In the movie Shaun of the Dead, the protagonist confuses zombies for humans for the first half of the movie. Senior year of vet school can be like that, only inverted where seniors are confused for zombies.
In the last two weeks, I think I have worked about 170-190 hours on my Equine Medicine rotation, finishing up Monday at about 8:30 am. It was a fun rotation with interesting cases and wonderful horse owners, but I came home, went to bed, and did not move much for the next 24 hours. I had a three-week break from vet school, but spent the first week studying for and taking the NAVLE board exam. The next two weeks were spent trying to remember what it is like to be a human.
Humans do things like buy groceries and fix meals; Pizza Hut and hot dogs are not enough. With real meals comes things like tasting and chewing food. The “bite and swallow” method is not socially acceptable.
While on these equine rotations, it is funny how things like drinking water, eating, and using the restroom are afterthoughts that crossed my mind when I drove home. Coffee and energy drinks take the place of water and real meals.
One thing I never really thought about was how much I missed sunshine. I usually left the house as the sun was rising and returned long, long after the sun set. We were inside all day and there were just a couple of hours on the weekend that I actually stood in sunlight for more than 5 minutes.
On my second week off, I started exercising again. I use the term “exercise” loosely; unlike classmates who run half-marathons during vet school, I trot around the neighborhood loop for twenty minutes before collapsing on my steps.
A lot of students have a much better life balance than I do; it is something I have struggled with throughout vet school. One thing that helps is having a group of friends that get together every Tuesday night for trivia. Beer, bar food, and venting is a great way to break up the week and is a good reminder that normal civilization still exists, that there is something other than vet medicine. The only down side to trivia is that occasionally we get a trivia question on animals and despite having three vet students, our group consistently gets those questions wrong. Who knew that a bunch of mules is called a barren, or that crocodiles are called a float?
I am slowly remembering things I enjoyed doing and getting caught up in the little things that have been put off for months, but the next rotation is already starting to loom. My short break is almost over and I am afraid of becoming a fourth-year zombie again.