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First-year student diary

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First-year Liverpool vet student Rosie Perrett finds that standard-issue surgical gowns are too long when you're not quite 5 feet tall.

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I cannot believe that time is going so quickly; I am already halfway through my second term. During the February half term for schools, a friend who is studying for a postgraduate certificate in education was able to visit and we became tourists for a few days. We would have seen more of Liverpool if we hadn't kept just missing the city tour bus every time we turned up at a stop. Instead, we contented ourselves with ambling around the city and the docks. As well as having a good catch up, we celebrated her recent job offer to work at the school where she is currently training. Mum and Dad also visited me during the middle of the week, which was the perfect excuse to go for some great food, at a lovely, quirky Italian restaurant.

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During the first few weeks of term we covered the basics of behaviour. Behaviour was one of my favourite modules during my zoology degree, albeit being more diverse in terms of species – from insects to birds to squirrels to primates. Nonetheless, it gave me a stable platform to work off. For me, behaviour is fascinating and I could easily spend hours observing my cat. I would love to understand what he is trying to tell me: what does attacking the carpet or any one of my shoes actually mean, and why does he meow constantly? If I could be this generation's Doctor Dolittle I would – perhaps that will be my niche in life?

We weren't examined on clinical skills in our formative exams, having only had a term to practise so far. Nevertheless, I think I am getting to grips with the skills we've been taught. Although I'm more confident with some than others, namely knot tying, calculating drug dosages and aseptic technique, I am still finding bandaging fiddly. It's tricky enough putting a bandage on a replica animal, let alone a live one. I have also discovered that the standard-issue surgical gowns are not a good fit, and I may have to invest in my own shorter one to avoid it being a safety hazard. I never quite made it to 5 foot and apparently it's that half-inch that makes all the difference.

Aside from that, I've recently learnt how to perform basic testing of blood and urine samples. I've learnt that making a blood smear is not as easy as it looks. That said, after a few ‘dodgy’ attempts I was able to produce a good enough slide, and it was immensely satisfying then to view it under the microscope, and begin to interpret was I was looking at.

Interviews for the next intake of veterinary students have started, which is a scary thought, and I'm very grateful that I was accepted last time. While I'm sure that none of my year group would want to repeat the nerve-racking process of interviews, anticipation was a lot worse than the real thing.

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