Almost one year since my last post on this blog, I am returning to writing here. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing blogs for Clinician’s Brief (under the heading The Learning Vet), and will continue to do so, but on more of a quarterly basis. So I thought I would reflect on where this experiment started, where it has taken me, and where I hope to go.
When I started this blog, I wanted to focus my posts on experiences or observations that I felt were educational, either to myself or others. I figured my audience would primarily be veterinarians and students of veterinary medicine. Fearing criticism, or perhaps just disdain from those more knowledgeable and experienced than myself, I chose to write anonymously.
But afterall, this blog is about experiences, new and revisited. Not all of the experiences in my career are clinical in nature. In fact, only a relatively small percentage of them are directly related to the medicine I practice on a daily basis. An overwhelming, and exceedingly important, amount of what I do is all the “in between” stuff–communication, social media, finding life balance, etc. As I return to writing my own blog on my own site, I want to use a broader definition of learning–not just what I learned in veterinary medicine, like how to catheterize a female rabbit or how to spay a bearded dragon, but what I’ve learned about transitioning into a corporate setting at work, why I love AAHA, and even what I’ve learned about just writing itself.
Writing for the Clinician’s Brief blog did two things (at least): 1) I realized I could actually get paid money (not a ton of course, but still!) for writing, a previously foreign concept for me; and 2) putting my experiences and thoughts into writing taught me that I highly value the perspective one can gain by reflection–something I hadn’t really appreciated before. And a third thing: it exposed my identity, thus I open myself to adoration and admonishment alike! An uncomfortable feeling, but I’m along for the ride to see where it takes me!
Last week, I received a call from Clinican’s Brief asking me to consider blog writing for them! As you could probably tell from my previous post about Clinician’s Brief, you know I’m a huge fan. So needless to say, it was quite exciting to discuss the prospect of providing blogs for them. I’ve put together about 5 posts that I’ll submit to them, to give them an overview of what my posts would be like, and then I’ll find out if they want me to keep writing for them!
It also means my identity will be shared with anyone who cares to know, although I intend to keep this site relatively anonymous for the time-being. My main reason for this has more to do with my reluctance to risk sounding like I’m self-promoting too much. Not that there’s anything wrong with self-promoting oneself, but it so does not come naturally to me and makes me squirmy and uncomfortable.
On that note, I unknowingly signed myself up for a crash course in leadership and personnel management. For reasons I can’t clearly remember, I agreed to coordinate and organize an open house for our hospital. The event takes place this Saturday. If I don’t have a stroke due to the crushing stress I feel, I’ll be sure to write more about this learning experience in a future post. (Note to self: I’d really like to learn how to not care when people aggressively and offensively complain about the job I’m doing, and how to not care about stepping on people’s toes or feelings when telling them what I expect them to do.)
Photo Credit: Georgia State University Library
I love veterinary medicine because I love learning. This quote by Mahatma Gandhi captures my sentiment best:
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
I didn’t always feel this way. Ironically, while I was in school, I would say I bordered more on hating school. But school and learning are different. Vet school in particular, as they say, is like “trying to drink water from a fire hose”. It is NOT enjoyable. Vet school represents a finite amount of pain and suffering, which you must endure so you can have the rest of your life to love learning.
Even before vet school–elementary school through high school and college–I never considered myself (and still don’t) one of the “smarties” who always had her head in a book, latched onto every science show, and wanted to learn and understand everything. I only need to spend five minutes around someone who’s really smart to be reminded of how little, in fact, I know.
Except for maybe a handful of moments that occur every year, where I am surrounded by ultra-smart people who unintentionally make me feel abysmally average, I am comfortable with not knowing all that much. If I were too caught up in feeling inadequate, I would feel less motivated to learn, not more. As it is, I’ve come to love learning, and I am always learning something new every day. (Hence the name of this blog, see? )