that a lot of people talk about. When you pay for a low cost procedure in a lot of cases, you are sacrificing some aspects of patient safety. In a low cost procedure you are usually sacrificing things like pre-anesthetic blood work (which allows you to see if there are any underlying medical conditions that could compromise the pet under anesthesia), fluid administration, etc. I think it can increase the risk of possible complications. Just something to keep in mind for pet owners.

5. What is the worst thing you've ever seen while working at a veterinary clinic? 

- I hate DOA's. DOA stands for "dead on arrival". They're the worst. The reason they are so bad is because they are always unexpected, it's pets that don't receive regular veterinary care (usually ones with failing organs, or heart conditions) - who one day just fall over & are rushed in. It's pets who have been run over by cars & crushed & are ran in to the hospital by an owner or a good Samaritan covered in blood. It's owners who are screaming & crying for you to help their animal, when the animal is already passed. It's rough. I don't work in emergency medicine & I don't envy those who do for this reason. These haunt me sometimes. I have definitely "seen" worse - it depends on how you define this question. These situations are the toughest for me to deal with.

6. Have you ever worked for a bad doctor? 

- I have never worked for a "bad" doctor. I have worked with some doctors who can be difficult, i.e. - they can be extremely nit-picky or want things done a very different or very specific way. You know, those doctors who just seem like they are making your job extra difficult for no particular reason 😁. Some doctors are also really great at making messes & not cleaning up after themselves. Some doctors are more self-sufficient than others (i.e. have technical skills & help you out a lot when it's busy vs some doctors who fold laundry while you are running around like a chicken with your head cut off). I think it can also be difficult if you don't see eye-to-eye with a doctor on a certain subject or in terms of how a certain task should be performed. I have also seen doctors zero in on certain techs & be mean to them for no particular reason. We are all human, we just have to remember that.

On an ending note, there is a very large mental health crisis within the field of veterinary medicine. Veterinary professionals (more notably doctors) are four times as likely to commit suicide than the general population & two times as likely to commit suicide than other medical professionals. We need to help each other, whether that's being someone to confide in, a shoulder to cry on, or something as simple as taking on an extra task at work from someone who is struggling. Don't burn yourself out, know that taking a mental health day is OKAY & take of yourself. You can't take care of others, when you aren't taking care of yourself.

Mental Health Articles / Resources for Veterinary Professionals: 

Back To School Blues

I decided about a year ago that I want to go to vet school. I know what you're thinking - but didn't you write that blog post awhile ago about not knowing what you want to do? Yes, I totally did.

I had worked at the same vet clinic for about 2.5-3 years (give or take as a receptionist), a year & a half ago I started on the job training to work as a technician for the same clinic. I still work at this clinic (as a technician) & for the first time ever in my whole life I love my job. I became super passionate about science & about medicine. I became that person that pesters every doctor with a bunch of questions (mostly ones that they don't seem to remember the answers to). I guess the next obvious question is, why don't I just work as a technician? Technical skills & patient care are great - but patient care is not my passion, medicine is. I want to know all of the how's & the why's - I want to solve the mysteries & make those difficult diagnoses. I already have 4 associate's degrees & I'm about to have my B.S. - what's a little more student loan debt? *insert eye roll here*.

So here I am, enrolled in three different schools (like a total nutcase). I am finishing my B.S. (three classes to go), I am working on my RVT online (should have my license by my birthday next year) & attend my local community college for my veterinary school pre-requisites. All of that - while working full time as a technician - & somehow maintaining decent grades. Don't try to ask me how I do it - because honestly I don't know. I cry a lot . . . Community college picks back up in a week & a half & I am dreading every second of it.

People keep asking me why I'm getting my RVT if I want to be a doctor. I have about 1.5-2 years of pre-requisites left (1.5 years until I start applying for DVM programs). I work for a corporate hospital who partners with an online tech school - so my job is paying for 90% of my RVT program & there is an incentive of a $5/hourly raise. Long story short - I really need the money.

List of classes starting now that will be finished by Christmas:
- Finance (online - for my B.S.)
- Operation & Supply Chain Management (online - for my B.S.)
- HR Management Capstone Project (online - for my B.S.)
- Veterinary Office Management & Skill With People (online - for my RVT)
- Medical Nursing for Veterinary Technicians (online - for my RVT)
- Medical Mathematics (online - for my RVT)
- Pharmacology for Veterinary Technicians (online - for my RVT)
- Clinical Externship 1 (online - for my RVT)
- General Chemistry I Lecture (community college - pre-req)
- General Chemistry I Lab (community college - pre-req)
- Molecular & Cell Biology Lecture (community college - pre-req)
- Molecular & Cell Biology Lab (community college - pre-req)
- College Algebra (community college - pre-req)
- Public Speaking (community college - pre-req)

The next 4 months of my life will be a miserable existence, where do nothing but work & go to school & cry into my textbooks regularly.

On a side note, today is my fur babies 1st birthday! 

Benson & Reggie

- C

Why Should You Care About Net Neutrality?

Image result for net neutrality

What is Net Neutrality? 

I'm sure you've been seeing a lot of articles & debate lately on the subject - but do you really know what it is? What it means? 

Net Neutrality is the basic principle that all internet traffic should be treated equally. Internet service providers must treat all internet data the same & must not discriminate or charge differently based on the content, platform or website the data is coming from. Under Net Neutrality ISP's are unable to intentionally block, throttle or charge money for specific content. 

Image result for net neutrality

Soooo how did Net Neutrality originally come about? Well, ISP's were doing shady things they weren't supposed to be doing - for example, throttling content from Netflix because it used a larger amount of bandwidth, AT&T was blocking some users from accessing FaceTime unless they purchased a certain data package (this list could go on & on). (This struggle between users, ISP's & .com companies has been going on since the 90's). I'm going to try not to bore you with all of the "political blah blah blah" - Basically, there was a debate to re-classify internet service from one of information (a public good) to one of telecommunication (a public service). President Barack Obama stepped forward in 2014 in support of this re-classification & in 2015 the FCC published it's final rule - legally protecting Net Neutrality. 

So why should you care? Why should it matter if we have gone all of this time without Net Neutrality & everything seemed fine? 

Net Neutrality preserves your right to communicate freely online. 

Have you ever researched into countries that don't have Net Neutrality? Portugal is the example being used all over the internet, so let's go with Portugal as our example. In Portugal, users of the internet not only pay for the internet service / data itself but all services you want to use are sold in bundles that also cost extra. Social media, messaging, music & video are all sold as separate bundles - causing a huge sky rocket in the price that you pay each month to have access to content. Pay the fees or go without. 

meo internet net neutrality portugal

It also restricts competition by charging fees - who is going to pay to access an up & coming app service when you're already paying for the ones you know & love? (i.e. Netflix / Facebook, etc.) Start up companies can't & won't prevail in that scenario & we're left with monopolies & low innovation. Now this isn't to say that as soon as Net Neutrality were rolled back ISP's would just immediately start throttling all of our favorite services & changing their prices - but those are changes that take place slowly over time. They are rolled out slowly enough that by the time they're implemented it's a decade down the road & you've forgotten what it's like to live in a world with a completely free internet. 

It's not that these practices WILL happen, it's that they have the potential to happen. 

Comcast is a big supporter of repealing Net Neutrality laws. They keep "crossing their hearts & hoping to die" that they won't do any of these naughty practices currently outlawed by the FCC. Why would they want Net Neutrality repealed, if they're making all of these promises not do the very things it outlaws? I don't know about you - but to me that makes ZERO sense. Not to mention they've been caught throttling data in the past. C'mon Comcast, WE SEE YOU

Some people will argue that we're all being a bit too dramatic when it comes to this topic - that those types of internet practices won't happen because public blow-back will be too fierce & it will scare ISP's into being good. Or that intentionally blocking your competitors is in violation of anti-trust laws & will cause the market to regulate itself. None of this means that ISP's won't try or lobby for more legislation in support of throttling the content you currently have access to. 

We have laws protecting the land in our national parks - if we didn't have laws protecting that land, do you think that oil companies would just promise to be good & keep their grubby drills off of the property? I think not . . . 

I know that this issue has been pretty heated lately. I'm sure that I've missed something, so feel free to comment if I've left something important out - or if you have anything to add I'm happy to hear opinions on both sides. 

Voting for / against the repeal takes place on December 14th! 

P.S. who will even read my shitty blog if no one has access to it??? 

Here are some links if you'd like to read more about Net Neutrality: 

- Net Neutrality (Wikipedia)
- Net Neutrality In The United States (Wikipedia)
- Net Neutrality: What You Need To Know Now 
- Net Neutrality: Why Should You Care? 
- Battle For The Net 
- If You Want To See What America Would Be Like Without Net Neutrality, Let's Look At Portugal
- Why Concerns About Net Neutrality Are Overblown 
- Am I The Only Techie Against Net Neutrality? 
- What Everyone Gets Wrong In The Debate About Net Neutrality
- Some Professors Caution Against Net Neutrality Rule Change
- FCC Makes Tone Deaf Appeal to Destroy Net Neutrality & Possibly The Internet 

- C

Favorites: July / August 2017

Excuse my recent lack of inspiration . . . I've had creative block for months now.

The Sims 4 - Oh boy! I haven't played this game since I was probably 15 or 16. I recently downloaded this & I've been playing it off & on for about a week now. If you're looking for a really excellent waste of time, this is a great one. The graphics are great, Simlish is entertaining & I love the music. I downloaded mine from the official website & it was only $40, so it's kind of steal. 

Gilmore Girls - I'm not sure why I'm even mentioning this, as it's always a favorite & I've already talked about it once. If you haven't watched this show have you been living under a rock??? I'm really slow at watching shows - so I am now finally on Season 5. I never thought that I would be a "Team Logan" but I am a convert! In Omnia Paratus, my friends! I think I just needed to inform everyone of where my loyalties lie, #TeamLogan.

Essential Oil Diffuser - These have gotten SO popular recently & I finally jumped on the bandwagon. I love this one - it was inexpensive but it works really well & it's pretty small so it doesn't take up a ton of space. The one that I have is by Radha Beauty & I got it on Amazon (you know, where I get literally everything). I also got a "starter kit" of essential oils but I stick mainly to Peppermint & Eucalyptus. I keep this on my desk & I run it when I'm studying. If I had a nightstand I would have a second one there (someday!). 

Tarte "Lifted" Mascara - This mascara took me by surprise! I got this in a gift set with some other items from Tarte & I hadn't read the greatest reviews about it. I don't particularly like to spend a ton of money on mascara when there are so many good drugstore options but I might have to keep this one around. It only comes in a brown-black shade (which to be honest I've never gone for) but it's so much more natural looking & less harsh than my usual blackest-black! I appreciate brown mascara so much more now! Even though it's more natural it still makes my lashes super full & lengthy & it doesn't smudge, smear or flake (all major mascara pet peeves). 

Maybelline Color Tattoo Eye Chrome - I love these! I wasn't a huge fan of the formula that comes in a pot - so I wasn't sure how I'd feel about these but they are fantastic! I have three shades but "Beige Luster" is my most used. It's a great neutral bronze-champagne shade that is great for all over the lid. Definitely a one-shadow & done type of product! Another reason I like this is the staying power - I work a lot of 12 hour + shifts & this shadow STAYS ON. It's a little magical because I have not yet found any other eye shadow that lasts that long without creasing or fading. Not to mention, it's super affordable! 

Cremo Creme - Lube for your legs! Literally! Game changer! Try this & you will never use regular shaving cream again! I'll preface this by saying that I don't buy regular shaving cream or use it, ever. It doesn't do anything special for my skin or help my shave. I also hate the cans because they are so big & clunky & they leave awful rust rings on the shelf in my shower. Cremo Creme is this really bizarre non-foaming substance that turns into instant lubrication the second it hits water. The razor glides almost like your legs are covered in oil (except they aren't). It rinses away cleanly & it really helps to get a closer shave. There are a couple of fragrances marketed towards women (I'm currently using Lavender) but the men's original is also really nice & has an orange-citrus scent. 

Clarisonic Deep Pore Facial Cleansing Brush Head - I recently needed to buy new brush heads for my favorite facial spin brush & I decided to give this guy a go. I was feeling a little adventurous I guess because I always buy the sensitive-skin brush heads. I don't have very sensitive skin but I find the normal brush heads to be just a little bit too abrasive. THESE ARE EVEN BETTER. I believe they are marketed towards oily skin & large pores but I have normal skin & it works just fine. I think these are even softer on the skin than the sensitive skin brush heads, so if you do have sensitive skin I wouldn't count these out. I also find that this brush head gives a better overall clean. 

Clarisonic Drying Stand - Honestly, it's an overpriced piece of name-brand curvy plastic. That doesn't stop me from loving it. I saw this in the store when I was buying my brush heads & I thought "What the heck?!" & threw it in my basket. I usually have my Clarisonic sitting on the shower rack in my shower when I'm done with it & it gets a lot of hard water build up / gunk on it. I think this brush stand is much more useful for drying & it seems to be decreasing the amount of build up - I'm not sure if it's because it's drying it more adequately. Maybe it's all in my head - either way, I recommend it.

Image result for manchester orchestra album cover Image result for john mayer the search for everything

My current music favorites are the new Manchester Orchestra album & some good ol' John Mayer. I went to Warped Tour in June (I saw sooo many bands but most notable were The Ataris, Emmure, After The Burial, The Acacia Strain, Carnifex, Gwar & Hatebreed). This past month I also saw John Mayer & Matchbox Twenty with Counting Crows. 

- C 

Currently Reading #2

"A Clash of Kings" by George R.R. Martin - The second book in the Game of Thrones series. I'm really trying to like this series. I feel like so many people watch the TV show that it's almost pointless to summarize. In this particular book, winter is approaching, two great leaders are now dead, six factions struggle for control of a divided land. If you would like to read a full summary, I will link you to Goodreads, here. They are great books, especially if you like fantasy, it just seems to take me forever to get through them.

"War and Peace" By: Leo Tolstoy - This book. This huge, daunting, old, 1200 page book. I really like classics. I think everyone should read classics. This is definitely a step away from "Frankenstein" or "Treasure Island" (although I recommend everyone read those too). This book is BIG & it's not the most exciting read on the planet (at least not so far). I'm reading this book 3-15 pages a day. I'll get through it eventually, maybe in 6 months, maybe in 1 year. Reasons I am reading this book & you should try to read it too: 7 Reasons You Should Give War & Peace A Chance (besides being able to tell people that you've read it).

"Geek Girl" By: Holly Smale - I had mentioned before that I am usually always reading at least one fun, light, "girly" book. This is the one I'm currently digging into. This is a YA novel. Before you go ripping into me for reading books written for a demographic I am no longer included in, YA books are great, I was once a teenager & it's nice to read about the woes & problems of teens that are much more minuscule than my own. Also, if you are a female who claims to not like or read YA, you are definitely lying. This book is about a girl who is considered to be a geek by her peers, she is spotted one day by a top-modeling agent & she seizes this opportunity to re-invent herself. The book follows the disasters that ensue. I just started this book a couple of nights ago, so I can't say if I love it or hate it yet.

"Giant Days" By: John Allison, Whitney Cogar & Lissa Treiman - I haven't included any comic books yet, although I do read quite a few of them. My current favorite series is "Giant Days", I am currently on the third book, which is the image shown above. I am impatiently awaiting the release of the fourth book in February. Susan, Daisy & Esther are three college students with dorm rooms next to each other who become best friends. It's about their personal explorations and re-inventing themselves, in the midst of all the chaos that comes with college life. It's hilarious, the artwork is great & it's one of those comics that I just can't put down & will probably re-read more than once.

- C

What Do You Want To Do With Your Life?

. . . It's such a loaded question. It's a hard question to answer for a lot of people, including myself. 

I am 26 years old & I am barely grasping what I want to do with my life. 

Why do we put so much pressure on the need to know? 
Not only that but once you pass a certain age, you start to be shamed for not knowing.

“The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.”
- Walter Bagehot

I was always jealous of my friends & peers who did so well in school not because they tried really hard but because it just came easy to them. They could do well even if they didn't exert any effort. I was always jealous of those kids who knew what they wanted to do & what they wanted to go to college for when we were in high school. I always wish that I could have been so lucky. It's so much pressure on a kid, who barely knows what they want to do tomorrow, let alone for the rest of their life. I've never been a very great student. I don't think it's because I'm not smart, I think it's because I've always lacked the attention span. I always had to work what seemed like five times harder than everyone else in order to pull A's & B's. Other kids made it seem so easy, when for me it wasn't. I never thought that was very fair. Now that I've gotten older & I've thought about it more, I think that classroom learning isn't really adapted to suit everyone's learning styles. Everyone learns a little differently & it would probably be unfair to educator's to make them cater to every learning style - but at the same time it's unfair to students who struggle because of it. I'm sure there are a variety of other reasons that I struggled in school but that's too much to go into here. 

When I first graduated high school, I wanted to go to Cosmetology school. I even went with my grandma to tour a couple of them. I got told by various friends & ex-boyfriends that this was silly, it was stupid, it wasn't a real career, no one wants to date a girl who wants to be a hair stylist, I should go to a "real" college. I'm kind of glad that I didn't end up doing it, I don't think it was my calling - but at the same time, all that discouragement isn't something a 17 year old girl needs to hear. People are assholes. Seriously. Don't try to let other people decide what YOU want to do for you. They aren't going to be doing it, YOU are. So I went to "regular" school. I started at community college, aimed to either be an X-Ray Technician or an Ultrasound Technician but I struggled at first & I dropped out halfway through my first semester. Then when I was 19, I decided to try a regular university, this time I was a biology major, pre-optometry. Being that I'm terrible at math & not dedicated or focused enough to make it through all the science curriculum, after 2 semesters I ended up back at community college. This time I was floating, taking basic courses & electives in an attempt to buy myself some time & decide what I'd like to do. I floated for awhile & finally decided on a business degree. It seemed generic but it could get me a job. After taking a couple of pre-requisite Accounting courses & doing really well I decided Accounting it was. I'm not really sure why I thought this was such a great idea, I'm absolutely awful at math. Now I'm about 9 courses away from achieving my B.S. in Human Resource Management. I have spent 7, going on 8 years trying to get a freaking Bachelor's degree . . . Here I am. Human Resources is something I can excel in, I'm great at paper-pushing, although I know the majority of people can't stand those kinds of jobs. I would still love to do something else, I just haven't really figured out what that is yet, I'm not sure I ever will.

I think the whole point of this blog post is that if you're in a similar situation as me, DO NOT let other people make you feel bad about your journey. Some people get their easily & some people have to do it the hard way. Some people face a ton of curve balls trying to get to where they want to be. I have heard so many jokes about how I've been in school for so long I could be a doctor. It's not OK, people tell me things like that all the time in an attempt to be funny & then I cry later when I'm by myself. I have shed so many tears over feeling like I'm flailing helplessly in a sea of successful peers, about failed classes, poor test grades, about not being where I want to be in life. When you finally feel a passion for something & you are finally handed that piece of paper that says "I DID IT", it will be SO much more worth it for you because you worked so hard to get it. 

Don't let other people bring you down or make you feel like shit. It's your life, not theirs. 

Here are some links to some helpful articles: 

- C