2017;

2017 has got to be the best year thus far.

Jan – March

I spent January settling into my new place, learning the ropes and sorting things out for my farm pracs that would begin in the latter part of the month. I bought my first car – little Marcelo and it hasn’t let me down as of yet. Come end January would see me get one of my best pets: little Thumper the cottontail bunny. Unfortunately, I lost him a month after just as uni restarted as he was free range and ran away.

Farm pracs were good – I’d cleared 3 weeks in total at a dairy, reptile & wildlife park and at a polo pony place. It was exhausting work but a good learning experience. In hindsight I wish I had known more before I’d gone on some of them. But I am glad that I cleared so many weeks that fast.

Uni began and I felt incredibly overwhelmed with the amount of information we had to learn. Year 2 was a totally different ball game as compared to year one; there is literally little to no break when you have classes on every single day. And consistency is key.

I flew back to Singapore and to Bangkok for a short getaway during my Easter break. It was a well deserved one, and I felt happy to be back. I’d come up with this idea that going back for short trips was the best as it only gives you just enough time to meet everyone that matters. And I decided that I would not work myself up with half-hearted offers to meet nor failed plans because I literally do not need them. I also got my first stethoscope!

April – June 

I found that I was terribly allergic to guinea pigs when a whole bunch of them were brought into the room and I started tearing badly. I’d also bought my next pet – Wilbur and sold him eventually as I was being a stingy asshole and have commitment issues. April was quite mellow and chill overall as I clearly do not have any significant pictures.

I received an award for academic excellence in May. It wasn’t special as pretty much half the vet cohort got it, but it still felt good to go on stage to collect it and see my name on the list of high achieving students. It also felt good to dress up in literally my one and only little black dress and spam alcohol and doughnuts because I deserve it.

Exam season came in June. I turned 21 and spent half the day crying because I was feeling sorry for myself and in between 2 important papers. My family came to visit and it felt so strange driving to meet them at a shopping mall, subsequently blowing $200+ at Coles and eating at the pizza place opposite the clinic. We went on a road trip down to Margaret River, Denmark and Albany before heading back up. It was great, if cold. I can’t wait for the day I road trip with a significant other. I have decided that my perfect idea of a holiday would be somewhere cold and where there is a chance of snow because it’ll be so romantic.

July – September

I had 2 farm pracs in the winter break: a goat farm and a sheep farm. Both involved baby kids and lambs so you can imagine how stoked I was. I also spent the rest of my winter holidays potating at home and spam watching shows. It was a good break before semester 2 would begin.

In August I started casually dating again. I got to go strawberry picking, hiking, watching the cherry blossoms bloom and do a lot of things that I wouldn’t have otherwise. If anything it was good to test the waters again, and I feel more comfortable and confident about dating again.

Semester 2, on the other hand, was a nightmare of epic proportions. I didn’t have a great interest in half of the content we were being taught and struggled immensely. I also started my job as a PASS leader and felt happy that I was feeling fulfilled and seeing results. As I’d wanted to be fit I also started gymming and was pleased to see some results. I also made some pretty good friends in vet school, all of whom I am grateful for.

October – December

It was exam season and it was terrible 2 weeks and 7 papers. To be honest, now that I’ve emerged triumphant on the other side it wasn’t that bad. But it was a struggle through and through and I feel fortunate that I’ve somehow managed to do even better than I had in semester 1.

I went home for the second time this year and it was legitimately the best trip back that I’ve had. I officially completed all my farm placements and met with all my friends. Now I am currently back in Perth working, saving up and hopefully inching ever forward and learning more. I just honestly wish to graduate and find a good place to work for my first job. And save, and hopefully ‘make it’, in all aspects – professionally, relationship-wise and finally finding a permanent place to call home.

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On getting fired

My first ever job at the age of 17 was being a casual banquet attendant. It was hard work and paid shittily at only $8/h but I often worked with friends which made the whole ordeal more bearable. On my last day at work, I somehow smashed 18 ceramic coffee cups due to a mistake – I’d thought that trying to open the door whilst carrying two cratefuls of cups would save me time. And so I dropped one and nearly all the cups shattered. Luckily I got away with it as my coworkers helped me cover it up.

As of late, I’d found a job working at a dim sum place for some extra cash because I figured that it beats bumming around during the day. The pay was shit but I did it anyway. And because I am a klutz and am admittedly slow when I try to be careful, I often got scolded by the boss that played games on his iPad whilst everyone else was in a tizzy. I basically felt exploited because I was expected to hard sell ridiculously marked up drinks and I was not entitled to a single moment of not doing anything. And I was getting angry at how they were telling me off for things that were beyond my control.

I am not slow if the entire restaurant has about 12 tables going and only 2 staff scrambling to seat, serve and clean up after. And because I was klutzy and stressing over being scolded I’d accidentally dropped a glass cup yesterday. Today I did the same mistake again – not from handling the cups incorrectly but through sheer carelessness and I think the boss was about to scream. So I basically cleaned up the shards, was given some cash and was told that I need not come back again. And I think that I’m supposed to feel like shit for not even being able to work at a shady restaurant (the lowest of the low) but I don’t feel remorseful at all. Which is why the boss was even that angry, I think.

Anyway, that was how I got fired from the lousiest place I’ve ever worked at because I broke a glass cup and I think it was simply because I didn’t give a fuck, was not deferent enough to the boss and hated it. Sucks to not have some extra cash but that gig was one that I do not need. And I have learnt my lesson to never again work at a Chinese-run restaurant because f&b is clearly not for me.

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I will be heading back to Singapore in 4 weeks’ time, and whilst I suppose I am looking forward to being back I do not really truly do. I have booked a week of farm prac and am possibly going to stay for a little longer than a short week for once. And amongst the bits of Singapore that I am looking forward to its possibly the friends, the food and my dog, given that she still remembers me.

This semester has been so exhausting as of late. The past 3 months have honestly felt more like a year considering the amount of change in my life. I have new relationships, tried to maintain old ones, gotten new gigs and find myself juggling more than I have ever imagined myself balancing than ever before. I have been trying so hard, and seeing so little progress and gotten sucked into the toxicity of a culture I have longed to leave behind. Even so, I have succeeded in more than one ways this semester – and for that I am grateful. I don’t quite regret the days I went out and explored this city instead of studying. And I suppose that is my attempt at achieving a balance between work (3 now) and my studies.

Otherwise, whilst extremely busy and stretched thin at times, I am okay. I have achieved more than I could have ever dreamed of when I first embarked on this journey 2 years ago, and I am more determined than ever to pursue my dreams. And even these dreams change – I have a completely different goal in mind compared to when I first started vet school. I genuinely hope that I do indeed make it against all odds, best if I do before I turn 30. I count myself fortunate that I am almost completely free to dedicate my entire being to being the best I can be. I don’t think that there is anything that could possibly hold me back. And whilst a lonely path to take, I am confident in myself.

At least a little bit.

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.

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.