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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I just pulled myself up and gave myself a hug

Thanks to Aarene's insightful comment on my last post, I have a more coherent idea why I'm so confused and frustrate by the school experience.

I let the fact that because I was pigeon holed into a specific category (istj) thus i was the same as everyone around me and thus i belonged.

However, then as time progressed I wasn't as "good" as those around me (which in vet school is what grades you are getting), and I was really confused.

On one hand I had people like you guys, vets out in rural practice, food safety vets, etc telling me how good a vet I was going to be, but on the other hand, by every other measurement I had available, I was going to be a failure.

I'm at the bottom of my class. I don't want to work in the hospital, I don't want the job to consume my life. I don't care about the nitpicky details that I can look up later, I'm much more focused on the overall picture and the larger patterns that characterize medicine.

I realize that I'm in a very small, limited view of the vetmed world, but it's hard to keep this in mind when you are around it every day for hours and hours and hours. I have to endure conversation about how good grades defines how good a vet I will be once I am out of school, something to which I say, when my opinion is asked "show me the research that says that clients are more satisfied with an vet who was an A student versus a C one." "show me the research where performance in vet school is correlated with a successful veterinary career, as defined by the veterinarian themselves"., but it seems like I am one voice among a crowd of grade conscious, ambitious people.

According to academia I'm a dead end because I won't have the grades necessary for internships, residencies, scholarships, or anything else that seems so highly valued by everyone around me.

This is what I realize today:

My mistake was letting that istj pigeon hole define me against my peers and not realize that there are many flavors and being an istj is like having blonde hair. It may be a commonality, but that doesn't mean that I have blue eyes!

Realizing that I was a wood (independent, grouchy, pioneer type) and not a metal (anal retentive, detail oriented, etc.) like most of my classmates was the first step in realizing that I had made a mistake in letting myself be defined by just one measurement and like anything else, if you can out ANYTHING into a box, then you are probably over simplifying it - it's a good place to start, but that's about it.

Going to the processing plant yesterday and realizing that I haven't felt GOOD/SUCCESSFUL at ANYTHING since quitting my job a year and half ago was a revelation (completing the ride and tie is probably the exception). I can't support myself, I can't get good grades, I cant qualify for scholarships, i can't take lessons, I can't do endurance, I can't be everything my boyfriend wants me to be, I can't keep up with my friendships.

So, in spite of dismal grades (although as of yet have passed everything), what skills do I have, that even aren't valued as a vet student, will make me an excellent vet?

I can make people trust and like me in a very short period of time, whether you are a complete newbie to animals, or an experienced rancher that wants to know where the other non-female vet is.

I won't judge you for not having enough money to dialysis on your dog.

I like looking at the big picture and can integrate problems and findings

I can protect myself from burnout

I understand that animals don't mean the same thing to everyone

I understand the human animal bond

I will always tell you the truth and be straightforward

I am really really good at taking a dysfunctional system, program, department and turning it into something that is efficient and organized. I'm not so good at maintaining a well oiled department because I get bored....

I'm not afraid of risk and I will stick my neck out for you.

I like a challenge

I am an effective communicator

I will admit my mistakes even if my lawyer tells me not to

I like working hard to make a difference.

I love mentoring

*****i think that is a heck of a lot to contribute and following my heart and passion got me this far, and if I had to be a B/C student to learn this particular lesson of pride in myself in the absence of external recognition, so be it -- it is my belief I will be a better vet for it.

Me thinketh that perhaps breaking an axle, missing school, and finally having time to blog again was a divine plan!


  1. HOORAY for you!

    I don't care that the M-B and the Chinese personality quizzes say that you and I are pretty much opposites...and far as I'm concerned, you are one of the sisters I haven't met yet.

    Let's fix that someday, okay? I'm so proud of you.

  2. Yeah, I think I will now view those people categorizers as a to to help me understand why I may or may not like working with particular people and to help me understand where someone may be coming.from, but from now on I will refuse to believe that they have some secret insight on who I am and what I should be like. I've been told I'm self aware and thus I think I don't need a test to help why I succeed or fail, I have good friends and good instincts for that. And yes, I absolutely need to come visit. You are definitely family. Is there some cool vet or vet thingy I absolutely must screenshot at next year up there??

  3. I dunno about vet stuff...uh, there's usually a CE vet thingy at the PNER conference in January. Does that count? You could bunk with us--cramming a ton of people into a room makes it cheap for everybody. And then you could meet all the peeps and all the floofs!

    Consider yourself invited.

  4. Congrats on the pull up, and on the honest assessment of your strengths. So important to do that, because in the end the only thing that matters is how *you* feel about yourself and your life.

    And just remember that you've got future clients already lined up depending on where you operate your practice (or what you end up choosing to do) - all your blog readers including moi! I bet not many of those A+ people could boast that.

  5. I know exactly how you feel Carolyn. I'm the same way. I look at the bigger picture. I agree with you that grades and extreme details don't make a good doctor or vet or anything for that matter. It's your passion, compassion, your love and interest in the field. In this case, veterinary. You sound like you have all the right "ingredients" it takes to make a wonderful one as you truly love and care about the animals and the field itself. I score very low on tests and can't hold job positions - however, I'm great at what I do because of my passion and my compassion. Like yous say the bigger picture.

    You have a great mindset and your heart is in the right place. Don't change. The fact you think differently is what will make you great in the animal world. I can't word this exactly as I'm trying to but I hope you'll get the meaning. An A+ on an exam is only an A+ - it doesn't have heart, soul, insight, caring, personal and unique gifts. Keep on going - you're on the right track!

  6. FWIW, it's never once occurred to me to ask any vet about her class ranking.


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