Isolated thoughts

Category: For future reference

41.

This evening I reached my car on autopilot mode and had a cold slice of pizza from the free one I managed to snag from the common room. I was hungry and incredibly drained for I had spent the previous two nights getting up at 4am for work. Up to today I still do not regret my work, and I find it incredibly rewarding. But I always wonder if there is a better alternative; a more carefree and yet beneficial position to have but I think that I am doing okay.

Someone asked me if I have cried over my studies before and I said that I hadn’t. Simply because I had entered this year mentally prepared for the jump from the first, and I had experienced the worst kind of helplessness and prevailed. This is not to say that I don’t experience any stress at all; that’s a lie. I still study and try but I do not beat myself up over things that I do not know, and neither do I panic at the thought of learning what appears to be an insurmountable amount of information. And hell, if a competitive streak keeps me in the game I’d play it to my best.

Instead, I think I cry over the more sentimental things. Beneath the usual coldness and apathy lie my sensitive and human bits. And I cry when I feel sad, when people cry over their losses and when I am tired.

I just wish to not feel tired all the time.

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20.

I’d always been a very quiet child. I found my joy in stories and tales of the unknown and brave, and dreamnt of an idyllic existence somewhere far away. As I’ve gotten older I learnt to keep quiet more because I disliked small talk and realised that words could be very combative and hurtful. Silence, for me, is contentment and alone time has become the ultimate prize. Sometimes I wonder if I’m just anti social and boring (highly likely) and I doubt my ability to relate to others (which isn’t that true at all).

I find that I can completely empathise with my friends when we talk about our struggles and disappointments in life. Neither is it difficult to feel what they probably feel and try to comfort them. I feel like I can feel exactly what my friends feel whenever they talk about their life stresses, boy trouble and the like. It’s not difficult to step into their shoes after experiencing similar instances at all. I reckon that I’ve just gotten very weary of trying to build lasting relationships with new people – it’s not an easy thing to do at all. Some days I think that that’s my downfall and the bane of my existence. I haven’t found enough of my kind of people in the world, and the few that I have I cherish very dearly but I would like to find more.

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11. 

I personally find social media to be quite a handicap. Whilst I wholeheartedly appreciate being able to see snippets of my physically distant friends’ lives, which is very important when you’re 3000 miles away from home, I do not think that this means that I have been catching up with them. Silent viewership doesn’t foster any connection, and I feel stifled by the number of “friends” that I feel obliged to have on my social media feed. Many of whom I do know and have talked to before, but will probably never speak to again. Therefore I have been quite relentlessly pruning these lists as of late, because I find it tiring having to scroll through unnecessary posts that I am unable to appreciate. I won’t say that I don’t care, but I find this need to simplify and shut off from anyone who is unhealthy or very far gone from where I am currently at, and where I want to be.

In the recent days I have been thinking about the transition from year 1 to 2, and so on. In a mere 45 months I will officially become Dr Jo, given that I pass every single exam on my first try. At work I like to laugh about how I have 4 years to perfect my stethoscope skills or my injecting skills, but really, it isn’t quite that funny sometimes. 45 months seems like a very short time before graduating. I have 9 months of cramming theory into my brain, 12 months to learning how to perform clinical examinations, and a mere 24 months before I conduct my very first surgery. These thoughts make it easier to waddle through the mountains of information presented every day, and it keeps that little spark in me, however weak at times, alive.

1. Beginnings

My new year will be spent administering medications to ill animals. I was quite stressed for one of the dogs had chewed through its drip tonight and I have to administer something every 4 hours or so; there goes my sleep. I do not mind though, for I was thinking of watching Spirited Away and filling in this Life Planner I bought on a whim from kikki.K. It was $6 and a steal: I hope that it would be fun and meaningful to fill in.

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We have new pets in the house: two stick insects named Twiggy and Pop. I’m still afraid of holding them on my hand hence the sleeve. They are free range and make up the centrepiece of the new table, and I am afraid of killing them with my ignorance. They poop a lot, and it sort of grosses me out but they are easy to care for and clean up after.

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I actually wanted to get myself a guinea pig/rat/mouse as a pet, but I do not know if I am allowed one and I cannot get myself to commit to one. With farm pracs and the current situation where I might get busy at night, not to mention university studies eventually, I am not sure if I can handle caring for it. The possibility of illness and veterinary bills also scare me, and the added financial burden is not one that I can commit to easily.

It seems silly to get a pet though, for there is always Morrie for company if I so desired. Also, working with animals almost every day with very temporary, fleeting contact fills the void (I miss Hun Bun terribly). I enjoy learning more about and handling animals that I have never handled before though, like this dove!

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I’ve gotten some stationery for the new school year super in advance, which was fun. I am looking forward to university beginning again, and I’m quite excited to get myself a car in the next few months.

This all makes me feel very ‘adult’ if it makes any sense, having to make decisions such as investing, choosing mobile plans, paying for the bills, purchasing a car and maintaining it, and driving about alone. I quite enjoy it. Not so much doing laundry, cooking and cleaning up. But if I’m going to do this I’m going to make sure I’m damn good at this domestic shit by the end. At the very least I can cook a pretty decent fried rice and breakfast now.

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I have learnt that the beaches have snakes and sharks, which can kill you. Despite much discussion and debate about whether we should ever enter the water again, we still went ahead to the beach to swim on the last day of the year.

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The beach was close to a port, hence the containers. I quite like it, it was quiet and the weather was beautiful. Sunny but also windy so that you don’t feel that burnt. I would miss driving this car – it makes me feel badass (which, of course, I totally am).

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I watched Your Name last night. It was the first time I have watched a Japanese movie, and it was really well made and it made me tear at times. I’m a sucker for bittersweet endings.

I do not have any specific new year resolutions this year. I only wish to take on the year with grace and faith in myself and my abilities. I shall turn 21, have many other firsts, learn a lot of things in the pursuit of veterinary science and also, about myself. This, and my best, shall be enough.

2016: In hindsight

Now, there are still 3 days left of 2016, and as always, things change very quickly sometimes but this is just a reflection of my year. It has been the most insane, somewhat unexpected and quite trying, and I still do not grasp the multitude of everything that has happened at times, really.

January

My new year’s was spent in Chiang Mai, Thailand for I was there playing my last softball tournament with NUS. At that point I did not realise, but it would be my last Chiang Mai Open, and for that I felt quite wistful, for it marked the close of a 7 years journey playing softball. We took the sleeper bus down to Bangkok and it was a good few days shopping, cafe hopping and basically chilling. I doubt that I would get to vacation as such until I am done with my degree.

The rest of the time back in Singapore was spent working, tying up loose ends, applying for my visa (bloody long and tedious process it was) and just figuring out the impending leave. I was quite excited for the new life abroad, despite being completely and utterly clueless for what was in store.

February

I left on the 10th, on the third day of Chinese New Year. I was fortunate to have been able to meet many friends in the week leading up to my departure, and for that I am so very grateful, for it was wonderful. I recall the night before leaving quite clearly at the bar, as well as the last minute packing rush on the morning itself. I wasn’t expecting much of a send off, for I wanted to leave quietly, as though I didn’t exist. Sometimes I still wish that I could live without any form of attachment, but that is not the case.

There was orientation, driving about panicking because of unfamiliar roads and basically being left in an apartment with 7 other girls and having no idea how to feed myself. I had not known how to cook rice, meat, or even an egg despite ‘practising’ with friends beforehand. The end of of this month was also when classes began, and I felt so underwhelmed for this was nothing compared to juggling 6 mods, tuition and other commitments back in Singapore.

March

I cannot remember what happened very well, so as I type I am looking through pictures on my phone.

I explored Perth and its outskirts with my friends. We went to Penguin Island in Rockingham for the very first time, and participated in some International Student Festival in the city. I also went clubbing (at a gay bar, nonetheless) for the very first time and felt quite overwhelmed. I visited Cottlesloe beach for the very first time, Fremantle at night and saw the most amazing sunset at South Freo Beach and swum for the first time at North Freo’s beach. The month was one of exploring, and it was so very exciting and exhilarating.

I did the silliest shit like drinking till 3am at someone else’s place, getting tipsy at the beach and it now feels like a complete whirlwind of a month where I basically went with whatever I had felt, screw the consequences.

April

I did my first dissection of a piglet, went to Cottlesloe (again) before it got too cold and went up to Hillary’s to get our wifi modem, which we aptly named MagicMike. It was starting to get cold, and many of my nights were spent on the phone.

May

The work was piling up, and it got a little overwhelming at one point in time. Amongst all the assignments and things to prep and study for, we took a trip down to Albany. It was an incredibly cold and stormy weekend, and so I was quite afraid but excited. We visited insane rock formations, windmill farms, monuments, clambered through rock faces and visited the most vibrantly green waters. This does not mention the huddling through storms, the cold night in the backpackers or the hail that rained down on us.

June

The start of the month signified the end of classes for the semester and the beginning of the exam period. I was quite unafraid, for I had stupidly entered the uni exam hall not knowing shit (it was accounting fml) but still passing back at home. I was quite confident given the amount of practice and work I had put into my subjects despite how inane some of them were, and the results came out well. I had a short break before heading back home.

July

I hated this month back at home, and if I could, I would have chosen to never had gone home at all. There was a lot of uncertainty that I struggled with, and a lack of support from those whom I had desired it from. I do not think that I would expect people to be supportive of my endeavours anymore. I wish I had the luxury of wealth to take a trip somewhere else to just be alone to grieve and recover. It was quite traumatic, for I felt like breaking down all day and holing up in bed to waste away (all 40kg of me) and quite simply couldn’t because how does one do that when there is no private space to do so?

August

Semester 2 began, and it felt quite full on. I had wanted to throw myself into my work but there really wasn’t much that I could have done at that point. Since getting good grades had become more of a habit and a bit of a game to me, it seemed like fun seeing how much I could push it yet still achieve the results that I desired. I went for a lot of walks to see the horses that lived on campus with my friends, and it helped me quite a bit. I made new friends, surrounded myself with people who cared for me and tried new things here and there. We also had animal handling lessons, more for the vet students and so I was very happy whenever Wednesday afternoons came around.

September

I volunteered more, friends came over and we met up which was what I needed, went for bootcamps to get my ass handed to me on Saturdays and attended workshops and talks. The workload got quite intense for once, and I tired myself out in a good way, which helped.

October

We explored more areas around the uni, going to the lakes and whatnot. Had more exciting adventures going out, drew blood from a sheep for the first time and the prank war continued. Went on an overnight adventure to star gaze at the Lancelin sand dunes, which was amazing. Started preparation for exams, and it was a good time.

November

Classes ended about midway through, and more was going on despite finals being just around the corner. I was quite at odds with myself, quite confident for certain papers yet kind of winging some others. I did stupid shit like movie nights before finals, going to the beach between papers to see the moon and panicking during the sheep handling exam. I still ended up with the results that I desired – 4.0 GPA for once in my life, coming from someone who had grossly underperformed in her first couple of years in secondary school and junior college with GPAs of 2.5-3, this is good.

I think that having a consistent and honest work ethic speaks for itself, and is reflected in one’s results. For sure, grades are not everything and people value very different things, but having gone through the 13 years of education as I have I’ve found that consistent hard work has never let me down.

The end of the month also marked the time when I would move out of the student accommodation on campus, and into my new place. I had taken a big gamble on it, and it had worked out in the end. Packing made me quite wistful and whilst I wish that I was still in such close proximity to people whom I know I can count on, this new opportunity was very hopeful. We had a Harry Potter movie marathon, and I enjoyed my time thoroughly before I left for a short trip back home.

December

I spent 10 days in Singapore in a very different manner from which I had once lived or experienced before. I no longer count the days, and am quite accepting of whatever happens sometimes. I moved in quite hap-hazardously with little idea of what to do and expect, but it has worked out.

I feel like my current situation and reality is very different as compared to what I had once expected it to be, which is not bad in all honesty but it does surprise me. I don’t think that I will be leading the life of a more normal international student – I do not foresee myself having the luxury of 3 to 4 months back at home for summer at all. What time that others get to spend back at home in a year, might in all honesty be all the time that I get to spend at home over the course of 5 years. And this makes it seem so long and gruelling even though I am merely at the beginning stage of this marathon.

Now this blog has been something that I have used to document my journey from 2014 to 2016 – a whopping 3 years with at least a post in every month. It has followed me through the crucial A level year, mess of getting to vet school and the ongoing catastrophes that happen in my life (lmao). And with 2017 being another very significant and new year, I was hoping that I would be more consistent with my thoughts. I was thinking of checking in every Sunday, for all 53 of them and we will see how this consistent posting progresses. It can be anything – a quote, poem, song, or reflection, but I just thought that it would be interesting to try.

As I leave this as my last post of 2016, I just wanted to let the future me who’s probably looking back on this know that you have made it through what you once thought was your darkest time, and were successful at that. Also, whilst it is good to prepare for the worst, don’t forget to be the stupidly optimistic kid you are as well.

On to 2017!

2 down, 10 to go

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The past semester was a huge struggle for me – I was extremely affected by certain circumstances, the loss of some people, and basically trying to move on and acclimatise to a new reality. At the beginning of the semester, I felt like I was doomed, for I could barely function, focus in lessons or even care about it. I felt panicky, worried that I wouldn’t do well and live up to my own expectations, but was so lost and struggling with so many emotions that I couldn’t get my shit together.

This is a defining semester – with me stepping out of my comfort zone several times, going for interviews, volunteering, socialising, healing and above all, having made it through far better than I’ve expected.

I am satisfied.

Aries my foe

Today, I had my animal handling practical examination. And let’s just say, well, I’m really bad with sheep. 

I started with cattle and got a cute Murray Grey. Got thrown off when I saw that it had no teeth (like wtf how is it alive then) and so my guessing of its age was totally gone. Supposed that it had to have loose teeth and said that it was 7+, randomly guessed a weight and BCS whilst I was at it. Tied its head up with nose grips as well, did a lactation test and tied the cow’s hind leg to the far post. Then, I made a temporary halter and tied a flank rope. And that was it. I felt like I did alright, I was confident when I answered the questions and am quite sure that I was right. I’m guessing that I passed it. 

Then, it was pigs. Pigs were alright. I moved them but held the pole whilst using the stockboard, which I have no idea what I was supposed to do about. The pigs moved quickly and then I did snaring and answered questions quite confidently. Picked a piglet up for a wellness exam and also for blood collection, and I suppose that I did alright. Answered a lot of questions confidently again and I think I did well. Pass. 

The third station was sheep followed by sheep (it was broken up). For the first, got through sheep tools, breed and definitions alright. Then came tipping. And I managed to do shearer’s method, but failed to do farmer-shearer’s which made me feel quite screwed. Like, big problem. Then had to tip a sheep, age it via teeth, condition score and guess its weight. Also had to find a specific sheep in a pen. Got it quick. Then went out and felt like crap for a good while coughing puking and shit. 

Second portion of sheep I had to age and condition score a sheep and I think I was slightly off with the BCS because it was a fat sheep. Couldn’t tip it, got another small one and couldn’t do farmer-shearer’s again. Then tipped it via folding leg method and tied it up alright. Got blood. I don’t know, I just feel bad about the whole damn thing with sheep like god. If anything, theory can possibly pull me up but I don’t know how much. I really do not want to go through that ordeal again. I think I might have to though. 

Last station: horses. I’m confident because hey, been riding them since I was what, 8? But I got a difficult horse (my friend caught her prior to me and couldn’t put on the bull bit or use the twitch with her). Managed to get the bull bit in after quite a bit of effort (invigilator commended my persistence hooray!), twitched another horse with no problems, and successfully read the brand, identified the breed, colour and markings. Also aged correctly I think. Had difficulty picking up its feet but it did eventually, and I think I did well for identification of body parts and tools. Definite pass. 

I hate feeling incompetent, which comes with not being able to do something that I have definitely done before. I don’t know, its not like I’ve never done farmer-shearer’s before but I just feel so weak and incredibly pathetic wrestling an animal that probably weighs less than I do. I don’t know if I will pass either for sheep but that’s okay, I have another shot if I fail, and I will know it by tomorrow. I will be pretty stumped if I did fail cattle though, I know it. I’ll be surprised if I do fail pigs and horses. 

At least if I failed I have taken down what was tested and know how to work to get enough marks to pass. Such is life. 

9/15

Oh my goodness. The past three days or so have passed by in such a flash. Life is just going by so quickly that I haven’t really been stopping to catch a breather, which I am finally doing tonight. I need to reorganise my life. Its a complete mess (in a good way). The next week will be pretty fun with volunteering, classes and interviews, all of which I’m looking forward to immensely. 

I’ve learnt so much this week and have had quite a good time despite the crazy schedule. Mid-terms and presentations went rather well given that I reached the stage of not giving a shit anymore. Also, I’ve had really good company these days in uni. I just found that my statistics tutor was from Singapore and a RV alumni! I’ve attended talks on feline behaviour, a career as an equine vet and just yesterday had a workshop on horse hoof care! It feels really good to be learning more in my spare time off classes that are relevant to my future, and even better to be getting hands on opportunities on cadavers. 

Now I have a (hopefully lucky) horseshoe on my topmost shelf. I used to have one from pony club camp back when I was little, but it has since been thrown away. 

I have found the teaching style here to be so supportive and encouraging. Everything is complimented. “Oh, you’re doing great! That’s really good!” “You should consider a career as a farrier and forget about being a vet!” “You guys are really talented!” “You’re really good at bevelling!” It’s very different from what I’m used to, where your best is never really enough and compliments are hard to come by. I clearly remember the day my aunt shot me down for my A levels, stating that her friend’s son had 8 As. It made me so mad. 

I don’t believe what they say – I’m so awkward with the tools, and the cadavers that I trimmed never looked as good as those that others did. But I’m so grateful for having had such great teachers, resources and experiences, and am even more thankful that my parents love me so much to let me pursue these dreams of mine. 

I found that I’m pretty happy to get down and dirty if I have access to a washing machine and a hot shower afterwards. What normal Singaporean young adult would be able to say that they know how to (amateur-ly) file a horse’s hoof, or remove a metal shoe from it? To be honest I’m a complete loser and actually hammered my left thumb the first time I tried to remove a nail from a hoof, but that’s just the horrendous hand-eye coordination and clumsiness that I have to bear with. I am basically a self-mutilating future vet. I made my right thumb bleed and bruise the other week from attempting the bucking bull machine and now this. Can someone please save me from myself? Note to self: it might be a good idea to get a doctor as a future boyfriend. Mhm, best idea I’ve had in a good while. Except that we’ll both be crazies working in the medical field, and we’ll be the epitome of biological hazards and dysfunction since we’ll probably be unable to function after shifts and have silent supper dates after work. 

I think it’ll be really funny to come up with a list of qualities my future husband should have, just to look back on and compare when or if it happens in the future. Let’s limit it to 10:

  1. Be completely accepting of and enjoy my weirdness – I’m not that strange, I just have a morbid fascination with biology and have a huge heart for animals (and probably him). 
  2. Support me in my dreams, ambitions and endeavours, as I will support his. I appreciate being cautioned or advised at times though cause I’m not the most thoughtful when it comes to certain decisions. 
  3. Learn how to deal with an upset me – which basically means a bawling mess or an angry little thing. 
  4. Love Honey to bits and pieces. She’s a spoilt little thing, but if someone dates me they date her too, because Honey is my baby and she will be at the wedding (I swear unless I don’t get married in say 9 years’ time)!!
  5. Accept that I can be insecure, vain and very flawed. So never ever call me ugly even though I’m a lazy ass and often look pretty horribly tired on most days. I give my all for my work, and if that’s how I’ll look like giving my best then please love me for it. 
  6. Be optimistic and humorous. I try to be, but it gets difficult sometimes. And I absolutely adore a good laugh as long as its not at anyone’s expense. 
  7. Make the effort to communicate with me. 
  8. Commit to and prioritise us, and be able to work with me to make the best decisions for our collective future together. 
  9. Never say hurtful things to me. I don’t think I would be able to handle a significant other using a harsh tone on me. 
  10. Accept that I will probably collect a harem of animals and will expect him to treat them like our kids. 

I have been talking to my classmate about the future a lot. The topics of what kind of veterinarian we want to become has popped up so often, and I am so confused. I know that, realistically, I will become a small animal veterinarian. But I have always loved the idea of practising on all animals – cows, sheep, horses, pigs, you name it. I’m not so much interested in exotics, but I do want to take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way in the coming years. We also talked about practising when we settle down and (maybe) have children. 

I’m not sure if it is because we are slightly older, 20 and turning 21 soon, that we ponder over these things. I’m so skeptical as well – I have a lot of ambition, and how is settling down possible when you have so much that you’ve yet to do?!

I have one week of study break before the last 5 weeks of school. Time to get things done and end this year with a bang, I’d say.