Vet School Nightmare #2

This One Came True

This story was originally published on my vet school blog, “Wet Cleanup on Aisle 5.” I still have vet school nightmares, 10+ years later.

Seriously? Why am I having these dreams? I haven’t even started yet!

Last night’s dream featured a multiple choice test, along with people interrupting me every ten seconds to make comments under their breath or to ask a question. Consequently, I couldn’t ever fully read through a question, and had to keep starting each question over. I had about twenty questions left in the last five minutes… arg!

Unfortunately, this scenario isn’t too far from reality. I discovered something very interesting about myself at the beginning of last school year, when I was taking my first Mammalian Physiology exam. There were so many people in the room, and my grasp on the material felt fairly tenuous, and I was really nervous…

Every. Little. Thing. Distracted me. A person moving their leg, a pencil hitting the table, the tick-tick-tick of the clock–any of these would fully remove my attention from the test, and then I would have to start reading through the questions all over again.

Here’s a sample of my thought process:

“Sodium channel blockers inclu… oh god, look at the time. Sodium channel blockers include which… would you shut up? Stop tapping your pencil. Sodium channel… oh, crap, I only have a half hour left. Sodium channel blockers include which… PLEASE stop shaking your leg!”

I remember one question where I knew that both answers B & C were correct, but I couldn’t figure out which one the professor would think was “more” correct. I must have read through that question, literally, 50 times. After I got the test back, I saw, for the first time, that answer E said “Both B & C.”

I went to talk to the professor afterward about my miserable experience, and he was awesome. He could not have been more helpful, and I will be forever indebted to him for listening to me and nudging me in the right direction.

“Have you talked to the folks in the Student Disability Center?” he said. “They have testing accommodations just for situations like this.”

“But… I don’t have a disability.”

“And you could hardly make it through the test, but you clearly know the material. You should go talk to them.”

It took me a week or so to get over my guilt about visiting them. I didn’t have a disability, and visiting them would be like trying to game the system, right?


It turns out that what I experienced is common in people with ADD. I never in a million years would have considered that a possibility for me, because I have always associated ADD with the kids who were “bad” in elementary school–they never sat still, they always got into trouble for talking, that kind of thing. I was just the opposite as a kid.

It also turns out that I am also not the first person to discover this about themselves as an adult. And, I have to tell you, it explains a lot.

I think about my first miserable college experience, my bazillions of little unfinished projects, my foot-shaking habit, my ability to hyperfocus when I’m really interested in something, my “Home Depot Syndrome” (that place gives me all kinds of anxiety–so many lights and sounds)… the pieces start to add up. I decided it wasn’t worth the $400 to get someone to officially label me as having ADD, and instead I am just aware that it, or something like it, is an issue for me.

The folks in the Student Disability Center were fantastic, and since then I’ve taken every test in their quiet offices. It’s been a godsend. (I almost typed dogsend, which might be more accurate.)

Am I worried that it’s going to get in my way in vet school? Not really. I’ve gotten this far just fine. That is, I’m not consciously worried. Apparently, my subconscious keeps wanting to bring it up when I’m asleep.

Pipe down, subconscious, I’m trying to sleep!

About The Author

LaShelle Easton is a veterinarian, animal communicator, and author who hates describing herself in those terms because they put her in a box and leave out the fun stuff, like budding guitar player, chocoholic, tea lover, bookworm, crazy cat lady, computer geek, dinosaur fan… She lives on the edge of the North Cascades with The World’s Greatest Husband and their woggledog, cats, chickens, and sloth.

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3 thoughts on “Vet School Nightmare #2”

  1. I think I have ADD, too. I volunteered for an ADD medication study a few months ago, to be a normal control (I almost said wild-type! Too much time with the mice) πŸ™‚ and when they did the evaluation, the nurse said I had inattentive-type ADD! I was shocked, but the more I read about it, the more SO MANY THINGS made sense. My 2 biggest problems are not finishing things (it takes me 200% more effort to do the last 10% of something than the first 90%!) and the fact that when I need to concentrate, every. single. thought. that enters my head has equal importance, even though rationally I KNOW that I need to be studying for this exam! So I get distracted by EVERYTHING that pops into my head, and it ends up taking me 6 hours to do the amount of work that I should be able to do in 2. It’s incredibly frustrating, and I’ve read several books on concentration techniques and ways to adjust, and none of it has helped very much. It definitely makes vet school suck up WAAAAAAY more time than it should.

    • Wild type! πŸ™‚ You know, come to think of it, that actually doesn’t surprise me about you. In reading your blog, I’ve noticed lots of similarities in how we time manage (or don’t time manage, as the case may be). Some of your posts have made me think, “Oh, wow, I’m glad I’m not the only person who does that!” And it is amazing how loooooooooong the simplest of things can take! Omega 3’s are supposed to be helpful–if I could just remember to take them!

  2. Hello once again,

    Happy first day!! Although I know that you’re now booked solid for the next 4 months, I thought I would stop by to say: Best of luck and ENJOY!! Also, thanks for the kind words. Perhaps I will see you next year. πŸ™‚

    Also, if you find that your ADD symptoms are getting in the way, feel free to leave a note. I too have ADD that was finally discovered when I was in grad school (ah, the joys of being a psych major) but I wasn’t officially diagnosed until I was 32 – and that was done by a general practitioner. Let me tell ya, after that it ALL made sense. I will admit that I’ve been on meds and they’ve made world of difference for me; but there are other things you can try like blueberries – whole fruit, smoothies, juice, etc… And no, I’m not kidding. They really are a super fruit! πŸ™‚


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