What’s it like to be a first year vet student?

Posted on April 19, 2017 by James Mullarkey

I'm not a vet myself but since I've been working for BVA I've read a lot about vet students, how hard it is to get a place on a veterinary course and the challenges of juggling the study time, exams, EMS and any spare time which might be left over keeping up with friends and family.

When I was a student I was often told "it was a lot harder in my day" but this isn't true for students today. I had full grant, was the last year to not have to pay fees and I (only) went to University for three years and left with a relatively small amount of debt.

Liverpool University Veterinary Science student Rosie Perrett wrote a diary throughout her first year of the course. Her First year student diary was serialised in Veterinary Record to give a snapshot of life as a vet student. I thought it was worth sharing her monthly articles to try and give people a picture of what it's like to be a first year vet student.

Rosie Perrett on a horseLeaving home and moving to Liverpool

My planned year out had turned into a month and now I had plenty to do. I started busying myself with applying for accommodation, setting up my university account and profile, applying for a maintenance loan, getting membership for the university's veterinary society and filling out various forms, including a health questionnaire.
Read the full article on the Veterinary Record website

Learning fundamental clinical skills

The timetable is jam-packed with lectures and lab time, which can often mean a nine to five day. Friends on other courses can't believe that we can work so much, but having a regular routine makes organising time a lot easier as well as regulating a decent body clock.
Read the full article on the Veterinary Record website

It’s nearly Christmas and then the exams start!

Most recently, we've been introduced to the exam system, and I'm conscious they are fast approaching, along with Christmas – the two just seem to have gone hand in hand for the past seven years. The exam format is completely different from what I'm used to; instead of the course being modular, each subject is incorporated into every exam, with each one having a different layout. 
Read the full article on the Veterinary Record website

Revision, exams and then more revision

When it came to the exams, I felt I my knowledge was strongest in infectious diseases and the kidney, and it was just unfortunate those two topics didn't come up in the first exam. The first exam was multiple choice and it felt very specific and, having the answer and other options made me double guess myself.
Read the full article on Veterinary Record website

Learning the basics of client communication

This term we've undertaken more group-based activities including assignments and role-play scenarios. As part of our professional skills course, we performed a scenario where we were required to deliver information effectively to a client.

Read the full article on the Veterinary Record website

EMS lambing during the Easter holidays

I did two weeks' lambing EMS over the Easter holidays on two different farms. I learnt an incredible amount that sitting down and reading a book wouldn't have taught me.

Read the full article on the Veterinary Record website

Exams done time to relax (and so some EMS)

I purposely didn't book any holidays for this summer because I was too nervous that I would be resitting my exams in August, but I am relieved to say I passed all five. Over the past month I've completed two weeks of EMS. My first week was at the stables and, despite being a regular, I took the time to take into consideration the things I've learnt over the year. It's a competition yard, so maintaining the horses' health and fitness is of great importance.

Read the full article on the Veterinary Record website

BVA support for Veterinary students

Interested in veterinary careers?

James Mullarkey

Written by James Mullarkey

BVA Head of Digital

James is responsible for the BVA digital estate including the BVA website, Vets.tv, social media channels and digital link ups with the Veterinary Record, In Practice, Vet Record Careers, Veterinary Record Open and Veterinary Record Case Reports websites.

Connect with James on LinkedIn