The Craziest Week of Vet School

My goodness, what a week. After Thanksgiving I really took the ground running. Hard. I think I studied more last week than I ever have in my life, and I learned more in 3 days than I ever thought was possible. This weekend was a quick gasp for air before the 2 week sprint to the end of the block, and to winter break! It is really rewarding though to work really hard and then actually know things.

I didn’t really cook much this week. When I was home for Thanksgiving, we had vegetarian chili, and I brought back the vat of it to have for dinners every night.

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This was really the first week of vet school where I felt like I didn’t have time to cook. Luckily, I have a ton of easy/frozen meals for the next couple of weeks when it picks up again!

On that note, I have a few snippets for the week.

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New spin shoes! Finally. My old ones were 4.5 years old and while they held up really well, they were a little gross.

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Her new favorite toy. We got it in Napa for her, and she falls asleep on it.

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I am so, so, SO glad we decorated. A lot of time was spent on this couch or in this room last week with my notes. It made studying feel cozy and (somewhat) fun. Plus my study buddy, who honestly is in it more for the blanket than for me. But look how cute she is!

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Thursday, test day, was one heck of a long day. I got up at 5am to get a little exercise and then last minute studying in before the last, and then the day ended up not going according to plan due to some technical difficulties. When I finished my test, it called for one of the chocolate milk stouts I’ve been hoarding since February from St. Louis.

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I watched a movie on the couch, drank this, and baked pumpkin bread.

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I made healthy flourless pumpkin bread (with oat flour). At first I didn’t love it and felt like it was kind of bland, but it’s grown on me. I actually like it better NOT hot out of the oven. I used a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and a teaspoon of cinnamon, and I thought it could have used a bit more spice! It tastes and feels really healthy though, so I’m happy eating it at all times of the day! (And with my schedule…I basically have.)

This weekend for me has really been about relaxing and recovering and doing my best to prepare for the next couple of weeks. I got to break out my favorite Christmas sweater on Friday (and failed to take any pictures).

Saturday and Sunday were a mix of lazy and productive.

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I got a mint tea latte as study rule, plus a lavender cookie.

And then spent the evening watching Elf with my roommate and her friends.

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Sunday, I went into Sacramento to take a spin class. It was at a boutique studio downtown, and it was a lot of fun! The staff was also SUPER nice and welcoming. I had originally planned to do that and then go to the gluten free bakery for their Sunday only donuts, but they weren’t making them this week for some reason. I found this out AFTER I signed up for spin, but I decided it would be good for me to get out a little bit anyways. After class, I got a little pastry that was sort of like the inside of a cinnamon roll, plus an egg sandwich. Both were delicious!
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I spent a couple of hours afterwards at a Starbucks doing school work. I never really thought about this until this year, but it’s REALLY nice to get out of a college town to study. All the coffeeshops here are always SUPER full of students, and it’s nice to go to a quieter, emptier spot!

In terms of workouts, this week was a little bit different. It was all about time efficiency, and doing what I needed. My Crossfit actually had a little mini competition that I failed to sign up for and regretted, but I was tired at the time and such is life!

Monday:

20 minutes of HIIT spinning in the morning because I had Thanksgiving weekend sugar running through my veins, and Crossfit in the evening.

Tuesday: Crossfit

Wednesday: Kickboxing at lunchtime. The Health and Wellness club here brought in a kickboxing instructor to teach us vet students a little lunchtime class, and it was perfect timing because I legitimately did not have time to workout that day! It was fun but kickboxing is clearly not my forte. My coordination is not quite there!

Thursday: Weightlifting on my own. I did a super quick workout (despite having to wait for a barbell…seriously, before 6am??) of 5×5 back squats at 165#, single leg RDLs/calf raises, and a few minutes of abs. Those squats left me SORE.

Friday: Crossfit

Saturday: Gym workout by myself. After my test, I was having a hard time getting my body and mind to relax, which is a really important thing for sustainability in terms of my physical health and my ability to keep working hard. I could also tell that maybe I wasn’t getting quite enough exercise (plus lots of sitting) and while my diet was honestly fine, a few extra sweets here and there can affect me a little bit. Anyways, the point was I wanted to hit it fairly hard at the gym but didn’t want to spend a lot of time waiting around for a barbell, so I made use of dumbbells. Here’s what I did:

5×12 lunges with 30# dumbells

7 minute AMRAP:

Push press/RDLs with 30# dumbells

3-6-9-12-15-….

(This was a variation of one of the competition workouts.)

4×10 single arm dumbbell snatches (35#)

4×10 box jumps (24″)

A Blogilates ab video. This is the first full length one I’ve bothered to finish lately!

Sunday: Spin

I mentioned it last week, but I want to reiterate how important it is to know yourself. My body was feeling physically stressed and I had to recognize that and how to combat it. In some ways vet school is like some type of endurance training. You work hard, and you recover hard. That’s honestly how I felt about this weekend. Rest and get ready to hit it again!

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Thanksgiving Weekend in Napa 2017

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving! I know mine was! It was just the break I needed, and now it’s back to reality! i’m going to keep my recap as brief as possible for 5 jam-packed days, because I need to get back to studying (or sleeping).

I left after class on Tuesday and made great time! I got back just in time for happy hour with the pup.

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For dinner, we got pizza. GF for me!

Wednesday morning, I was up early and ready to attack the day (…or aware of how much schoolwork I had…). I started the morning with a quick workout in the backyard with the uninvited help of Chloe. I did 20 minutes of 5 push ups, 10 russian twists (each) with a 20 pound med ball, and 15 squats.

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It turned out to be a good one, and I was actually sore the next day!

Then, it was time to see the podiatrist about my ankle pain. It’s definitely not broken, nor a bone bruise. I’m a weird case but the diagnosis is an ankle sprain, and I have an ankle brace to wear. So TBD.

I spent the afternoon on schoolwork, catching up on some lectures. The first I watched in the car on the way to pick up my turkey trot bib (my mom drove), and the second I watched with a furry friend.

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For dinner, we had Cooking Light’s Chicken, Apple, and Butternut Stew recipe, which we added spinach to and topped with aged cheddar. YUM.

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Plus cornbread!

Thanksgiving morning started early with the turkey trot!

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As you may recall, my ankle has prevented me from running for the past 3-4 weeks. Besides soccer (which was sketchy). So I had no idea what was going to happen. The above snap is referring to my plantar fasciitis as well which has for some reason flared up as well…So yeah, I had zero expectations and just hoped to finish in one piece!

The weather was perfect; nice and warm compared to what it normally tends to be!

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Right on time, me and 22,000 friends were off!

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Given I hadn’t run in a month, imagine my surprise when 8:10 pace felt really easy, and I casually was a few seconds off my PR? What?? Even better, my ankle was shockingly good. It started getting sore about half a mile in, then loosened up and felt good! So that was unexpected!

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On the way home, I stopped by to meet my sister’s kitten, Ash.

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Then, we got ready to head off to Napa!

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When we pulled up the the hotel in Napa where we would have our Thanksgiving dinner, imagine our surprise when we saw this:

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Turkeys! And definitely not wild, just hanging out on the front lawn. It actually turns out they’re fire refugees, and showed up when their home burned down in the wildfires.

Then, it was time to eat!

Plate 1:

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Cheese, sushi, and most importantly, pumpkin soup!

Plate 2:

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Mashed potatoes, turkey, cranberry sauce, heirloom carrots, and two highlights: purple polenta with green olive relish and roasted brussels sprouts.

Dessert:

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Cheesecake, pumpkin pie, raspberry mouse cup, chocolate covered strawberry.

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Friday morning, my mom and I did spa treatments, and then it was time for wine!

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The first stop was the Bistro in St. Helena.

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We shared a grilled artichoke, and then I had an avocado salad with fresh mozzarella and olive oil.

We did our typical St. Helena things, including a trip to the pet store, Woodhouse Chocolates, and a gluten free chocolate chip cookie split 3 ways for dessert.

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Our first winery of the day was Pine Ridge. They have a really good and unique white that is really reasonably priced at Trader Joe’s, and we’ve passed the winery so many times that we decided we should stop in! Plus the grounds were beautiful.

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Cabernet Sauvignon is their specialty. The staff was super nice. I’m not super into red wines, so they let me sub out some whites in their tasting. Even though it’s not my thing, I could tell the Cabernet was good quality!

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We ended up getting a great discount on the tasting from our hotel too! For our next stop, they pointed up across the road to Robert Sinskey,

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This ended up being a great suggestion. We all enjoyed the unique white wines we tried, and I even really liked the Pinot Noirs we tried. They also provided little snack plates with their tasting, and they even made a special GF, nut free plate for me!

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Our last stop of the day was Domaine Chandon for some Black Friday shopping.

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Cheers!

We also got delicious truffle popcorn.

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We made it back to our hotel just in time for hot chocolate and the tree lighting!

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Saturday morning, I went for about a 2 mile run. The loop around the property has always been one of my favorite places to run, and I’ve run along there every year for at least 10 years. This year was different. Tons of houses along the loop were just gone, after the terrible wildfires. The set of condos next to where we were staying was wiped out as well, rooms that I’m pretty sure we stayed in at one point. It’s so sad, but the positive is that people are moving forward and already rebuilding.

As for the run, my ankle wasn’t having it and I cut it off early, opting to instead meet my parents for a breakfast buffet.

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Omelet to order!

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We did our typical shopping and eating in the morning, and then headed out by way of Napa Smith brewery.

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It was a great discovery! They had a ton of different options, and we enjoyed tasting different things.

The rest of the day was spent studying with my favorite study buddy, and watching STANFORD BEAT NOTRE DAME. What a game!

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Sunday morning was spent taking an awesome spin class, studying, and more studying. IMG_6569

My mom made vegetarian chili for lunch, and then I baked Chocolate Zucchini Banana Bread, and added fresh cranberries. Yum!

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For dinner, my dad grilled chicken for salads with shredded apple and aged cheddar.

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Finally, it was time to make the trek back. Traffic was surprisingly fine, and I made amazing time! When I got back, my roommate and I got the house ready for Christmas, including a tree!

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And the cat!

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She didn’t TOTALLY hate it. She definitely didn’t like it, and walked around super awkwardly! She looked adorable though!

And that’s a wrap!

 

Learning to Take Care of Yourself

Happy weekend! And Happy almost (SO CLOSE) Thanksgiving! If you can’t tell, I’m a little bit excited for Thanksgiving. Just a little. My friends and I had Friendsgiving last night, and I made my Grandma’s butternut squash soup and cranberry relish recipes (found here).

The cooking process was interesting given I made to make a large quantity of soup, and my blender is a little single serve one. Also I hate chopping onions. My eyes go crazy. Apparently sunglasses help though, is what I learned! Everything came out really well, and it was such a fun evening with my friends (and kitty).

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Despite a crazy week, I’ve been managing to cook some and eat well! A new recipe I tried and loved was Pumpkin Turmeric Soup with Quinoa and Brown Rice. It came out really well, and the seemingly fancy soup was ready in less than 10 minutes. That’s 100% my jam.

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In terms of food, I’m still staying seasonal.

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Eggnog yogurt+persimmon.

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Double chocolate cranberry bread from the freezer (we won’t talk about how old this was; it was still good!)

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Persimmon and cranberry chèvre salad.

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I FINALLY cooked up the butternut squash I bought. I microwaved it (LOL) until it was soft enough to scoop out, then I sautéed it with some butter, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, salt and pepper.

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Not seasonal, but definitely a highlight. After our final (for this block…one more block until Christmas!), some friends and I went out for beer (Saison). The place we went was right next to my favorite coffeeshop with amazing GF muffins, so I picked one up for dessert for that evening! YUM.

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In terms of fitness, I finally got official confirmation that my ankle is not fractured (which I basically knew but I didn’t have access to the x-ray results yet). It still bothers me quite a bit but I think it’s finally getting better. I can walk a lot better. I tested it out by running a mile last week, and it was okay but not great. Good enough for a Turkey Trot, but then not running again for a bit. I literally have no idea what I could be, but for now I’m trying to be gentle with it. I finished another round of squat program, ending with 1 rep at 195#. It actually felt fine, so that’s good! I maxed out deadlifts at 225# which is nowhere near my actual max, but it’s fine. I also went to hot yoga the other night, and it was actually really nice. It was a cold evening, and I found a cooler spot in the room so I actually enjoyed it! I think I’m going to try to go to yoga more while my ankle fixes itself (hopefully).

On a similar note, I want to talk a little bit about getting in tune with yourself. This has been on my mind after a crazy couple of weeks. In vet school, I’m finding that my biggest study limitation is not lack of time or lack of motivation, but lack of mental capacity to study that long. Monday night, before the first part of our final, after 8-5 of lectures and studying for the test the next day, my brain just shut down. I had to recognize that trying to push through at that time was not going to help me, so I went to bed and woke up early to finish studying. Even then, I was still just so tired. After class on Tuesday, I knew the final the next day was something that I had prepared for a lot already, so I did some last minute studying and took the night off to rest up my brain. And it helped a lot. In vet school, in the field of veterinary medicine, and outside of it, any job that requires a lot of hours/studying/focus, you have to learn how to take care of yourself. You have to be in tune and recognize what you need to do to perform your best. For me, that was taking some time off on Tuesday. That being said, you also have to be prepared. Because I had studied plenty prior, I was able to do that. I knew that I would be pressed for time at the beginning of the week, so I tried to work ahead as much as possible. These things (vet school, etc) are HARD. But they’re manageable. And to get through, you absolutely have to recognize yourself. The same goes for attitude. I’m a pretty positive person, but I found myself getting a little stressed, and complaining more. A negative attitude can downward spiral really quickly.

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Not only that, but ti definitely rubs off on other people. Suicide rates in the field of veterinary medicine are astonishingly high. I think it’s more important now than ever that we take care of ourselves and others, to give patients the best care possible. I’m not saying that someone who is depressed can just “decide” to have a positive attitude. But do what you can, look for the little things, remember why you’re here (there is no shortage of furry and adorable animals in vet school). It’s all about perspective. That’s why I love when what we’re learning has a direct clinical application; when I’m studying, I try to connect things as much as possible.

All that being said, I truly am enjoying vet school, but I wanted to put that little message out there because I know school is only going to get harder from here!

Fall Fun and Fall Food

WHEW. Last week was a week…several tests and lots of class and assignments…On top of that, the mystery pain in my ankle bone was still bothering me to the point that I went to urgent care Thursday night for x-rays. Thankfully, it seems like there is no break, and I have an appointment with a specialist when I get home at Thanksgiving. For now, I’m trying to walk in a way that doesn’t hurt and I’m avoiding anything involving running (minus soccer…whoops).

I was a day ahead of myself all week so it was a great time for a 3 day weekend!

I was missing my college friends, so a trip outside of Davis on my day off was just what the doctor ordered…Friday morning after a couple of hours of study time, I drove an easy 1.5 hours south to see my college roommate. It was so, so nice to see her and chat about life. Her persimmon trees were absolutely GORGEOUS!

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We chatted for a while before whipping up a delicious lunch. We made fall-themed salads with hard boiled egg, butternut squash (cooked in the microwave, then sautéed with turmeric and garlic salt), chicken, and sunflower seeds.

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After lunch, it was time to pick some persimmons! (Also…admire her adorable kitty).

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There are two varieties of permission; one that has to be eaten soft (the pointy ones) and one that is perfect crunchy. It’s a little early in the season for the soft ones, but I managed to find one and of course ate it right off the tree (which was horribly messy.) We spent about an hour picking while chatting on the phone with another one of our best friends. It was so much fun to talk to them both, and to pick persimmons! I may have gotten a little carried away…

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I, um, went home with over 40 pounds of persimmons. However, they keep a really long time, and I’m currently averaging 3 persimmons a day (and I’m sharing), so I’m pretty confident I can finish them!

That day was the perfect fall day, and the perfect break from vet school.

Since we’re talking about fall, I recently realized that Thanksgiving is almost here, and I’m running out of time to eat all the fall foods! So I decided to make that a priority! Here’s what I’ve been eating:

Breakfasts

“Chocolate” yogurt (cocoa powder and maple syrup) with blueberries and sunbutter.

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Such a perfect fall breakfast: pumpkin Noosa yogurt and a persimmon.

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So fun fact: I like to eat my persimmons sliced up. On the side, yogurt with pumpkin pie filling (don’t judge; it’s less sugar than pumpkin butter!) and sunbutter.

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Lunches

A variation on my typical weird but quick and easy go to salad: chopped salad with american cheese, guacamole, and ketchup, topped with an egg. On the side, I made some amazing cinnamon apple tea, that I stirred fresh ginger into. Apparently I actually have a lot of tea in my cabinet that I’ve never tried.

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Ok, this really is pure fall. Salad with persimmon, cranberry goat cheese (I love this in salads), and chicken.IMG_0071

Subway salad with turkey, provolone, veggies, oil and vinegar, salt and pepper. Nothing new here. Plus avocado.IMG_0072

My typical salad.

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Pear and cranberry goat cheese salad with chicken and a side of leftover roasted butternut squash.IMG_0080

Another persimmon salad.

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Chipotle with classmates after volunteering at a clinic that Davis puts on. I feel like my Chipotle order isn’t super conventional. I get a salad with fajita veggies, chicken, corn salsa, fresh salsa, and of course guac.

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Dinners

Roasted carrots, roasted zucchini, and my baked tofu (breaded in nutritional yeast/onion powder/garlic powder).

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Zucchinni pad thai.

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Trader Joe’s pumpkin soup (the fresh one). Super good. I’ve put quality cheese in it. It’s good with aged gouda, but I think it’s even better with aged cheddar! Toast on the side.

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Ok, this was a good one. Roasted butternut squash, parmesan, dried cranberries, over a bed of kale massaged with balsamic, olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Side of the same tofu.

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More pumpkin soup with a GF ciabatta.

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Same salad, except with chicken. For this ciabatta, I spread the center with butter and a little fresh garlic, and then wrapped it in foil and put it in the toaster oven.

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One of my favorite forms of zucchini: noodles seasoned and tossed with parmesan, and then topped with Harvest fall pasta sauce.IMG_0088

Super simple: zucchini scramble with soft garlic and herb cheese, and avocado toast.

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And finally for dinners, this may not look like much but it was delicious! Roasted butternut squash with parmesan and an egg. I wish I had more squash left for this meal!

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Sweets

Blueberry zucchini bread from the freezer.

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Ok. So I bought a big can of pumpkin pie filling. I mix it with egg white, then microwave it for a little makeshift crustless pumpkin pie. With whipped cream of course.

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No egg this time; cold pumpkin filling with a GF cinnamon cookie and whipped cream.IMG_0082

I had a fair amount of Halloween candy leftover (we got all of 1 group of tricker treaters, and I was grateful just to get any!), so I brought some to school, and then made banana bread with some. I chopped up milky ways and 3 musketeers.

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Thursday evening…I impulse bought a cake at Trader Joe’s. It was 100% one of those weeks, and this was delicious. I stuck some in the freezer for later also!

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We routinely have bake sales at school to raise money for clubs, so this weekend I made GF brownies. I had to try them first (this is actually a time when I had to try them…I’ve never used a GF brownie mix before. This was Betty Crocker).IMG_0098

Etc.

This is my new favorite thing. A tea latte with soy milk. I found a coffeeshop where you can get any type of tea in your tea latte. This was peach apricot!

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Honey lavender beer.

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Decaf cappuccino for study time!

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And now, after that long post, it’s time to hit the books (or…the iPad…).

Day in the Life: First Year Vet Student (Fall 2017)

As, promised, here’s my day in the life as a first year vet student! Every day and every week is different, but today is more or less typical!

5:55am: Alarm goes off

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I start getting ready for the day, and try to keep my roommate’s talkative kitty quiet.

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She actually settles down instead of following me around meowing this morning.

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6:20: Quick breakfast before running out the door. I have a flapjacked muffin and a few crackers.

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6:40: Leave the house and realize it’s trash day. Whoops. In vet school I never can keep track of the days. I take out the bins on my way out.

6:45: Arrive at the teaching hospital. This morning I volunteered for the treatment crew for kitties burned in the Sonoma/Santa Rosa fires. We’ve gotten a ton of kitties transferred to us, so students come in in the morning and evening to take care of them to help out the normal hospital staff.

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8:30: Finish the morning treatments. We finished a little bit early, which means I don’t have to sprint to lecture! The kitties are the sweetest things.

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9:00: Lecture. With a lollipop. We’re doing immune system/hematology right now.

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10:00: Lecture.

10:50-11:00: Take a quick walk before our 11:00 lecture to get the blood flowing!

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11-12: Lecture

12:00: Lunchtime! I packed leftover zucchini noodle pad thai with scrambled egg. I accidentally put too much sauce on, so I threw in some lettuce.

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1-2: Lecture/lab. We’re looking at pictures of bone marrow aspirate and identifying cell types, and underlying diseases.

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2-2:15: Meet with my group to discuss how we are going to attack our group take home test/homework assignment.

2:30: Home! This is the earliest we’ve gotten out in a long time, and it’s because the other half of our class has a 3 hour lab this afternoon (we have it Friday). I have a snack and watch a short TV episode. I usually take a break when I first get home because my brain is fried, although today was pretty light so it doesn’t feel as necessary!

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2:50-3: Start typing up this blog post.

3-3:30 Random stuff around the house. I bag up leftover Halloween candy for our group meeting, keeping out some for a baking project!

3:30-4:15: Go over lecture notes and make a study guide. For each lecture, I go through the slides (I take notes directly on the slides on my iPad. That thing is my life.) and make sure I understand everything, and summarize it all into a study guide. Colorful pens are mandatory. I try to go through all the lectures on the day of, because it’s easy to get behind, but some days (like Monday when we had 5 lectures) that isn’t practical. I get through one lecture so far.

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Everyone has to find their own method of studying in vet school, and thus far this has worked really well for me. When I’m studying for a test, I can read through my study guides fairly quickly, although I still go through the lectures as well. Right now the study guides are enough and I don’t need flashcards, but that might change . Flashcards are more time consuming and part of vet school is optimizing time. Our next unit is nutrition, so I may need to start using them with that!

4:15: Get ready for Crossfit!

4:25: Leave for Crossfit.

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I wear running shoes because I’m trying to give my feet more cushion (my ankle bone has been hurting) and we’re not doing anything that involves squatting or any movement that would require flatter shoes.

Also: I really like this version of this song. The first time I heard it I thought it was the weirdest thing, but it grew on me.

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4:45-5:30: Crossfit! I go to the 45 minute condensed class. It’s the same workout as the regular classes, but the pace is faster. We do 10 minutes of EMOM kipping pull ups, and I do 5 each minute. I feel like my strength would allow me to do more, but my hands get bruised and ripped.

The WOD was a 15 minute AMRAP of

30 sit ups with a 14# med ball

200m run

30 push ups

200m run

I only got to 2 and a half rounds!

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When I get home, I make dinner right away and turn on Game 7 of the World Series! I can stream Xfinity, but what it lets you stream is weird. I can’t stream the World Series…but then I realized a couple of days ago, there is a loophole. I can stream the Spanish broadcast! I’ll take it! I know some Spanish, so I understood some things!

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6:00: Sit down to eat. On the menu is Mexican style zucchini noodles. I season the zoodles with smoky seasoning, and then stir in Harvest salsa, chicken, and reduced fat Mexican cheese blend. Guacamole on the side.

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For dessert, I pull a piece of pumpkin banana bread from the freezer.

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7:30: Finally mute the game and get back to work. Normally I’d watch one show episode during dinner and then start studying, but Game 7 of the World Series is a special circumstance, clearly! Instead of going through the other lecture from today, I start working on making a giant diagram of all the immune system stuff we’ve learned this block. I really like putting everything together.

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Somewhere in there, I snack on a granola bar. It’s so crumbly I have to eat it over the sink or I’ll make a mess. Annoying.

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A cuddle break was taken also:

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9:00: Astros win the World Series!

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9:15: Break to blog. My diagram is done for now. Rina is snoozing. She often comes up and meows at me when it’s time for bed!

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I’m going to sign off now. I’m going to take a crack at my immune system homework problems I’m meeting with my group about tomorrow, and then I might read for a few minutes. I’ll probably call it a night around 10:30!