One Year Later

I am remarkably good at neglecting this website, but I think I’m going to start updating it again. I’m going to start with a recap/autobio, since it’s been a year.

I’m living in the suburbs in northern Virginia, on the very outskirts of what you might call the metro region. I’m living with my girlfriend Amy and our dog Sebastian (who you may remember), among others. I’m a dog babysitter during the day, and an international man of mystery at night. There is little reason to complain or celebrate. By and large I am content.

I contribute trivially and irregularly to clusterflock, so if you want to read things that’ve been on my mind for the past year you might check there. I’m also on twitter, I’ll put that on here somewhere eventually.

Going home

I’m moving back upstate next month. I’m just having a tough time finding a job related to animal science in Blacksburg, and with the rent hikes on next year’s lease I just can’t afford to stay here. I’m hoping that my tax refund will hold me over until I can get something substantial.

I need to go back to school.

Looking Back, Looking Forward

I’m not a very good writer. I tend to be long winded, repetitive, repetitive, abuse, the, hell, out, of, commas, use to many generalities, and other things. That being said, I’m going to keep my recap and precap short. I think I just made that word up. You can use it if you like.

I started my second semester at Virginia Tech in January. I was still in awe about finally being at my dream school. I still am. Something about it just feels right. It’s like finding where I always wanted to be.

My first challenge of the year came in early April when I broke up with my partner of four and a half years. I put on a happy face about it, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard on me as I’m sure it was hard on him. We’re still friends, though we don’t see much of each other. We just had dinner at a little Italian place at home last week and caught up. It’s still a little strange for me, but I guess things work out in time.

I’m not sure how to start talking about April 16. How do you preface something like that? The first thing I did was call my mother. I was on campus, so my roommate picked me up and we watched events unfold on TV. It’s not even real on TV though. You can turn the TV off or go into the next room. In Blacksburg we were inundated with police, media, spiritual and psychological support, just more people than the town was meant to handle. I hunkered down with friends for the week and waited for things to blow over as best I could. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but for at least a day or two after the shootings I wanted to be left alone by all those helpful people. I still get people who ask about it now and then when they find out I was there. I try to dismiss it. I’m not capable of explaining what the experience felt like.

In June I found out that a lingering bump on my elbow was stage 1 lymphoma, of a particularly rare type. I’ve always taken my health for granted. Luckily my mother, who is a nurse, is a hypochondriac for me. My summer was spent in and out of doctor visits. One surgery and three weeks of daily radiation later, not to mention countless diagnostics, I appear to be good as new. Here’s hoping I stay that way.

While I was home over the summer I made a number of close friends. It was good to have someone to hang around with when I was going through all my health issues. It’s sad in a way, since I don’t get to see them often when I’m away at school. I’ll always come back to see them when I’m home.

August marked the beginning of the hardest semester I’ve ever had, and hopefully the hardest I ever will. My favorite material was in the hardest classes. You’d think that would help, but if it did help I shudder to think what would’ve happened if I didn’t like it.

In the family, one cousin is engaged and another had a baby. My brothers haven’t managed to drive my mother crazy yet. The holidays were relatively painless and the food was good. I think as far as families go, I made out pretty good.

I’m looking forward to one more semester at Tech. I’ll graduate in May, and then who knows what? I’m thinking West. I’ll be applying to some graduate programs in animal science, but my goal is that wherever life takes me, it’s toward the setting sun. I’ve played with the idea of staying in Blacksburg, but I have things to do. I need to see the world. There are too many things I haven’t done, and if I sit still now I may never do them. I’m probably late to the game as it is, but I need to do all those things that I will later exaggerate to my nieces and nephews, maybe children? Maybe someday. 2007 was a year of challenges. 2008 is the year of adventures.

How I feel

Do you ever feel like this?

I won’t be entering vet school in the fall of 2008. I haven’t decided what I will be doing yet. I feel burnt out. I’m not sure what I need to do next, but I know that vet school would be a waste of time and money right now. I feel like a year of doing something different would refresh me, and I could use it to strengthen my application.

I also feel kind of lost and hopeless. How the hell did I end up where I am in life? Why? I remember thinking when I was in high school, “If I can just make it to Virginia Tech, I’ll study hard, go to vet school, everything will be awesome.” Where the hell did I get that idea? Virginia Tech? Don’t get me wrong, it is pretty amazing here, but where did it come from? Why vet school? I could’ve gone for computer science and had a useful degree in four years. What do you even do with an animal science degree? Plenty of things, I’m sure. I’ll be looking for animal lab or management jobs. Maybe I’ll do something with breeding. I could get along with a little field experience. Hell, I could just live in Blacksburg for a year or two. Even if my only animal work was volunteer, it doesn’t take much to live comfortably in Blacksburg.

My other major plan, if not vet school, was grad school. It’s different from what I’m doing, but probably not different enough. For now, I’m preparing for but not anticipating going that route. Time will tell.

Am I going to get fired? (No.)

No, I’m not in danger of losing my job. I just want to mention something really cool. My supervisor has a Demotivators wall calendar, and I think that is amazing. When I mentioned it to her, she said she chose ones specifically that weren’t about people, because those ones could be tasteless or offensive. Then she said, “Kinda sick, dontcha think?” to which I replied, “It’s healthy to be a little bit sick.”