Canoeing Adventure

My boyfriend Kevin recently bought a fairly priced blowup-canoe for us to use. We do a lot of hiking so we were looking for other things we can do outdoors. Kevin had only been canoeing once when he was about 12 or so on a family vacation. I have done a lot of kayaking growing up, thanks to my aunt Nancy and uncle David! We always go kayaking on family camping trips. However, I think it’s been a few years since I have been on a kayak and I have really missed it.

So we went to Lake Nockamixon and canoed for about 2 hours. It was scary at first because we thought it might deflate and tip over easily. It was actually very sturdy. We weren’t able to go as fast as an actual kayak, but we still picked up some speed. Being out on the lake is truly an amazing feeling. I was a little nervous about canoeing (even a little worried I’d get bored or too tired), but once we got out there it was such a blissful moment of peace. For anyone who has never gone kayaking or canoeing, I highly recommend it!

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It’s that time of year when everyone is starting to really stress over classes. Luckily with my half-semester, I feel way more at peace. But the stress is certainly contagious. Just hearing other students talk about how stressed out they are makes me feel stressed. My clinical pathology class is the toughest. What makes it worse is that the woman who teaches the class is lazy and confusing. Everyone complains about how hard she is to deal with. I appreciate teachers who care about their students doing well – but this lady does not care when her students fail because it’s not her problem.

I was feeling really good this morning… just one of those good moods that hit you and you have no idea how long it’ll last. After coming home from class and getting on my laptop, I started feeling extremely anxious. I can’t really explain why. Part of it was feeling sort of lonely – most of my friends are so busy and wrapped up in their own lives these days. But I was also thinking about the election. People are beginning to rip each other apart on Facebook and that makes me really sad. The presidential election is no excuse to be rude to others. According to a recent article I read, never in U.S. history have presidential candidates been so hated. Both Trump and Clinton are painted as monsters who will ruin our country somehow, someway. I am sick of all the fear. These are just two people with two agendas. I’m still not registered to vote and I’m starting to think I do not want to be involved in something that causes so much hatred. Maybe the USA is just too damn big. Too many conflicting opinions. Ideally, I would want a presidential candidate that every single citizen had the chance to meet face-to-face and have a real conversation about our country. Instead, we rely on a bias media to tell us who to vote for. I think you can tell A LOT about a person by simply being in their presence.

Anyway… enough political rambling… my point is that I was feeling really anxious earlier today. I texted Kevin and told him how I was feeling. He suggested I take a short walk by myself. I thought that was such a perfect idea. I live at Fonthill apartments which is located right next to Fonthill castle. So I walked down the woodsy trail that leads to Fonthill castle and to my surprise, my worries melted away. It’s amazing how therapeutic nature can be. No one else was around, so I just sort of let go and explored. I even did a cartwheel, knowing that if someone happened to walk by right then they would definitely judge me for being weird. I walked, I meditated, I climbed, I jumped, I even fell down. I didn’t even care. I laughed.

The presidential election reminds us that there is a lot of hate in the world. It reminds us we are seriously living in a war zone where anything can happen. All of those people feeling that hate, I want them to take a solitary walk in nature and let themselves be healed. Let them feel the freedom of no longer being restricted by time or judgement, even just for a brief moment. My nature walk today reminded me that our world needs nature, and I will always fight to protect this earth.

Pumpkin season approaches

The semester is going by faster than I thought. Two weekends ago, I went exploring Peace Valley again with Kevin. This time instead of taking our usual hiking trail by the nature center, we went to the lake area and walked through a small valley. He was trying to find fossils by chipping the rocks with a knife. Apparently they are supposed to be more common than you’d think. He didn’t find any fossils, though he did find something close that looked like a leaf fossil with a cool pattern.

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Then the following week, my family – parents, sister, aunt, and gram – came to visit my apartment. We started with dessert: ice cream at the market. The salted caramel was delicious. Kevin was finishing up his shift and joined us for dinner at Uno’s. Obviously I had pizza with garlic. I came home super stuffed with leftovers for later.

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I started cat enrichment, which I do 2 days a week. The little kittens are so adorable and they are only nine months old. They were just recently added into the lab. The last batch of cats were adopted into homes (people who already worked with them before, like lab techs or instructors or previous cat enrichers) after about 4 or 5 years of being in the lab. Those were the cats I worked with my sophomore year. Now we have a fresh litter and there are 8 of them this time instead of 6!

My classes are going well. Though it’s still very early in the semester. My first exam is this Friday. So far my labs haven’t been too bad. They are still challenging… but a healthy amount of challenge. So far. They have also been pretty interesting. In repro we toured the school’s sheep farm and in clin-pathology we’ve been working with blood (not to sound morbid… but blood is my favorite!).

I’m so glad that the weather finally cooling down. Being stuck in a humid classroom is horrible. I’m really looking forward to graduating. Instead of buying an expensive yearbook, I decided I would make my own personalized yearbook instead. I started a project on Shutterfly and put collages together of the best photos I’ve taken during my years at Del Val. It brought all the memories right back. It’s crazy how every semester was so different, but they each had their own pros and cons, I can’t say that any semester was better or worse than the others. It’s also interesting to think about all the people that have come in and out of my life, who stayed and who drifted. When I was putting it together this weekend and thinking about all my memories, it felt so happy and so sad at the same time. Sad that the memories are gone and how people and life circumstances are always changing. But happy that I got to have all of these amazing experiences that I will keep with me for the rest of my life. It’s bittersweet but it’s something important.

Cat Enricher

I signed up to be a Cat Enricher at Del Val for the semester. Cat Enrichers provide care and enrichment for the lab cats at the college. I was a cat enricher during my sophomore year and I really enjoyed it. The following year I volunteered at a cat shelter (Cat Tales) about 20 minutes away from school. It was awesome but the commute was too long to keep up with. Then, the following year was when I got hired to work at Paws-itively Healthy. Now that I’m taking a break from work to focus on school, I still have some extra time to do volunteering again. Working with dogs was a wonderful experience but it really made me miss working with cats. So I’m super ecstatic about getting my cat-time again.

Throughout college I have always been thinking about what to do with my degree and what type of career path I’m looking for. I have been keeping my plans open on purpose because I don’t want to close myself off from something that could be perfect for me. Yet I still need some kind of direction. My two main interests in small animal science are: behavior and care. For a while I’ve been debating between training and care taking. After taking my small business management class, I’ve been inspired to start a small business of my own someday. I really enjoyed that class, it was an invaluable experience. Though I know I would have to be much older with a lot of money and a lot of land before I could do it.

If I started a business it would definitely involve cats/dogs. Some ideas include boarding, daycare, or breeding. But as of now my favorite idea is opening my own animal sanctuary. When it comes to saving animals, I think that would be my best way to do it. There is such an overpopulation of companion animals that shelters are euthanizing ever day. And if I had enough years of experience as a veterinarian technician, I could save on vet bills by performing (simple) procedures myself. So until then, I can gain vital experience working with animals in shelters, kennels, labs, and vets. I’m really excited about my future career path, mainly because I can’t say for sure where it will take me. As long as I can help the world.

Last Saturday I went on a small hike with my boyfriend Kevin. We walked a trail about halfway until we realized it was actually a bicycle trail. That explains all the hills and the twisty turns. We wanted to walk by the dam but it was closed off since it’s a drinking water source. Kevin is going to start working at the market again! Today we have off for labor day, too bad I already have Mondays off, so it makes no difference to me.

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Back to school

About 2 weeks ago, I started my final semester of college. Del Val has been a crazy adventure. I’m looking forward to graduating. I’ve had enough of tests and presentations. I only have three classes to get through this semester – physiology of reproduction, clinical pathology, and senior seminar. They’re all going to be pretty tough. Reproduction should be interesting and I’m excited to see what this class has to offer. Clinical pathology is going to be difficult because 95% of the students in the class are pre-vet students.

I have learned so much at Del Val… but something especially interesting I learned that most people don’t realize is the reality of being a veterinarian. My professor during freshmen year (who used to be a vet) dissuaded us from planning on becoming a vet. He told us that getting into vet school is nearly impossible. He told us being a vet is a hundred times harder than being a human doctor. And yeah, if you think about it, vets have to learn about all the animals and doctors only have to learn about one. Today in lab, someone mentioned how the vet field has the highest rate of suicides and depression. Yikes!!! I have to applaud my fellow peers who have already sent in their applications for vet school (which cost them thousands of dollars just to apply).

Today in clin path lab, we made blood smears, stained the slides, and looked at them under a microscope. To my surprise I kept up with the pre-vet students (for now…). I have to start appreciating these little opportunities I get as a college student. Even though my major is difficult, I’ve had so many unique experiences in lab that I wouldn’t normally have.

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My very last “first day of school” photo

I stopped working at Paws-itively Healthy for the time being. I “officially” left the day before school started but I ended up working last Saturday morning. Sometimes the job can get really annoying (especially the heat stress) but being around dogs is an absolute joy for me. My favorite thing is watching them play with each other, getting so into the moment that they don’t even realize I’m there. There are definitely specific dogs that would come often for daycare/boarding that I really miss!

I’m really enjoying my apartment! I’ve been here since the beginning of the summer. My roommate Bree is awesome!