My Move Across the Country

If anyone is still out there, I’m writing to say I am still in fact alive. My time at Unity has come to an end and I have moved to San Diego, California. I got here a couple weeks ago and I absolutely love it. My plans at Unity drastically changed when I failed to pass my Praxis 2 teaching test. It was much harder than I expected and I missed it by only 2 points. However, my teaching career doesn’t end here, I still plan to get my teaching certificate one day, just in a different way. I will graduate from Unity in May with my Captive Wildlife Care and Education degree and when I do finally pass my Praxis 2 test I will be allowed to student teach and receive my teaching degree and be a qualified teacher.

2013-02-09_16-22-59_226 I will be back in Unity for graduation in May and am very excited for that. It’s so weird not being there. Leaving my roommate was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but it was time for me to move on and step into the real world.

So far out here I have had an interview at Sea World and I have an interview at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park tomorrow. For Sea World, I had to do a microphone test before my actual interview. They had me create a three minute speech about tide pools and actually perform it with a microphone in front of the tide pools in the park. It was nerve racking, but nothing I haven’t done before. I think I did pretty well and my interview went smoothly as well. I’m still waiting to hear back from them though. The job is for an education position, but it would be the first step to getting back into marine mammal training. The job I’m interviewing for at the Zoo is for a tour guide position. I have a lot of experience in giving tours thanks to Unity College Admissions so I should be all set for the interview! It’s all so overwhelming, but I’m so ready to get my first real “big kid job!”

So keep on reading and I’ll be writing soon about this exciting next chapter of my life!

LAST EXAM WEEK EVER!

16184_4218305262299_2085813816_nThis is day one of my last week of finals. I was supposed to teach at the highschool today but they had a snow day so I spent the entire day in the library busting out my last project and studying. I have two big finals on Thursday and those are Mammalogy and Animal Health. Tomorrow is the last day of classes and all we are doing is review which helps a lot in the study process. The only thing I am looking forward to right now is for Friday because we are going skiing. And Saturday I am making that drive back to Ohio once again. We went skiing last weekend and it was extremely windy at the bottom of the mountain, but not at the top. So during our first run of the day we made it to the top and skied down, but no one told us that once we got down we couldn’t get back up. They shut all the lifts at the bottom down, but not the ones towards the top. So if you were already up there, all you had to do was just ski like half way down and you were fine. However we didn’t catch on so once we got to the bottom there was no going back up unless we wanted to hike. That didn’t get us down though and we ended up having the most intense and fun snow ball fight of my life.

A really cool thing that happened at Unity recently is the new arrival of our two baby sharks. They are called chain-linked cat sharks. They just arrived about three weeks ago and are located in our Wet Lab in our Science building, Koons Hall. For my Interpretive Methods class, me and my partner had to design a website as our Media Project for the Wet Lab. Here is the link for anyone who wants to check it out. We just handed the site over to the students and professors who are in charge of the Wet Lab and they will be adding new features on it soon such as the shark cam. They want to eventually, hopefully next semester, have a live shark feed on the website so everyone can see them anytime.

Unity is finally looking wintery and the snow and cold I think is finally around to stay. When I come back in January the snow will most likely be a couple of feet high and the temperature in the negatives. That is how it always is in January when we come back up after break. I’m not the biggest fan of those months, but skiing every weekend keeps me alive and okay with the cold.

Yes, I am Still Alive Up Here

Hello everybody. I’m sorry I have not written in so long, but this can just explain how much more work Senior year truly is. The week before Thanksgiving was the hardest week of my life, school wise. The one thing I want to mention is what I had to do for my Animal Health class. We had our lab practical and also a take home test due. The practical was a hands on test where we were given a goat to perform different procedures on such as taking its pulse, listening to the breathing, taking and recording its temperature(yes that does mean sticking a thermometer up the butt), and learning how to give several different kinds of injections. We also had to learn how to give injections to smaller animals like birds and squirrels. Everyone’s practical was different, but for mine, along with having to work on the goat, I also had to measure out a certain dosage and inject it into an orange, a squirrel, and a small bird(that were both dead). You had to know exactly where to inject the shot based on what kind of shot and dosage it was and what species it was. It was a test I was very nervous for because there was much it could be one, but I learned a lot from it and even really enjoyed doing it all. The same goes for my take home test. It was a test where we were not allowed to use the internet, just our notes and brains. It was really interesting because we had to take what we knew and our past experiences and use them to answer the questions. The questions put us in real world situations and we had to act like a real keeper and decide what to do. For example, a question would be if a skunk was brought into you with digestive issues what kinds of tests would you run on him and what would each test show. I’ll attach my final version of the test for you all to take a look at if you want. It’ll be a good thing to look at for an example of what a test might look like during your senior year. Animal Health Exam III 2012 (2). We have one more project for that class and that is a presentation about the captive breeding of a certain species. My group picked dolphins (of course!). I haven’t started it yet, but it should be a very fun and interesting project to do. This is a very hard class, but I love it because I really enjoy what I’m learning and I know it’s going to be so valuable later in my career.

My other classes are going fine, just not as exciting as Animal Health. I have a position paper to write for Mammalogy, which I’m choosing to write about elephant poaching. This Saturday is Unity’s Student Conference. At the end of every semester we have this so students can showcase their work they’ve done and some can even win money. We are presenting all of our work for my Interpretive Methods class and I will post pictures of that next week. It should be a good time, it’s always neat to see everyone’s work in one place. It’s held at the Unity Performing Arts center (a small theater owned by the college right in Unity) and is always packed with students, teachers, and even the occasional parent or townsman.

One highlight in my life this month was getting to go to California to visit the boyfriend 🙂 He flew me out there for his Marine Corps Ball. It was so much fun and very relaxing. I did miss 2 days of school for it, so I suffered that next week, the one right before Thanksgiving, but it was definitely worth it. All the professors here are so understanding and if you have a commitment like that where it calls for missing some classes, all you have to do is talk to them weeks in advance and they will always do what they can to accommodate you. I talked to mine at the beginning of the year and then gave them reminders when it got close and they were all very understanding with me missing a class or two. The same goes if you need to miss for being sick. Even if you don’t let them know until the morning of, as long as you send them a nice email saying why you won’t be in class, they are almost always okay with it. The only thing professors here don’t really like is skipping class for no reason. They usually won’t say anything directly, but unexcused absences do sometimes count against you if teachers take attendance and use it for some kind of grade at the end of the semester.

And also, Thanksgiving vacation was amazing and very relaxing. I love spending time with my family and I even got to toss the old softball around with my dad. Ohio was so warm the entire break and I was loving every minute of it. It was literally like 69 degrees on Thanksgiving day. Maine is chilly for sure, but nothing terrible yet. We are going skiing this weekend, on Sunday! As of right now there are only 14 trails open, which is not a lot at all, but its something and I can’t wait!

Hurricane Sandy Misses Unity

I feel kind of guilty wishing Hurricane Sandy had brought us something a little more impressive. I’ll be the first to admit that I was sort of hoping for a “hurricane day” off school today. But Sandy brought us no such luck. But I do send out my prayers to those who are feeling the effects of Sandy’s worst. Sandy did bring us some rain, still going on today and I heard it was pretty windy last night. I do enjoy storms, almost too much. I also heard that Hawaii was hit by a tsunami last Saturday. That is crazy, but I still wish I could have been there. It would have been quite the experience.

Well anyway, this week is pretty uneventful. I have no big tests or assignments due so I actually have time to get other things done. I went to Nokomis Regional High yesterday, where I help teach 9th graders there. I will be teaching a lot more during the month of November, where I will be teaching about Global Warming and sustainability. (very Unity, I know) Halloween is tomorrow and I’m very excited. Last weekend however, was the Unity College annual Halloween Dance. It’s definitely one of my favorite dances here. There are crazy costume competitions students can win, good food, always a fun DJ, and of course it’s a great time on the dance floor. Last week we did a really cool lab during both my Mammalogy and Animal Health lab. We anesthetized a gray squirrel and five mice we caught in the Unity Forest using traps. It was really interesting to see how they reacted to the gas. We put them in a chamber and they went to sleep after about 1-2 minutes. We then weighed them, put them back in their cages, and then released them all back into the forest. The mice were really quick to come back, once they were off the gas they were wide awake and moving around in seconds. Which made things really difficult when taking a weight on them. Don’t worry, only one mouse managed to escape and was recaptured shortly afer. The picture is of tow of the mice inside the gas chamber. You can’t really tell from the picture, but these mice are almost asleep. Moments after this shot, the top one feel right alseep on top of the other one. It was precious.

Next week I will be flying to California to see my long, lost boyfriend who currently is a Marine stationed in San Diego. I know I don’t really ever mention my personal life, other than pictures, but I just have to mention this because I AM SO EXCITED 🙂 Also, I will be checking all kinds of places out because I will be needing a job out there after I graduate. I want to check out local school districts, camps, and maybe even Sea World San Diego or the San Deigo Zoo. It’s so overwhelming to think of all the possibilities I will have after I leave Unity.

Application for Student Teaching

Just turned in my application for student teaching. I will be starting (if everything gets approved) January 2nd 2013 in a middle school classroom, somewhere around or at least close to Unity. I am really excited and nervous at the same time. I’m ready and excited for my classes to be over this semester, but student teaching is going to be a lot of work. I will be in charge of making lessons, giving tests, grading assignments, and so much more every single day. I will not be on the same schedule as Unity anymore. I will be following the state of Maine’s school district schedule which means I start on January 2nd, unlike Unity that starts like 3 weeks after that. I will not get Unity’s two week spring break, instead I get a week off in Febuary and a week off in April. After my April vacation, my student teaching will be complete. I will most likely be taking one class at night at Unity next semetser and that is Human Development. It is kind of a bummer, but it’s better than not graduating because of it. I still have to pass my praxis 2 test (which is this big 3 hour long test you have to pass right before you student teach all about life science becasue my teaching degree is in that) and finish my portfolio. I can show you all the link to my portfolio now, but keep in mind that it’s no where near finished. https://sites.google.com/site/missthorntonsportfolio/

I have a big test in mammology on Thursday so most of my time this week will be spent studying. The leaves are finally starting to fall and the bare, wintery trees are coming in. It makes me all the more excited for skiing! I can’t believe it’ll be my last year skiing up here. Maybe my last year skiing in a long time. After all of my classes today are over, I have to go to my house and set up 25 sherman traps in the woods in my backyard. I will be putting peanut butter balls in each on and also a little bit of material so they can keep warm if I do happen to catch any mice. I will have to check these every morning for the next two weeks. If I do catch a mouse, I will have to catpure, restrain it, and then weigh it. Then set it free. It’ll be a lot of work, but I think this is going to be a pretty neat project. Well I have to go make some flash cards so take care world 🙂

Grad School???

So its official. I just applied to Grad school! I’m applying to Miami University (in Ohio). It’s a program called Project Dragonfly and it sounds absolutely amazing! It’s a two 1/2 year program and it starts out with a 10 day trip to either Belize or Baja, California. This trip is an introductory course that will prepare and introduce you to what you can expect for the next couple years. After that for the fall and spring it’s all online classes so I can have a real job and live anywhere I want. And that summer will consist of an expedition to a country of my choice (off a list they give me) to study and work at different organizations all over. The next year will be the same, online classes then a summer trip to a new place. I’ll finish with either my Masters of Zoology or Teaching, which are both my majors right now at Unity. I’ve almost finished my application process, just a few things to finalize. I can’t believe it. Grad school..it just sounds so grown up. Here’s a link to Project Dragon Fly. I know it’s early for any of you readers, but I got a flyer about this when I was 19, during my first internship at the Cincinnati Zoo and I held on to it for 3 years when I needed it. It’s never too early to think about your future, especially when it deals with your education or career.

I haven’t written about classes in a while or anything really so here’s the scoop. Today I have a big test in Animal Health and it’s all about parasites, bacteria, and pathogens. Also about capture and restraint of animals. I have been studying a lot for it, making all kinds of flash cards and coming up with crazy acronyms in my head to help me remember theses huge words. For example, roundworm is also called Baylisascarsis procyonis, and how I remember that is its most common in raccoons, and the word BaylisaSCARsis, and raccoons give you scars. It works for me. We’ve been going on all kinds of different field trips for my Interpretive Methods class. Each week for lab we go to a new museum. Yesterday we went to the China Middle School forest, where they have the trail system set up in different interpretive sites and they even have a giant tree house they call the Reading Tree. They also had a fairy house station where the students would collect sticks and different findings from the wood and build their own “fairy houses.” That was my personal favorite spot in the woods. Last week we went to the L.C. Bates Museum. It was really old and freezing cold, but they had so much inside. There was a room with over 60,000 rocks and another with the same amount of sea shells. There was several different rooms with all kinds of taxidermy (animals). There even was a bird that looked like Kevin, from Up.

For animal health lab last week we went to our shooting range on campus and learned how to shoot a blow gun, riffle, and little hand gun (all tranquilizers). Our targets were different stuffed animals like a unicorn and a stuffed bear. I actually did quite well, hitting the unicorn’s butt with the blow gun, and the bear’s belly with the other guns. I was quite proud of myself. This week in lab we watched a movie about a lady named Temple Grandid who is autistic and designed a new type of slaughter-house for cows that keeps them calm, not scared or stressed, and all around saves money due to better conditions for the animals. The movie was so inspiring and really showed how in order for you to design an exhibit for an animal, you really have to put yourself in their shoes and look at things how they would, not how you would. She actually got down on her hands and knees and walked all throughout the slaughter-house determining every aspect of what makes things scary in a cow’s eyes. Here is a link to her official website: http://www.templegrandin.com/ If anyone out there hasn’t watched her movie, I highly suggest doing so. Or you can wait until you come to Unity, become you will probably watch it or parts of it for a class. Here are some pictures of this lab.

Last weekend, two of my roommates, our friend Brandon, and I all went to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park for the day to explore, eat, shop, and take pictures. We ate at an Irish pub called Paddy’s and it was quite nice. Then we drove to the top of a mountain and the view was absolutely amazing. There were two huge cruise ships in bar harbor and they still looked big at the top of the mountain. We also found a beach called Sand Beach and it was beautiful too. It was the first real sand beach I’ve seen in Maine. The water was crystal clear blue. We came back to Bar Harbor after exploring and bought some fudge for the ride home. It’s only about an hour 1/2 from Unity so it’s not a bad trip at all to make. Below I’ll post some pictures of the beautiful Acadia (the first 2 pictures) and around Unity in the fall.

   

Gloomy Weather Reflects My Mood

Feeling a little blah lately. It’s been raining here for the past couple weeks on and off and its really reflecting my mood today. I think everyone on campus feels the same today because after tomorrow, it’s fall break. That means we get a nice, long (and much-needed) 4 day weekend. So right now all I want is the weekend to be here and to get a break from class. Fall break always comes right in time. Right when your brain starts to feel a little burnt out and you just really need some down time. A lot of people go home for this little vacation, but for those of us who live far away, we have to come up with our own fall break festivities. This year, for our last fall break, me and my roommates and a few other friends are going to hike Katahdin. Mount Katahdin is the highest mountain in Maine at 5,268 feet. There are several different routes you can take to the top, but it’ll probably be around a 7 mile hike. I’m nervous but it’s something you have to do before you leave Maine and my time is running out here. Me and my roommate aren’t the type of people who you would call hikers, in fact, besides a few in Hawaii and one in Africa, I haven’t hiked a mountain since my NOVA trip freshman year. But I am ready for it and its going to be a lot of fun. (and a very good work out)

So classes are going well. We had a really fun lab on Tuesday in Animal Health. We went to Hart to Hart farm in Albion, Maine (about 10 minutes from Unity). Once there we each got our own calf on a harness and got to work with them, trying to get them used to walking on it. Some were really scared and pulled a lot because this was very new to them. Even being outside of the barn was new so they were a little difficult to work with. However, some already had some experience outside the barn and did pretty well on the harness. That was my calf. Her name was Jeanie and she was a Jersey cow. She was very cute and would sniff the ground like a dog. They taught us that if our calf was pulling, don’t let up, because if we did, they would get the sense that if they pull hard enough, they will eventually get what they want. Instead, if they pulled, the only time we should let up is if they finally come toward us the way we want. Even the slightest motion towards you, you give them all the slack so they will be rewarded for coming the way you want. Eventually you can get the calf to go (for the most part) anyway you want and you can hold the rope very close to their head and they shouldn’t pull too much. After the cow lessons, we moved on to catching chickens. This was part of the capture and restraint lessons we learned in class. It takes a lot of work to properly catch any animal, with the least amount of stress possible. We all took turns trying to catch the chickens and worked together in groups. I wasn’t able to catch one, however a few of my classmates were. We also got to work with the goats and sheep some too, however all we did for them was move their pasture from one side of the farm to another. They have a movable fence because if you leave goats and sheep in one place too long, they will have completely destroyed all of the vegetation in that area.

All my other classes are going well. This week I’ve been working a lot on my internship portfolio. I’m creating and designing a website for it so all of my journal posts, supervisor evaluation, my resume, my reflection of my internship, and much more will be right on one website. (and of course all kinds of cute pictures) Well I just have to get through the rest of this day and I have work tomorrow, either at Admissions training our new tour guides or subbing if they call me. And then its FALL BREAK 🙂