Spring is finally here: the sun is shining and generally everyone seems a lot perkier says Rosie Perrett, first-year student at Liverpool. Whether that's related to the Easter break is not clear as the past month has been as busy as ever.
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At the beginning of March, I went to Crufts along with vet students from across the country. I don't own a dog and the only competitions/events I've been to have been horsey ones. So Crufts was new experience for me, and was one of the best days out this year. I thought Kensington Olympia was big, but it had nothing on the NEC. I'm also sure that, if I were more passionate about dogs, I could have spent quite a bit of money.
We were introduced to the Kennel Club in a talk by its chairman, Steve Dean, and we heard from eminent veterinary researchers, too. We then got the opportunity to explore the show and watch the events in the main arena. My favourite discovery was ‘flyball’, where a team of dogs relay up and down hurdles picking up a ball at one end, and the first one back wins.
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. I thought I was an adequate communicator, but the task revealed areas I can improve on. The first point, and now blatantly obvious to me, is that I need to remember to introduce myself to the client instead of wading straight in with delivering the information. I also need to learn how to be more concise in summarising information, both verbal and written. As with everything, practice will make perfect.
Our other group-based activities include interpreting and examining epidemiological studies: we're given details of published research, and have to conduct various statistical analyses in order to interpret the results and draw conclusions. I've always liked numbers, and felt I was good at them, though these exercises take this to a whole new level. Working as a group is a good way of learning and understanding, since it gives us the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other and play to our strengths. I've found learning by teaching/ helping a peer helps me have a greater understanding of the statistical method for each study.
After doing my dissertation last year, I realised that I enjoyed reading research papers and can use it to improve my understanding of a subject. For example, I was unsure of how the circadian rhythm worked and the effects of the body clock on daily hormone levels; after reading some published studies, I was able to gain a fresh insight. I find it fascinating how, in some respects, a routine is as crucial to our lives as well as for our furry friends. So, with the clocks having just gone forward, I've been looking forward to Easter before embarking on the final quarter of my first vet school year.