Friday, October 28, 2011

school has started at Animal Behavior College

as you may be aware, i am taking classes with Animal Behavior College to become a professional dog trainer. i started studying the reading material for the Stage 1 exam over a month ago--the test is due this tuesday. yup. i'm That Girl.

you know... the one who's way too happy about school and books and studying and also office supplies and bags for carrying said books and office supplies

in fact, i am so That Girl, i am taking the test tomorrow instead of waiting for tuesday. the tests are all accessible online, so you can pretty much take them anytime you want before their due dates.

i'm the kind of person who enjoys taking tests, enjoys being tested, enjoys receiving grades. it's kind of sick, and i'm sure a therapist would have a field day with that, but i've been this way as long as i can remember. in college, the idea of a pass/fail class made me want to pass out. how can i know how awesome i am if you don't tell me? i know. i have problems.

here are a few more of my problems:
  • the test is open book. some folks would be doing a happy dance, but i'm upset. for one, i feel like that should mean the test is going to be harder. i know from the past that's not always the case--which baffles me--but you never know. for two, it feels like cheating. can't anybody do well on a test if you have the freakin' book with you at the time? i vowed to myself before this started that i would NOT use the book when i took my exams. i wanted to really absorb the information. i won't have a book when i'm out training doggies, right?
this dobie totally feels me

  • there is NO WAY i can possibly take this test without the book. Stage 1 covers a lot. too much. many of the terms and theories we need to know have definitions that barely differ from one another; so, it would be a matter of memorization more than learning, and that's not what my goal is. i realize much of learning is memorization in disguise anyway, but i hope you get my point. (that point being that i'm a nerd and a geek, but also that i don't want to just sit down with flashcards. i want to simply know the stuff. so now i feel like i've cheated myself already, plus i'm going to be "cheating" again tomorrow.) what topics does this stage cover? the AKC breeds & their characteristics; canine developmental periods; vaccinations; common health problems; common parasites; the musculoskeletal system; breeding; canine communication & body language.
the AKC hound group. these are my peeps.
  • desmond is not going to understand that i'm taking a test and can't be disturbed. yes, my husband will be home and, yes, he is aware of the situation and will be entertaining the dog for the duration of the test. what's the duration of the test? i have no clue at all. it's multiple choice, then a short-answer section, then an essay section. this could take me an hour or three hours. what are the chances desmond will just sit quietly on the couch with joey from the beginning to the end of my test-taking adventure? i would say slim. there will be whining. there will be running. there will be toy-grabbing and barking. methinks joey should just go park it at the dog run, and i'll call him when it's safe to return. :-)
i'm sorry, des, but mommy cannot help you get the ball from under the table that's a foot away from you right now
  • there is no real class or professor i can discuss/debate things with or ask questions of. each student at ABC is assigned a program director to work with throughout their courses. you can call or email your PD with any questions, including questions about the material. so, of course, i sent this poor guy an insane email with all my questions (in a bullet list, obviously). i sent it yesterday around 4:30. the school is in california; i am in new york. i'm impatiently waiting for a reply. i should probably also ask him if he can estimate how long the test will take. or how many questions are on it. a 30-question test and a 75-question test are quite different. i may need to bring lunch or a snack into my office at home... 

  • never mind all this, i have to get ready for the next test! and the next after that! starting on 11/15, there are tests due every week for a while. do you have any idea how insane this is making me on the inside? you can probably guess, based on how insane it's clearly making me on the outside.

likely, all will be fine. i am determined to graduate with honors, however, and therefore the grades are even more important to me than usual. not that even getting perfect scores on every exam is going to make me a good trainer, but ya know...i'm crazy.

what about you guys? are you crazy? were you a school nerd, too? what's your favorite AKC group?
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