Isolated thoughts

Category: For future reference


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.