Rosie Perrett is back in the swing of things at Liverpool vet school.
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I've been back roughly a month but it feels much longer. Last year it took me so long to get into the swing of things that we were practically halfway through the term before I noticed. Rumours about second year suggested that we would be given slightly less contact time; however, I have learned never to listen to rumours again because they were wrong, oh so wrong! Needless to say, I think this coming week will be the toughest so far, with at least 20 hours of lecture time plus group or practical work. There really is no let up, currently.
We've been introduced to several more topics this semester, including pathology and parasitology. These run alongside our normal structure and function (NSF) and animal husbandry lectures, which were the core of last year's studies.
Our first set of NSF lectures have been on ‘diverse species’. Long gone (at least for now) are cats and dogs, and in ‘hop’ rabbits, birds, reptiles and fish. The great thing about these lectures are the animal handling practicals that run alongside. I've never owned any small animals, and the only ones I've had to handle were the dead ones the cat used to leave as a present on the doorstep. If I'm honest, I got mum to deal with them most of the time.
I'm not a massive fan of rats; I think its their long tail that puts me off. However, my feelings towards them may have been altered, as the ones we handled were rather lovely and I was one of the few students who didn't get urinated or defecated on. The hamsters, on the other hand, were far less friendly, and my feelings towards them are somewhat different. Our bird handling was a lot different from anything I'd done before. Previously, I'd done a week's experience at a falconry, but birds of prey are very different from chickens, ducks, pigeons and aviary birds. I was more concerned that I was going to kill one, knowing full well how fragile aviary birds can be . . . but I didn't, and neither did I let one free to fly around the room. So, all in all, it was a successful couple of handling sessions – aside from the hamster, of course.
Also within the first few weeks of term, we had to deliver a group presentation on a particular genetic disease/disorder as part of our genetics course. Our group delivered a presentation on canine hip dysplasia. With only 10 minutes to give the presentation, it was quite a push; however, it did highlight the fact that I may be unusual in that I really enjoy looking up and reading research, especially any up-and-coming stuff. Anyway, it's a good starting point for the literature review that I have to produce next semester; it's finding a topic that is proving a bit more difficult.