Today, I wanted to give you an example of what a typical week is like as first year vet student. We are currently in the weeks running up to the end of semester exams and alongside what goes on in my vet school life, I have included some of the things I do to make sure I don’t reach my stress quota.
There’s nothing that wakes you up quite like a pharynx dissection at 9am on a Monday morning. While the smell and the fluids take a bit of getting used to, I find my dissections the most valuable class in consolidating my understanding of anatomy. No matter how well you can memorise the names of structures, seeing them before you is irreplaceable – it allows you to appreciate how these anatomical landmarks lie relative to each other. Next up was an EMS workshop where we discussed different situations that may arise during our placements and how we can professionally and respectfully handle them. I then had a good chunk of time before my last class of the day: the horse handling assessment. Our animal handling assessments are used to ensure we have basic handling skills for dogs, cats, cows, sheep, and horses before we start EMS for the sake of our safety and that of other animals and humans.
On Tuesday I had four lectures and so I used the relatively free day to go through some cell biology revision in preparation for my assessment at the end of the term. My flatmate and I played pool in our common room as a study break, and I lost both games (for all the pool players out there that was only because I potted the white with the black on the first game). That evening I worked through my histology lab book which is part of the course work we have due in December and then forced the rest of my flatmates to come out on a mental health walk in the rain with me. As usual this turned out to be a good laugh and resulted in us all wrapped in pajamas, drinking hot chocolate, and playing card games. At midnight Rhys was finally able to shave his moustache from No-Shave November and he instantly missed it.
This was a tougher day for me as I was really struggling with my ADHD and focusing on anything was incredibly difficult. I spent some hours studying with my friend and flatmate in a fabulous coffee shop called Love, Peace and Coffee. However getting anything done was a real struggle. In the evening, to benefit my mental health, I decided to stop working for several hours to give myself some grace and we all went to my flatmates’ church’s Christmas dinner. It was incredibly fun, and we managed to somehow come second in the quiz despite very flaky Christmas song knowledge. On the way back we popped into Old College to see the Christmas tree lit up and then the pub to see some friends.
This morning I did my first lecture from bed. It may not be the most ‘pinteresty’, productive way of working, but sometimes you need to lie in bed for an extra hour simply because you don’t feel like getting up. After my second lecture my flatmate and I made French toast and a mess in the kitchen at the same time. In the afternoon I finished my lectures and headed to the library with my friend to get some work done… only for her laptop not to work. One painful hour later we were sorted and I began writing this blog! Tonight, I plan on doing some yoga to get some movement into my day and try and clear my stress-filled head to finish the week on a good note.
Tomorrow is my quietest workday of the week. I have one histology class in person at the vet school and then a lot of work to do thanks to my past, procrastinating, self. In the afternoon my flatmate’s mum arrives from Chicago to visit and we are all excited to meet her and get as many embarrassing stories about Rhys out of her as possible. Then in the evening, as per tradition, I am going to pre pres, then pres and then the club to finish off the week.
I hope this has provided a little insight into what the full university experience is like and not just the veterinary side of it. It is chaotic and messy and full of mistakes but at the same time it is full of joy and laughter, good friends and happiness.