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Find out what our undergraduate veterinary medicine students have to say about living and studying in Edinburgh.
Transitioning from high school to Uni

Transitioning from high school to Uni

Hey, my name is Annabel and I’m a new first year vet student at the University of Edinburgh.

Obviously, things are very different this year but I wanted to share my experience of transitioning from high school to university, especially during this time.

So, a bit of background on my high school experience. I went to the same Grammar school in England from Year 7 to 13, and I studied biology, chemistry and maths A level. Being in high school means, usually without realising, that you develop a very familiar routine and that to me was the biggest difference at first when starting university. The lectures don’t follow the same timetable each day and you don’t have as much structure controlling your out-of-lecture time, it’s all a lot more self-driven.

The course itself has a lot of new content, which, after a summer of quarantine, felt a bit much at first. But the content is very enjoyable to learn, I really do love the course. Anatomy is my personal favourite as it plays into my visual, diagram-loving self. I felt like I fell into the course quite quickly. Whilst a lot of the terms are new, and at the beginning seem like a lot, you end up using them with every new lecture and practical which helps consolidate them. The practicals themselves are the best part of the course as you get to turn the visual you developed on your own in your room into a real life, tangible structure.

The biggest difference of the course for me is to do with the assessments. Assessments in high school tended to follow the same format throughout the years. At university the final grade is not completely determined by the final exam and there are a lot more, smaller assessed projects throughout the year. I find it harder to know what the expectations and standards actually are. Luckily, the assessed material at the moment is more about personal development and there is a lot less pressure to achieve the highest grade possible – which I experienced a lot in high school. In-course assignments are usually such a small proportion of the final grade and are so much more about aiding your learning then assessing your skill.

The biggest impact of COVID is the social aspect. Only being on campus once a week and having a lack of the usual Freshers’ events, means I feel like I haven’t been able to meet as many students. It feels like I am meeting new people every day even now. I’m incredibly lucky that I get on very well with my flatmates, which makes a huge difference. So far everyone I’ve met has been absolutely lovely and the vet school specific societies play a very big role in the socialising I’ve done. I definitely would not have met as many older years otherwise.

The vet school here is such a welcoming community, even during these times. All the older years are incredibly supportive and are always offering help, especially with the workbooks we produce. The staff are very helpful and the support system is very strong. Having been quite anxious before I came to university, it’s a lot more comforting when you feel like you have a huge network of people to talk to. I think that is one of the biggest advantages of the online system – I feel a lot more comfortable answering and asking questions.

Whilst I was excited to come, I was also very nervous to move to uni. Edinburgh is quite far from my home and I didn’t know anybody else coming here. Due to the support systems and amazing people I’ve met I felt like I got into uni life quite quickly. It’s very different from high school: whilst there’s a lack of structure controlling your learning, I personally feel there’s a lot more emotional support between the staff and students. If you can hit the ground running and stay on top of the work then you’re half the way there.



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