First-year Liverpool vet student, Rosie Perrett, was happy to be home for Christmas, where she took the chance to sleep and reflect.
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Preparation for my exams is well under way, although I allowed myself some time off over the festive period. It wasn't until I got home that I realised how long the term had been and how much we had covered, including: anatomy of the musculoskeletal, urinary, cardiac and respiratory systems; infectious diseases (bacteria, viruses, and vaccine science); and animal husbandry (feeding, housing, environment and domestication). More recently we've started animal welfare and public health. We also studied ethics, professionalism, clinical note taking, clinical skills, dissections, bone practicals, histology, and how to work independently. Of course, these are just the starting points, and I know that we've only covered the basics; however, I already feel a little closer to understanding and thinking like a vet.
Each subject came with its own challenges, but I think my first trouble came with transferring lectures to notes. I've never been confident enough with my knowledge to write brief notes, just in case I missed something vital, so I used to write up every lecture word for word. I soon realised this was rather naïve; not only was it time consuming, but I was also kidding myself into think I was being proactive. I think I've now got something that works for me; I'll let you know after the formative exams that start on January 20.
So far I've much preferred the practical side, and stuffing the Christmas goose took on a whole new fascination! I enjoy having my hands and brain busy at the same time, which is why I knew my chosen vocation had to include both.
Histology, despite its initial complexity, allows a ‘microview’ of the whole animal and I'm beginning to see and recognise cells and tissues. In contrast, dry practicals and dissections offer a ‘macroview’ that complements my growing anatomical knowledge to allow me to visualise organs in situ on live animals.
I have mixed feelings about infectious diseases; while I've managed to get a grip of viruses, bacteria just aren't my thing quite yet. Animal husbandry provides light relief from our anatomy lectures, which are rather intense; I'm not saying it's easy but, having already gained work experience in this area the concepts and topics are easier to grasp. With this knowledge, I'm more able to critically look at the husbandry of animals. Having spent a large part of my holiday time with my cat and a friend's horses, it has made me wonder what I could do better for their husbandry!
I've gained in confidence in my natural ability; I never thought I'd get to vet school, so being here and feeling like I'm learning the necessary skills has given me a boost. It's only the start to this exciting journey, but I know it'll lead me to where I want to be.