Tails of Vet School

BlogHer Original Post

So exams are over, for a while. I am doing my best to really stay on top of my game in the coming weeks so that I don't feel so incredibly overwhelmed when exams come around. I saw some interesting research regarding how much more information one retains when you look over your notes every night, versus just every once in a while. So, that's what I'm trying to do...but its still really hard. Looking over notes for 22 hours worth of classes every night doesn't give you much time to do any assignments for those classes, or anything else for that matter. So far I am seeing an improvement in my comprehension though. Usually I study stuff before the exam and as I am studying I know that it will really take 3-4 more days for these concepts to fully "sink in". I am trying to avoid that for our next round of exams...that starts a week from Monday.

On that note, I used to be really irritated about having multiple exams on a day, or in one week. But this last round of tests was spread out over 3 weeks and it gave me very very little time for anything else. And, though I was thankful I didn't have any weekend events that prevented me from studying, the distraction might have been nice. Marathon studying makes me feel like a zombie, and I think it's making me vitamin D deficient.
Overall though I am continually amazed at how little I actually knew before I got to vet school, how much and how quickly I am learning things now, and how I really feel like the more I learn, the less I know.
I really did feel like I had a good grasp on things before I got to vet school. I had quite a bit of animal experience, and I understood stuff...I thought. Turns out that was not really the case. I am amazed at how little tidbits of information completely change my perspective of the way I used to see things. It feels like I have been let out of a box, and I am slowly able to see more and more of the complete picture of veterinary medicine. Before, I did things because I was told to, or because it was a pattern of the way things had been done before, now I am slowly learning the why behind each of those things. And from a big picture I suppose it makes things more complicated--because there is more at stake, and more to think about. But for me it makes things much easier to understand, I know the "why" behind them, its easier to justify doing it.
And, I am continually amazed at just how sharp this learning curve called vet school is. I find myself watching "Grey's Anatomy" and "House" with new found understanding. "I know why that potassium overdose made that lady die." or "Hey, I know why apapillary muscle rupture would kill you!" or even simple things like "I know where the hepatic artery/T1 pedicle/brachial plexus is!" Its simple information, after all we spend our first year just learning normal. They don't even introduce us to disease processes and pathology until 2nd year. But even just knowing what normal is, and how things work makes me start to feel like a real doctor, and I really like that feeling.
But, all this knowledge comes with a price. The more things we learn, the more things we have to learn. There is a puzzle concept called a fractal, in which the puzzle itself gets infinitely more complex with each layer you solve and the details just get more and more detailed. I think that is the perfect analogy of learning medicine. I want to fully understand all of the concepts that are being taught to me, to know the how and when and why to everything. The really frustrating part is that I will never get there, no one will. The body is so infinitely complex we will never fully understand it. I suppose that's a good thing though, because if we did, we wouldn't need medicine anymore.
I am trying not to get too caught up in all the minute details, just to learn the concepts. I mean that really is enough to learn considering I have to learn all these concepts for at least 6 different species (and trust me, NO, they are not all the same). I have a LOT more to learn already...some homework that is mocking me right now as I type and put it off for 10 more minutes.After all, it is a REALLY gorgeous day, and I am running low on my vitamin D.