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Catching Up

Right now, we second-years don't have another test until finals.  It's quiet…a little too quiet.  But I'm making the most of this lull in stress and studying by… studying?  I know, it sounds weird and nerdy.  I have good reasons, though.  For one thing, it makes it easy for me to study when both of my roommates are also studying.  The only difference is that they actually do have exams coming up this week.  I feel guilty if I'm sitting around watching TV while they are diligently making flashcards and charts.  Also, for the first time in a very long time I can study without a deadline. I can take more breaks, get on Facebook, and zone out a little more often than if I were stressing about a test coming up.  It's easier to learn for life and not for a test this way.  And finally, I find myself studying this weekend because, frankly, finals scare me.  How many times have I had to take finals?  And it still feels like they sneak up on me every time.  So I'm being proactive and getting some studying in now to avoid the inevitable surprise of finals.   

Studying isn't the only task I have this weekend.  In between the bouts of studying and fun with friends, I finally have time to do some things that I have been meaning to do all semester.  One of these tasks fits somewhere between going out with friends and studying on the fun spectrum.  That task is searching for and applying to externships for this summer.  On the one hand, searching for an unpaid summer job, updating my resume, and writing letters of intent can be tedious and tiring.  On the other hand, I get so excited thinking about all the cool, different things I might get to do and see next summer, my last summer.  This summer will be my last chance to immerse myself for two whole months in a completely new experience.  When my third year ends in May 2013, I won't get a summer break to prepare for fourth year, which starts the week after third year finals.  So that means I have to get it right this summer.  

Step one of this process is deciding what kind of externship I want to do.  This semester my interests have been shifting toward wildlife medicine and an emerging field known as conservation medicine.  Instead of focusing on individual animals, the veterinarians in these fields treat whole populations of animals and assess their impact on humans and natural resources.  So I've been researching wildlife externships that do just that.  Step two is deciding where I want to go.  Since there aren't really any of these opportunities in Texas, for the first time in my life I will be spending more than two weeks outside of Texas.  The US Geological Survey in Madison, Wisconsin, for example, has an externship at their National Wildlife Health Center.  Or then, there is the Wildlife Disease Extern Vet Program at the University of Wyoming in Laramie.   The third step is the most difficult though: applying.  That's the step I finally have time to work on.  So apparently, although I get to take a break, it seems I still don't have much free time.