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Third-year student diary

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Every month, Vet Record Careers checks in with third-year Liverpool vet student, Rosie Perrett.

The past term has been the shortest and busiest of the year - with three weeks of lectures, a week of revision and two weeks of exams.

The deadline for my research project loomed a week before revision week and I was determined to get it finished early, but I ended up handing it in the night before it was due. Although the word limit was 3000 words, it took me considerably longer to write up than I anticipated. I enjoyed the project and would have preferred to have had more credits dedicated to this task (and to lose an exam!).

Statistics were the most timeconsuming aspect. After three days organising and calculating my results, I found that further calculations were needed to make my research more reputable. I had studied statistics at school during further maths A level, but that was six years ago. My background knowledge helped - without it I would have found the project much more difficult - and I felt sorry for those who hadn’t studied statistics since GCSE.

Alongside the research project we were learning our final topics of the year, predominantly the endocrine and reproductive systems. Both involve a lot of hormones, which is ironic considering my stress levels at the time probably meant I was running more off adrenaline than oxygen.

Thankfully, we had learnt the basics in previous years and these were just additions; however, I would have appreciated a little more time to consolidate my notes and learning before heading straight into exams after just one week’s revision. Here I am though, on the other side! Within hours of the last exam I was balling my eyes out, I was so tired (I had woken that morning at 5 am with parasites and ECG readings running through my head) and the relief of finishing was overwhelming.

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I’ve found this year particularly hard for a variety of reasons, so much so that I sought counselling. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I’m doing, but six years at university, aged 24 and yet to earn money of my own, with one best friend in Australia and another in Japan, a tough workload and not being good at ‘me’ time have all taken their toll. Mum suggested I got some help.

The university provides a drop-in session every weekday morning. I went because I was finding myself constantly worrying about worst case scenarios; for example, a terrorist attack or a plane/car crash and losing someone I cared about. You could say these are genuine worries but they weren’t contextual - at the time everyone I knew was well and healthy, yet I was convinced they might die.

The counselling service provided a safe environment where I could release a lot of anxiety without fear of seeming silly or stupid. The most important thing I learnt through the counselling experience was that it wasn’t just me - many others felt exactly the same way - it’s nice to know you’re not on your own. I won’t deny there were times I came out of sessions feeling decidedly worse than when I went in. However, I now have more knowledge and understanding to help me deal with it.

Speaking to someone is my biggest help whenever I’m having an off day, so I tell someone I trust - my mum, my boyfriend or my best friends. The phrase ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ sort of rings true because their reassurance that today is just a bad day and tomorrow will be better fills me with hope that it will improve (and a cup of tea helps too). So, for anyone feeling lost or out of touch with those around them, speak to someone you trust (warning: not everyone will get it, but that’s okay, find someone else because there will be someone who does). It will be the best thing you can do.

I’m a work in progress and this summer I will definitely be making some time for myself and destressing. I’ve built a great network of people I can trust and talk to. Shout out to my mum … and dad, although I’m more rational when I talk to him. Looking to next year, things start to change; I’m moving to the Wirral where I get to see more grass and fields and rotations start next Easter. As for now, I have eight weeks of EMS to complete.

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