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Fourth-year student diary

Abstract

Rosie Perrett is delighted that lectures are over and that it’s time for some hands-on learning.

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Lectures are over: it’s official! I have finally started rotations and getting on with the good stuff – hands-on experience and caring for animals – after all, this is what it’s all about.

‘I only have a year-and-a-half left until I graduate’, it’s fun to say that out loud. And having BVSc and MRCVS after my name feels achievable. The realisation fills me with excitement (and slight terror).

Being at Liverpool vet school, I’m now based in Neston, on the Wirral peninsula, which is back in the countryside where I feel I belong. (I’m not a city girl.) Our final lectures are at Leahurst, home of the university’s small animal teaching hospital, the Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital and the university’s farm animal practice.

The irony is that having complained in previous years about having to constantly move lecture theatres, we’ve been spending seven hours a day, three or four days a week (we did get lunch) in the same room. By 4 pm every day, I was ready to see people and get some daylight (although in the middle of winter it was dark by then).

Full days were tough, not only because of the lack of stimulation (other than the lectures), but also staying focused on complex topics such as cardiology or neurology.

Now what feels truly terrifying is that I’m supposed to know everything, but I don’t. Far from it. I swear the information goes in and then gets lost. During the recent winter Olympics, at times it felt as though I knew more about bobsleigh than pneumonia in dogs!

This year’s subjects are separated into major animal groups – farm animal (and public health), small animal (cats and dogs) and equine. They are organised like this because our exams are presented in much the same way.

We’ve built on topics from previous years, as well as covering a few new topics, including pigs, exotics and oncology.

The information is slowly coming together. Anatomy and physiology from first year links up with pharmacology from second year, leading into clinical application from third year. This year is about tying everything together.

If asked, I’m not sure which subject I would say I’ve found the most challenging, because they are often difficult for different reasons. Either you don’t really enjoy the topic or they require an abundance of knowledge (such as oncology), or they’re just complex (like cardiology). Having said that, I quite like cardiology, but I think that’s because of personal experience of saddle thrombus in my own cats.

During my time revising, I’m pleased to say that basic concepts seem a lot easier, and my understanding of topics is becoming second nature. Despite that, I think I’ll be learning for a long time to come. In the meantime, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the fourth-year exams include some nice questions.

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