The Statistics of My Life

As a blogger, I have the right to a captive audience.  Therefore, as a blogger, I have the right to whine.  Today, I feel completely overwhelmed by the amount of pressure I have on myself.  I’m also taking a stats class, so I started wondering about the probability of finding someone who is anything like me.  So, today I’m making an equation out of my life.  Its probably not going to be very accurate (math isn’t my strong point!) but it will be enlightening all the same.

So, as I’m sure you already know, I am a biology pre-veterinary major.  That right there throws an enormous amount of pressure on a person.  Everyday, every grade directly effects what happens for the rest of your life.  One wrong move and you have no future.  Sometimes, I think of myself and I just want to laugh.  There are plenty of people who would just be happy going to school, even a community college.  There are people who would just like to go to Duquesne.  There are people who would just be happy to get a college degree.  There are people who would be happy to just pass a class.  And there are people who would be happy to just pass a test.  And here I am exhausting myself over every little tiny detail, every point, and breaking down when I am not veritably perfect.

Its hard. 

Everyday I face the very real possibilty that I may never become a vet.  I also have everyone expecting veritable perfection out of me, so when I fail, I not only am screwing myself, but I am dissappointing everyone close to me.  And in all actuality, I am not at all “enjoying” the college experience.  I enjoy learning, and I enjoy growing and marking off things in my planner or off my to do list, but I essentially have no life.  I don’t go out, I don’t do anything, I take no time for myself, and I spend the majority of my college experience in a majorly stressed out state.

Anyways, for the statistics part:

  • Percentage of white americans that graduate from high school: 94.8% or .948
  • Percentage of high school graduates who attend college: 68.1% or .681
  • Percentage of first in family college students at Duquesne University: 47.0% or .470
  • Percentage of students who pay their own way through college: 42% or .42 (keep in mind, this includes community college figures.  I highly doubt there are this many Duquesne students doing this)

Right now, I can’t find the statistics for how many people want to go to vet school, how many people got into vet school, or what percent is now a practiciting vet.  But currently, my statistical number is .1277.  There is a 12% chance of finding someone as crazy as me with just those figures.  I’m sure factoring in vet school and starting a club and working multiple jobs and so on and so forth would drop that even lower.

But, I have to get back to my tortur. . I mean work.






My New Media Production Project

So, this semester I am taking a course called New Media Production.  As a bio major, I don’t usually take courses that have me staring at a computer all class.  However, I needed an art credit and I blatently refused to take History of Art or Enjoyment of Music.  So, I opted for the more hands on option. 

I must admit, I’m pretty excited about it.  I get to play with Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and learn how to make cool logos and brochures.  And although I rarely time for it, I do genuinely enjoy making things on the computer. 

Part of my project is to have a wordpress blog.  Check.  The upside of this is I am forced to write thoughout my fall semester in college.  Which can at times, be a feat for me when I’m not motivated.  I get so busy that its hard to really rationalize spending time writing something that isn’t going to get me any credit.  However, now its actually worth something!  The downside is, Lance isn’t allowed to post anything until the semester is over.  Which, he probably wouldn’t have anyways.  We’re both currently taking 18 credits and there is little time to breath, let alone post.  So, I will have to be the scribe to whats going on in both of our acedemic lives.

Within the last two weeks, we’ve both adjusted to our class schedules and settled into a routine.  We eat lunch and dinner together each day, but still spend most of our homework time seperate.  Its so strange after spending 2 years seeing each other once a week to be with each other everyday, but its really nice at the same time!  I no longer have to block out 2 hours a night to talk to him on the phone, which opens up a ton more homework time.  We have also joined the ecology club, evergreen (the enviromental club), tri beta, and Faith Alive, a christian youth group.  And, my Animal Welfare Club went from having 10 interested people to 110 interested people!  Yikes!  All in all, the year is off to a great start, and I feel so much happier to be here than I did last year.

The Financial Aid Blunder of the Decade Finally Patched Up!

Going to school is expensive.  Like, ridiculously expensive.  And unlike most of my friends, I am not the daughter of a doctor or a lawyer.  My dad remodels bathrooms and my mom works at a call center.  Needless to say, they are not paying for my $40,000 a year in tuition. 

I rely heavily on government money and scholarships.  I’m always stalking fastwebs and college prowler.  I’m a resident of the financial aid office.  And the FASFA is my Bible.  I’m also the first out of my family to attend college, so navigating through the swamps of financial aid is completely new, confusing, and intimidating.  And mistakes can cost me my tuition.   I recently had one of those mistakes happen, and up until today, I didn’t know if I would be going back to college on the 12th.

I file my FASFA in the first week of January to give myself the best chance at all the money available.   I had filed, turning in all my paper work, and felt confident that everything would be fine.  However, somewhere along the line, my income had gotten changed from $3,800 a year to $38,000 a year.  A mistake that made my entire financial aid package some $14,000 shorter than it had been last year. 

Of course, I went into panic mode.  Tough questions like ‘where can I transfer to?’ ‘Will I have to take a year off’, and ‘how am I going to get this money?’ plagued me all summer.  I corrected the mistake on the paperwork, but there was no guarantee that I would be getting all the money I had the year before.  If I took a year off, the chances of me getting into vet school become slimmer than they had been before.  Not to mention I would be nearly 30 before I graduated, which isn’t really something I’m willing to do.  So, a year off would mean no becoming a vet.  It would also mean Lance and I would be stuck in at least another year of a 45 minute drive relationship, which after 2 and a half years of being separated and seeing each other once a week wasn’t something I really wanted to do either.

However, this morning my financial aid package came in and I indeed got nearly the same amount of money I got last year.   I have enough that I can go back to school, and I know now to double, triple, and quadruple check those figures.

I can breathe easy for another year!  Duquesne, here I come!

Graduation Time!

So, yesterday Lance finally graduated from high school!  It was a day I think we were both waiting for a long time.  He is finally ready to embark on his journey to become a conservation biologist and I am no longer waiting for him to be a big boy. 

Its been a long, hard two years of me being at college and him being at high school.  We’ve been through a lot of issues with being at different sections of our lives.  He’s been in school when I’m not, I’m in class when he’s not, he still had parental control over him while I’ve been doing my own thing, and the 45 minute ride of separation hasn’t helped us any either.  Thats not even taking into account all our different activities and work schedules.  How we got through it, I don’t even know at this point.

But, it’s all over.  It’s finally over.  No more high school, no more marching band, no more high school drama or fake friendships, and no more parents!  Now our lives will be filled with biology, biology, and more biology, eating dinner together, going to the club or salsa dancing on weekends, and still battling work schedules.  But in one night, it’s all gotten so much easier.  Now we have things to think about like getting cars, getting an apartment, and getting student loans.  Much less scary that the idea of not getting to see each other.

Lance, of course, got accepted into the honors biology program at Duquesne.  I’m pretty sure he needed something like that, because everyone treating him like he’s just as mindless as the others taking a normal class would have destroyed him.

And the birds, well, Jules is going to come live at my house with my family while we are away.  Erin is going to come to college with me, which is totally breaking the rules, but is totally necessary to help her plucking.  Hopefully next summer we can find a nice house to rent and they can all come with us as well 🙂

Duquesne During the Winter

I don’t know if I’ve actually felt cold before, now that I am wintering here at Duquesne.  Duquesne is on a bluff, so it’s windy, its frigid, and it gets down right nasty.  Today, I am going to be explaining just what I go through every morning here to further my education.

First, I layer on a hoodie, coat, gloves, scarf, and hat before trudging down 6 flights of steps to face the outdoors.  As soon as you hit the doors, the cold hits you like a brick wall.  Its not just chilly, its not just cold, its the kind of bone that chills you down to the marrow of your bones.

So, I start walking.  Depending on where I need to get to determains how cold I actually get by the end of it.  Either A.) a vicious chill that won’t leave my body or B.) frozon solid.  The wind whips down A walk, tangling your hair, trying to pull your coat off, and blowing down the front of your shirt.

If its snowing at the time, its twice as bad.  The snow hits your face and feels like little daggers. 

The wind chases you into whatever building you are going to.  It follows you right through the door.

I know the perks of the bluff.  In the summer, the breeze cools down Duquesne and makes it much nicer than the rest of Pittsburgh.

Too bad I go to school predominately in the winter.

And Let the Games Begin!

The spring semester has now officially started!  Can’t you just feel my joy? 

On todays schedule was English and Chemistry II.  I would also normally have chem lab, but labs don’t start till next week so I gained a small reprieve. 

 Today went like most first days go.  You walk into a room, sit down awkwardly next to some Joe Schmo that looks sorta friendly, get the syllabus, listen to the professors tell you exactly what the last few professors told you, yadda yadda yadda.

If you can’t tell, being back at school brings out a very negative light to me.  I’m really not that mean of a person, honestly.  Sometimes, I even like Joe Schmo by the end of the semester.  However, college = stress.   Which = negativity.  And boy, I can feel the pressure already. 

You see, I’m not exactly like every other college student out there.  As pathetic as it sounds, I live, eat, breath, and function while at school to get A’s.  I am not here for the social life.  I am not here for the fun (although I do have some occasionally!).  I am here for my education.  I am here to get into vet school.  And this attitude I have adopted puts me very much so apart from my freshman peers.  Many of them have said they were coming to college to make friends and to have great memories.  I have always said that while friends were not on the front of my mind, if I made some along the way I would be quite pleased with that.  However, I am not shucking out $40,000 to make friends. 

I have already finished every stitch of homework those teachers gave me for the first day.  I have successfully read and created a study sheet on all of Chapter 10 in chemistry, recopied my chem notes, read the first chapter in english, written my reading journal on it, and have contacted my lab employers about continuing work for this semester.  And at only 9:19 the night is young! 

In all honesty, I guess I get a little obsessive about school work.  It makes me into a not so nice person sometimes.  However, with vet school as my destination and no back up plan, I kinda have to be that way.

I feel like the longer I do the whole college thing, the better I’ll be at balancing.  And staying ahead.  And doing more than just getting by.  And I feel like once Lance is here, he will drag me away from my books and make me have fun once in a while.  And, in turn, I will shackle him to his desk and make him study once in a while.  I feel like it will be a good trade. 

Whats worse?  Too much fun and too little work, or too much work and too little fun?  Is it worth risking your future career path for some fun now, or is it better to be a little more conservative now and have a future you know you are going to love? 

Its a New Year!

It’s a new year!  And like everyone else, I have to make some new years resolutions too.

  1. get to the gym more often
  2. stop stressing over  things like mad
  3. (most important) start writing in this blog more!

I’ve let a whole semester go by without documenting any of it.  I’m a total waste of cyber life.  So, I’m going to start breaking that habit and I’m going to start writing much more regularly everyday if I can!  If I have to write it down in my planner next to my homework I will. 

I’m going to do a brief catch up post, so that in my mind, I can organize where I have been over the last few months and know how to start writing.  And there is not a huge sense that I am missing important details. 

obviously, I am still attending Duquesne University.  I am still studying prevet/biology.  I still work in the biology labs.  Over Christmas break, I also went back to the pet store that I worked in while attending community college, and over the summer I will also return there.  Lance and I are still together, of course.  I still have all four of my birds, and he still ha Jules.  Bella still looks like a little tyrannosaurus rex and growls like a werewolf.  However, that’s about where the similarities stop.

I have now moved rooms.  Instead of living on the 5th floor, I live on the 6th floor.  My old roommate was a total piece of shit, and a waste of life.  She had not intentions on growing up or becoming serious about school.  For her, life was just a big party.  Someday, I hope she drinks herself into a coma.  Ok, that’s really mean.  But honestly, the drama I had to endure, no adult should have to.  I felt like I was back in middle school, where clicky girls tell lies to ruin people’s lives and everyone else hides in the shadows hoping to escape their lashing tounges.  It was bad.  It’s such a shame I didn’t write about it, because honestly, my life was like a bad soap opera and it could have been quite humorous.  Not to mention she was roughly the size of a baby killer whale and ate nothing but mac and cheese and pepperoni rolls.  And farted in her sleep all night.  Disgusting.

Finals were hell.  I was in the process of moving rooms, getting ready to go home for break, and trying to study for absolutely killer finals all at the same time.  It was the worst.  I’m hoping now that I have a semester under my wing I can actually attempt to better than I did last semester.  I’m very close to not being accepted into any vet schools in the country and I have only completed one semester.  I don’t really know what my GPA is, because I constantly have a hold on my account because Duquesne is such a money grubby, greedy school, but it’s probably around a 3.7 -3.8?  I’m guessing?  

Money has been another huge issue these last few months.  I have to take out extra personal loans for Duquesne, because they aren’t giving me enough financial aid money.  And because I do not understand the entire financial aid thing, and how schools work with this, they are being total douche bags about it.  

I would not recommend Duquesne to anyone whose daddy wasnt completely footing the bill.  They do not help you with anything, give you no second chances, and essentially would rather have you go prostitute yourself out on Grant Street than help you get enough money or time to register for classes.  In essence, they don’t care.  They claim to be a Catholic college, but boy are they corrupt.  Unless you are very financially wealthy and can afford $40,000 or better per year, please avoid this university.  I am already so in debt, I feel like I have made the biggest mistake of my life.

I’m aiming to get an internship this summer, either at the aviary or a wild animal rehabilitation center.  Lance is as well.

I still have my club.  I still walk dogs on Fridays.

Christmas came and went.  I’m even more in debt than I was before.  But, I got diamonds from my man 🙂

I’m moving back to Duquesne tonight.  I can’t say I’m excited.  Actually, I’m kinda dreading it.  I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to be stressed and have to work all the time and never have fun.  I want to go back to being a kindergartener. 

Thats about it.  I’m sure I’ll have more to talk about after I go through my first day of classes tomorrow!


Long Time, No Write

Ewww. . . Its been a long time since I’ve wrote.  I hate when I get off track and stop writing for a long time.  But in reality, my time is super precious and I haven’t had very much of it.  I’m going to try harder, blog, but I can’t be promising anything.

A lot of great stuff has happened.  First, and probably most importantly, I have started a club!  Its an Animal Welfare Club, and we do great things like visit animal shelters, zoos, aviaries, and host fundraisers benifiting animal rescues.  Starting this club has been an emotional and stressful process.  I have never really taken the inititive to do something like this before.  However, it seemed like a good thing to do.  Duquesne has nothing regarding animals, I miss my pets so I’m sure a butt load of other people miss theirs, and it seemed like it would be a great thing to put on a resume to a vet school.  “Founder and President for 4 years of the DU Animal Welfare Club”.  Yep, it has a great ring to it 🙂 

If I have been busy, Lance has only been busier.  I explained before how the smarty bit off more than he could chew his senior year at school, but hes doing well all the same.  Hopefully, he’ll be back on board pretty soon too. 

Our birds are all doing well.  I went home a few weekends ago and made a startling discovery.  My birds are not being handled enough!  They are turning feral!  Everyone was biting and nipping and running!  They still loved to have their heads pet, and pushed their little heads against your hand to pet them, but they are not getting out enough.  I believe next time I go home, I need to buy everyone a bunch of new toys so they don’t start getting worse.  I’d just think, that with 5 people in that house, one of them could take the inititive to take the birds out pretty often. 

I’ve decided that Erin will be attending college with me next year.  I am going to try to become an RA, and if I cannot become an RA, I have a friend who has two parakeets of her own whom she misses dearly.  Erin is so quiet, no one would ever know she was there.  And she would probably love being down here, where she can be out for the majority of the day. 

I’m already so looking forward to the day when Lance and I can get a pet friendly apartment or rent a small house that allows animals.  I cant wait to have my birds back with me. 

And I really can’t wait to grow up and move out to wyoming, and have our farm!

Whyyy Are You Here?

Alright, while we are waiting for Lance to get his butt into gear and write a post, I’ll dominate the board with the pretty pink and write another about college. 

I don’t know why some of the people that are at Duquesne are here.  Honestly.  Me, personally, I am here to get an education.  I am here to get into vet school.  I am here so that someday, me and Lance can live the very alternative yet extravagant lifestyle that we have dreamt up in our heads over hours upon hours of phone conversation.  I am here to make connections, network, and make some friends.  But above all, I am here to ultimately become an exotic and avian veterinarian. 

There are many people here who do not seem to have the same sense of direction I house.  Many people who, on the night before classes were scheduled to begin, were out in the halls, running around and screaming at the top of their lungs.  There are many people here who already have gotten drunk out of their brains, partied too hard, and have thrown up all over the dorms.  There are many people here who are here for all the wrong reasons. 

In the eight days I have been here, I have already networked with a professor who is a practicing veterinarian, got a job as a lab assistant on campus, got a jump on my already daunting pile of homework, and have already been above the game.  I have met a few people like me, who are ready for the challenge and are ready for their future.  However, I’ve also met a lot of people who havent cracked a book yet.  Guess what.  Theyre already behind, trying to play catch up. 

Lance has actually had to tell me to promise to take two nights to have fun instead of holing up in my room studying.  And I have had fun.  Ive eaten lunch and dinner with people, we’ve planned to have chinese food night, I’ve gone to the gym, and I’ve helped decorate peoples rooms.  However, I also know how to work.  College is not all about the social aspects. 

I think it bothers me to meet the people who are blowing their tuition away.  I know it shouldnt bother me, as thats less competition for me in the long run, but it does bother me.  I worked SO hard to get here.  I have to pay for it myself.  It bothers me that everyone using it as a party is wasting the many, many resources that are offered to them here. 

I can’t wait until Lance is down here.  If he decides to come down here.  I crave having someone who is like me, someone who knows me, and someone who will have my back when everyone else is against me.  Its very lonely without him. 

Well, maybe the partiers will laugh at me now, as I study my butt off and stress over grades, but I will laugh at them while I’m watching them work their butt off and stress over bills 🙂

Moving in to Duquesne!

I have finally taken my first big step on this journey to become a veterinarian.  On Tuesday, I moved into Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit!  Duquesne is a good choice for me because besides being nationally ranked in the top tier of the best universities to attend out of the whole nation, it is stratigically located in the heart of Pittsburgh, where I have easy access to internships and volunteer opportunities at the Aviary and the Pittsburgh Zoo, as well as the Pittsburgh Animal Rescue League and several animal hospitals.  I can hop a bus for virtually anything, walk to many places, and I love love love love the campus.  Class sizes are reported to be small and personal, and there are personal everywhere that are willing to help you with just about anything.  For example, as a pre medical/ biology track right now for undergraduate, I am required to meet twice a semester with a group provided just for pre med students to ensure I’m on the correct track to getting into vet school.  They also give you mock tests for the big graduate tests, help you locate volunteer and internship opportunities, and help you write a kick ass essay and build a resume to present to future schools.   If I’m going to get into vet school, Duquesne is whats going to get me there.

However, move in was a big change.  I’ve never really been away from home for really any significant amount of time.  And I’ve certainly never lived on my own amongst a ton of strangers.  I can’t even keep people’s faces straight here.  I love having strong relationships with people.  I like feeling comfortable with people.  I’m not one of those people that gets a spark outta meeting and small talking with many different people all the time.  I like bonds and closeness and comfort.  And here there are NONE of that.  So, its been a trying few days.  In all honestly, I can’t wait until Lance comes down here next year.  I feel like I’ll enjoy college a lot more when I have SOMEONE who knows the real me.  Knows how I tick.  Just someone when I see them at a lunch table, I don’t get the knot in my stumach as I walk over to them, as I worry they might send me away.  I dont have to live in the same room as them.  Not even the same building.  Just the same campus and I would be ok. 

And I really miss my birds.  It’s far too quiet in this dorm room without them.  My little betta fish needs to learn how to say hello.

So, its been emotional.  But orientation has kept us so busy its hard to even get time to rest.  I go to be absolutely exhausted at night and wake up just about as tired.  Duquesne loves to feed you, so we’re constantly going to lunch or dinner or something, when I’m used to like, one meal a day and grazing the rest of the day. 

Its a new experience.  A very uncomfortable new experience.  I can’t wait to just become settled and just enjoy college.  Slowly but surely its getting there.