Chapter 2: Adjusting to the Grad School Routine
[Editor’s Note: Kyle Ruedinger ’13, Amy Browender ’13, Elizabeth Brown ’13, and Jessie Lillis ’13 are writing alternating monthly entries for the Ripon College Newsletter chronicling their post-graduation experiences. We hope you enjoy their perspectives on Life After Ripon!]
Well, we’re about six weeks in with school, and it already feels like I’ve been here forever. All 86 of my classmates seem to be echoing the same sentiments. Yes, my class is just 87! We are becoming quite a tight knit group in a short time frame. It almost feels like a combination of high school and Ripon College – except now, we REALLY do know everybody, and we spend all day together, every day, including too many weekends! Of course, because of this, everyone is on their best behavior at all times because we don’t want to make any enemies. Otherwise, it will be a long four years…!
As some of you may know, Madison just hosted the World Dairy Expo on the Alliant Energy Grounds. A large number of the first years in the DVM program worked on checking cattle in for a learning experience on biosecurity. The USDA doesn’t want tuberculosis or any other communicable diseases spreading across America’s farms, so naturally we helped out the State Veterinarians with this work. We also were offered the privilege of riding around in golf carts directing farmers into the correct barns which was probably the highlight of my weekend, or perhaps the whole week (the exams sure weren’t a highlight…!).
Speaking of exams, school is going well so far. I am finally grateful for all the hard work Ripon College professors put us through day in and day out. I absolutely do not remember all the numerous facts, figures and topics I learned, but the necessary skills of critical thinking, time management, team work, ability to adapt to various situations, and many others are proving to be very useful. Being in class forty hours a week is quite the change, as is going home each night with so many of those silly life chores to complete before finally starting to review the day’s notes. The days become exhausting and long, similar to some long run-on sentences that just seem to never end. Unfortunately, the days are actually getting shorter and shorter as we progress closer to another Wisconsin winter. A good friend of mine in a different doctoral program on campus told his advisor that he feels like there is just not enough time in the day to complete all the things he needs to. The advisor replied, “Welcome to life. You’ll be feeling those feelings forever now.”
Two weeks ago we had our first BIG anatomy exam, and the evening prior everyone was attempting some last minute studying. The second year students, outfitted in sunglasses, ski masks, and bandannas and armed with silly string, came running through the entire building, swept out the labs, classrooms, computer labs and the lobby, and took us hostage. The end result: a 20 minute forced study break including a surprise: a room full of coffee, hot chocolate, soda, cookies, muffins, Monkey Bread, and various other delicious goodies. It was a Ripon kind of experience! Like I said, the students here are truly all phenomenal, and everyone is extremely supportive of each other.
When I’m not in class, studying, sleeping, or eating (which is basically never), my free time (which is nearly nonexistent), consists of Badger football games and hanging out with people and chatting about life, along with the occasional pick up sports game or bike ride. The cost of having these few hours off each week consists of becoming even more sleep deprived. However, using a cost benefit analysis, I’ve determined a couple hours of fun relieves so much stress and makes the week worth it (along with having something to look forward to), so not sleeping those few hours doesn’t measurably contribute to the inevitability of being sleepy, all the time. I’m looking forward to winter break between semesters. In the meantime, we have at least one exam a week, and, if we’re lucky, sometimes two or three.
Now that you made it to the end of this post, go do some good in the world!
Kyle Ruedinger ’13
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