Monday, December 06, 2004

"All families are psychotic"*

I was talking to my mother just now and was telling her how frustrated I feel because I was talking to a colleague who's a bit older than me, and managed to take more exams than I did last year, on less study time, apparently. I've always known I will be a very good vet (or so I tell myself on good days) but a very poor vet student. I lack the ability to memorise and projectile-vomit a whole compendium that sometimes seems to have no relevance whatsoever to what one does as a vet. I fail to see how, for instance, learning ALL THERE IS TO KNOW about photosynthesis will help me be a better professional. I fail to see how exams all year round are productive. I fail to see how some dated curricula are going to be of use in our future. Above all, I struggle through this degree like a moron because it’s all about memorising and visualising spatially - two things I am dramatically bad at. I need to read and write the same paragraph over and over again until I’ve got it memorised and THEN there’s still a good likelihood some of it will be forever lost in the stressed and traumatised recesses of my brain during the actual exam.

My mother is fully aware of this. She saw me studying for anatomy and knows all there is to know about how appallingly terrible I am at remembering what goes on which side (I am a bit dyslexic spatially) (oh fuck, more than a bit, I get lost everywhere). For one of the exams I took a sheep keyring with me and had the sheep in all positions imaginable so I could figure out what was left and anterior or right and posterior or cranial-medial blah blah blah [N., very NOT funny, especially when you suddenly notice a pair of legs standing next to you and the assistant's voice says "Why is there a sheep frollicking on your pad?" and what can you do but answer "Because I can't remember if the mesoplagiomeric plan is the green one, the pink one or the orange one do I! And please DON'T just stand there and stare at US because you're making me nervous!"] [This colour thing is rather tragic, I memorised ALL blood vessels and nerves for anatomy because that's the only way I can understand what is where and how big what is - and what fun the drawing was, I CAN'T DRAW EITHER! - and then, during the exam, managed to only remember the colours. "So this vessel is called...?" "Well, right now it seems I CANNOT tell you its name, but I CAN tell you it's the bright blue one, that gives off the pale pink branch and continues as the orange artery first, and then the dark green one." Last year she actually told me during classes "Mind you don't draw a blank and remember only the colours during the exam AGAIN - which I'll insist you take with ME, of course." Well YOU open up a sheep's abdomen and work in EXCRUCIATING HEAT with fluids soaked ALL THE WAY up to your elbows and fat hanging from YOUR HAIR, while LYING on the rumen waiting for it to BLOW UP from gas and your bodily pressure and WHAT SMELLY FUN THAT WOULD BE, and let's see how you'd perform. I did take the exam w her AGAIN, I got a leg this time (THANK YOU GOD!) and I, dahlings, was BLOODY BRILLIANT. Even my colleagues were amazed at all the shit I knew. So THERE.] [The keyring bit was especially funny because he later returned as I slowly and discreetly banged my head against the pad - don't know what to call it, you know those tiny tiny chairs w the writing pseudo-table/board attached? that's what I mean - anyway, this voice says "Why are you now banging your head against the table?" and what can you do but answer "I'm just resting, I think better with my eyes closed, please go away." and thankfully he did]. So my mother, while watching me struggling, would shake her head and say “Such a pity you didn’t take after me in this” because my mother can take the bloody sheep image and even mentally cut it into all sorts of plans and intersections without batting an eye. She KNOWS how hard it is for me.

Now, I KNOW my colleague and her brain is wired differently, i.e., she has a more pragmatic, analytical mind. She likes labs and structured thinking, she memorises things easily and can remember them better as well. It doesn’t matter, I know all this, I know my intuition is my biggest asset and will come in handy for diagnoses but for now? The pits. I still feel like the biggest fraud that ever walked the earth and wonder if all the rumours about my intelligence were not grossly exaggerated.

I have told my mother over and over again that asking me every two days how I like it this year, and whether I find it easier and more interesting, and whether I’ll pass all subjects, DOESN’T HELP. I’ve BEGGED her not to do it. I’ve told her I’ll tell her as I go along. How the HELL can I know NOW? And how does the bloody constant questioning help my peace of mind?

She was there in that memorable year I spent - I shit you not - 8 months, from the middle of March till the middle of November, cooped up at home cramming non-stop (and this was after a brief respite in the March, because studying actually started in December for the exams throughout January AND February). She knows I haven’t had a holyday since I started vet school. She knows I have a hard time reconciling the test-proven brilliancy of my intellect with the fact that it takes me three times as much time to study for any subject than any of my colleagues, even the ones who are downright DUMB. And then I’m more than happy with a 10 (out of 20) because that’s all I need to pass and, quite frankly, I don’t think I could do more and for great grade average, please refer to Anthropology degree. And she knows I worry terribly about 2 subjects in particular, Biochemistry - all 800 pp. of “summarised material” PLUS the lab exam - because I have no theoretical basis whatsoever (haven’t had any Maths, Biology, Chem or Physics since Grade 9) and WHO THE FUCK can memorise 800 pp???; and Bones, because all I have to do is memorise EVERY little hole, foramen, ridge, tuberosity, process and so forth of the skeletons of 9 [NINE!] species (Horse, Cow, Sheep, Goat, Pig, Dog, Cat, Rabbit, Chicken) AND be able to tell EVERY FUCKING LITTLE DIFFERENCE between them. GO HERE for a human sample, then picture having to know the template [Horse] by heart PLUS all other species. Compare and describe at will. Yes. And for Bones, my dahlings, guess what one ABSOLUTELY NEEDS. Why yes, spatial proficiency. There you go. Oh, and for kicks, we have 3 exams, the 1st one being the Theory one, and having NOTHING to do with bones, just loads and loads of pages re types of scales, ligaments, the definition of every little accident on the bone, the classification of joints - and if you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about just BE VERY VERY GRATEFUL because it’s the stuff nightmares are made of and I just wish, how I wish, I could throw myself in the river RIGHT THIS FUCKING MINUTE and let all this misery be over NOW.

Thus this conversation came to be:

“I was so frustrated the other day while she was talking to me, she is OLDER, has LESS time to study and still she manages it!”
“*Clucks in suffering*”
“Well, but I know how she does it, do you know why she has it easier?”
And wouldn’t you know it, faster than a speeding bullet came:
“She’s better organised?”

YES MOTHER, THAT’S EXACTLY IT! If only I were better ORGANISED I wouldn’t have a problem would I! It’s simply a matter of ORGANISATION, why hasn’t anyone mentioned this to me before? My life could have been so easier! Why didn’t I think of that myself? I am denser than I thought! I’ll just go and BLOODY ORGANISE myself now, why don’t I, and ALL MY PROBLEMS WILL BE OVER.

I'm so happy I rang her. Thank you, Mother, so much. That’s ALL I needed to hear. Really.

You see my frontal bone? You see this part here, right in the middle of it? That’s where you need to shoot me. NOW.



PS - You know what, Mother? Now I’ll NEVER quit smoking. HA!

*Go here for title

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At 6/12/04 16:11, Blogger squarepeg said...

I'll shoot you if you'll shoot me. Enough torture already! On second thought, maybe a suicide pact isn't the best way to go, since I still need to teach my daughter to get organized before I leave this sphere, to ensure that she will have a trouble-free existence. I'll let you know when that's accomplished.

At 6/12/04 16:13, Blogger Noorster said...

Aaawwwwwwww chamuda, I feel your pain. I really, really do. I'll trade you some of my gift for spatial visualisation if you'll take a bit of the laziness with it. At least you're not lazy.
And Biochemistry! Last time I had to study it was in 11th grade and I'm still fuming with hatred.
Hang in there!
(The sheep keyring bit was funny.)

At 6/12/04 16:33, Blogger The Lioness said...

S., please do, yes. And then give my mother a ring will you, and gloat. Suicide pact sounds good, my people will call your people.

N., is it a joke??? I'm VERY undisciplined which is why it's even harder to sit for, I don't know, 12 hours and cram!!! The keyring - yes, that reminds me, go re-read that part, need to update. Yup, HILARIOUS.

At 6/12/04 16:53, Blogger Savtadotty said...

Ever since I moved to Israel, I'm inspired to make technical innovations. You need an invention I'm working on: The Mother Voice Filter.

It filters out all the useless (or worse) things your mother says to you before you hear them, and all you're left with is the rest. If there is no rest, you get your favorite music playing instead.

[Guess what I'll invent after that?]

At 6/12/04 16:56, Blogger Ana said...

Oh man, that really sucks. I really don't miss my studying days. Hang in there, only a couple more weeks till Christmas.

At 6/12/04 17:02, Blogger The Lioness said...

I HATE bloody Christmas, the whole country goes bezerk!!! And after christmas come exams! And after that, more exams! And then, come summer, MORE EXAMS! And then, September, MORE EXAMS!!!!!!!


At 10/12/04 00:36, Blogger CarpeDM said...

Yes. The sheep keyring part was funny. The rest of the sheep part was scary and, as a Sheepsheadian, I am a little frightened.

Yeah, my mom drives me nuts as well.


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