I'm glad it's the third week of the semester, with only 5 more to go before spring break and the commencement of my much more sleep- and sanity-friendly schedule.
Week 1 was pretty good, sleep-wise. Week 2 got a little rough, as I started to feel the impact of 7 hours or less of sleep several nights. I also got up at 6 am on Saturday and spent the day at a handbell workshop in Colorado Springs, which was fun but didn't help my sleep/productivity.
This week, I let myself skip running and "sleep in" till 6:15 on Monday. Today was the best: my 9 am anesthesia recitation was held over at the VTH and was divided into two sections of the class for each rotation, so being in the second half of the alphabet, I got the time off and I have my recitation next Tuesday instead. That meant I could sleep in till 7 am and still go running.
Classes are going ok. I'm discovering which I like and which I don't.
Business Law has been pretty tedious. It is really annoying to have to hike (think speed-walking) halfway across campus in less than 10 minutes, and back again. We spent all of last week talking about the structure of the U.S. government ("a long flashback to middle school civics," as one of my vet school classmates put it). At least the class is organized, starts on time, and is well-run, which is more than I can say for several of my previous business classes!
Shelter medicine has been both interesting and a bit dull. We've talked about some intriguing topics, but we always run out of time for discussion and several of the lectures have had some unnecessary repetition. We are supposed to find out the details of our big semester project later this week, and they've opened up an online discussion board, which will hopefully get people involved.
Problem-based learning was pretty awesome last week (we've only had 1 real class so far). I like my group, and we seemed to work well together -- even the one group member that I don't particularly like for one-on-one conversation was pleasant when included as a group of 6. We are working up a case of a middle-aged poodle that presents for episodes of weakness and confusion. Last week we took a history from the "owner" (our group's facilitator), made a problem list, thought up differentials, and "ordered" some lab tests and got the results.
Surgery has had its ups and downs. Ups: Today we got to practice suture patterns using real suture, real surgical instruments, and carpet pads with fake incisions in them! Turns out suturing is harder than it looks (ok, I knew that). I watched some instructional videos last night in preparation for this morning's hands-on practice, and thought I was doing pretty well today until the director of the VTH (also a board-certified surgeon) came by and told me I was tying slip knots instead of square knots... whoops. Downs: Trying to learn about suture patterns in a lecture format for two hours (prior to today's lab) was really ineffective and a waste of time. It's not something you can really explain in words, without images and hands-on experience, particularly to students who have never sutured anything before. Learning about the characteristics of different kinds of suture material was also really boring.
Anesthesia has also had ups and downs. Both of our recitations have been pretty dull, but the lectures have been okay. We just finished learning about all the components of anesthetic machines, and our recitation this week and next week involves hands-on experience identifying machine parts, hooking up breathing circuits, testing pressure and looking for leaks, etc. We have a one-on-one oral/practical exam on this material, held later in the semester with individual anesthesia faculty. Mine is unfortunately not until the end of March, and will be with the assistant dean of the vet school (also a board-certified anesthesiologist) -- a bit intimidating.
Clinical Sciences I is a good class. It's cool to learn about medical problems with a comprehensive perspective, and to get to apply that material to case-based exams and homeworks. It is a really intensive class, so I'm trying hard not to get behind. We have a huge variety of lecturers during the half-semester on various subjects, so if you don't like somebody, it's never too long until someone else is lecturing.
Diagnostic Imaging has not been fantastic. I have trouble learning from this particular instructor, and it is always hard to learn to interpret radiographs when you can't see them well on the projector and they don't print well in your notes. I've dusted off my Imaginoscope and am bringing it to class every Monday and Wednesday.
Theriogenology... oh, theriogenology. Looks like theriogenology is to this semester as toxicology was to last semester. We have had the same instructor for all of our lectures and labs, except for one lecture by a different professor who happened to be much clearer, more coherent, and organized! The good news is that I'm in exactly the same boat as everybody else: confused about therio and absolutely unsure what I'm supposed to be learning and how I'm supposed to learn it. The bad news is that we aren't covering particular complicated material, and it should be easy to teach. I need to look for some reference books and learn this stuff on my own.
CLH is busy with work, school, and his musical "Bye Bye Birdie" which is playing this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and for which the actor playing Conrad Birdie was just replaced yesterday... good luck! (I mean, break a leg!)