The Yorkshire vet

I’ve been wondering what to write about all week and after a brilliant day at the vets on Monday, I decided I’d talk about my recent work experience. Seen as it is the most time-consuming  part of my application, second to my degree grade.
The past two weeks have revolved around my vet clinic placement, milking at an organic dairy farm, triathlon training, seeing my friends and family and copious amounts of driving across the moor… I love North Yorkshire but it’s a logistical nightmare. To make matters worse my journey has been awarded ‘the most scenic bus route in the UK’. I cannot wait for the tourists to block up the roads, especially when I finish my placements and start to work on the moor (July). It’s going to be a long summer, but I’ll be closer to the £45,000 uni fees I need for the vet course.

An introduction to the life of a mixed animal vet:

BIRTH
Whether they’re assisting with lambing, calving or farrowing, out on the farm or sometimes in the practice if there is an emergency, vets are involved from the beginning to end. Depending on the time of year, animals are being born or being assessed ready for their breeding season. Vets assist farmers during artificial insemination and companion animal breeders with ultrasounds, just like in human pregnancy. Precocial species like lambs, calves and foals are soon up on their feet and fully dependent within weeks of birth, unlike humans that can take up to 18 years. On Monday I had the pleasure of introducing 13 puppies into the world. As the potential caesarean case arrived, so did the morning’s clients… I love a challenge but even I was feeling the pressure of responsibility as I assisted the whelping.

LIFE
Once they’ve been vaccinated, which can be more complicated than a simple, annual booster and MOT. The local dog rescue finds it particularly difficult to keep track of vaccines as dogs are abandoned at their door. Vets try and sync the vaccines of pets from the same family although it can be particularly difficult. A healthy lifestyle; appropriate exercise, a nutritious diet and routine health care such as teeth brushing, grooming, claws, ears and the beloved anal gland clearing, can be difficult for some owners to implement, especially with differing financial situations. Some animals, like humans, require a little more medical input than others. I’ve seen donkeys being x-rayed, hamsters with tumours the sizeof golf balls and I scrubbed in for a broken cat femur operation, all in the past week! I’ve also seen routine ops such as castrates and I’ve scrubbed but in on a complicated spey. Most vets will take animals away from their owners for blood tests, this isn’t to cover up mistakes or save embarrassment, a lot of pets get extremely stressed at the vets. The scents, other pets, probing and sampling can be a very upsetting experience and a good first consultation is essential for reducing an association of fear being imprinted during the early learning phase. Training young pets by separating their jaws and paws, touching tails and ears can reduce stress hugely and make the vets job easier and safer too.

DEATH
Thoughts of euthanasia, ‘Marley and Me’ and one of my favourite children’s books ‘Up in Heaven’ come to mind, but not all animals are fortunate to have lived and been loved. Some lives are shorter lived than others. One lady had recently introduced a well-bred labradoodle to her family before discovering it had a life-limiting heart defect that would lead to premature death. The same day I met a 21-year-old dog! A strange phenomenon as I’ve never met an animal older than myself… despite controlled arthritis, a missing eye and fused joints, the dog was by no means ‘on its last legs’ and came back with a blood test to prove it. With numerous kidney and liver diseases kicking in after long durations of tablet use or just ageing in general, diet is essential for prolonging life. Diseases such as Cushing’s, Addison’s, diabetes and cancer, to name a few, are severely influenced by the correct percentages of protein, fibre, carb, fats and certain vitamins and minerals. Some vets unfortunately witness the full circle of life when euthanasia is the last resort. When the 11th hour has arrived, and the owners have come to a decision, the vet can end the suffering of their pet, but it never gets easier or less emotional, on either end.

But not all stories have sad endings and my blog certainly will not!
I was helping vaccinate dogs at the local rescue centre when we were introduced to some rare, non-canine guests; coatis, kinkajous, lemurs and a capuchin monkey! My love for tapirs was stolen by the coati babies (picture below), my new favourites.

Thank you for reading my blog and please check out my latest challenge! I have so many stories of my time at the vets and I cannot wait to be the main character one day instead of the wiling assistant, but I need all the help i can get to afford the fees. I will be facing all the elements in my lovely new trisuit… fully equipped with a tango, biker tan and a sweaty finish I am sure. Macmillan is an amazing charity working with cancer families and with some close family and friends in need so recently, I am determined to give them a descent donation. So please share, sponsor me and wish me luck!

FOLLOW THE LINKS AT THE TOP TO DONATE!

Big loves, the next Yorkshire vet, Evie xx
Cute

Cute
Creepy

Sprint triathlon

As a few of you know I’ve been wanting to do a triathlon for a while now… the time has come around quite quickly and on Saturday 21st July I will be tackling the elements, completing in my first ever super sprint triathlon at the beautiful Castle Howard.
Yes Nan, I am swimming 400m in the lake. Then I will be biking 23km, special thanks to my new coach Peter Sellars. Finishing of with a 4km run and the hunt for a new pair of legs. As always, I will be dividing my sponsors between my Wannabe Vet fund and the wonderful Macmillan charity. Macmillan support and help people affected by cancer feel more in control of their lives; from the diagnosis throughout their whole battle against cancer. Their campaigns include Brave the Shave, Sober for October and coffee mornings but I wanted to challenge myself in the best way I know how, physically. Although I could easily inhale a coffee morning cake stand…

I can’t believe I am actually competing in a triathlon, the same one I was inspired by a few years ago. So why not come and watch? See what all the lumberjack suit, lycra, sweaty socks (and probably the odd asthma attack) malarkey is all about (Sunday 21st for the standard distance/ elite athletes).
Please follow the links to my fundraising page or to donate without me losing 5% on commission see my PayPal link. If you can’t sponsor me please share this blog with your family and friends. Now where to start; swim, bike or run?
Big loves, Evie xx

See the source image

Getting back on the horse

Just about coming to terms with the end of bio-vet second year. Another year in the best city, new friends, terrible AU costumes and even more challenges. We all cried. My exams are over, but I’ve got a long summer ahead to work, train for my challenges and complete my final placements before my vet school application is submitted in October! The time will fly by before I know it, so I plan to write every fortnight with my latest ventures, achievements and embarrassing moments.

I’ve now written 13 posts (32 including my old posts). I originally started my blog, The Wannabe Vet, to reflect on my achievements and support my initial vet med application. Overall aside from my sob story and endless begging for support and sponsors I have raised £500+ by using my blog as a platform for fundraising for myself and some amazing charities. I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for the donations and kind comments so far. Although writing is time-consuming, I do find it rather therapeutic. Inspiring future vets and fitness enthusiasts, despite all the waffle and cringe I post, is a real bonus. Bringing my own financial struggles to light with the odd anecdote has had its ups and downs but here’s a little overview of the past few months. Get yourself comfortable with a tea and some tissues and enjoy reading my journey to veterinary medicine.

Welcome – introducing my financial crisis, as briefly as possible…

Liverpool half marathon – my 1st challenge and half (unfortunately 400yds short), raising money for The Trusty Paws Clinic.

Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s veterinary – why I was born to be a vet.

3 grades, 2 chances, 1 place – why I am a financial burden and not a vet (yet).

A bio for bio-veterinary – my uni life, hobbies as the future Money Saving Expert.

The spice of life – work experience as the 6th spice girl, ‘cow-shit spice’.

Confessions of a vet-a-holic – a blog post overview and my strengths and weaknesses.

Snowdon – 14 hungover 20-somethings versus a 3560ft mountain, supporting The Whitechapel Centre.

Swimathon – my 1st swimming event and swimming cap experience in aid of Marie Curie and Cancer Research UK.

Perks of the job – the importance of doing a job you love, who wouldn’t want to be a vet?

The Super Vet – answering some ‘harsh reality’ interview questions.

Teaching young dogs new tricks – an anagram of how to keep your cool in exams and general life.

There’s more sweat and tears to come and a hellish amount of money still to raise but I’m ready for it and here’s why. I’ve had to face a lot of disappointment over the past few years. Lifting my chin up and bouncing back has become second nature now. Despite my best efforts and 100% commitment, sometimes its just not meant to be. I’ve not given up though, with £45,000 of debt to my name and a second degree under my belt, I know I’ll get there. It may be my positive attitude that keeps me pushing forward or perhaps my stubbornness… but no amount of sympathy was going to get me back on my feet after results day. I had to realise for myself that I was the only one to blame and the only one who was going to get plan A back on track.

When I was younger I used to ride with my Mum and one time my sister Mary was meant to be leading me as I rode. As she turned away the pony started to graze, and I somehow slide down its neck towards the ground. In shock of how I’d managed to recreate a scene from 64 Zoo Lane, Mary spooked the pony and with a sudden head jolt, I found myself being flung from the pony like a bucking bronco. One bad experience didn’t put me off riding, like the fear of keeping up in cross country, yet I signed up every year for 7 years. Or when I knew my chances of getting a place at vet school were slim, but despite the odds I made it. At 17, my car spun out in the rain, but I learnt from it and it’s not stopped me driving. Even bad exams aren’t the end, we change our approach ready to tackle the next one. Finally, we’ve all had our hearts broken but that hasn’t stopped us loving.

Our family and friends help us realise the importance of taking a minute to get back on track or even think laterally and choose a new route. I try to set realistic goals… but I do love a challenge. My Aunty set herself the target of making a lemon meringue pie, and it was the best lemon meringue pie we had tasted, mainly because she had made it and we love her. A bucket list isn’t a bad place to start either. One day I want to be proud of my achievements and I’ll always crave that rewarding, sickly-sweet, smiling like the Cheshire cat feeling in my stomach. And the endless amount of guilt-free cake when you know you deserve it.

On that note, alongside my revision ‘treats’ I’ve been training extra hard, it’s all about balance as I’ve said. So, look out for my latest challenge (*spoiler* featuring the Grewer’s best wetsuit) and top bucket list achievement over the next few days. Check out my fundraising page for more info and updates. Please donate whoever you are, whatever amount (preferably to my PayPal link)! Big loves and bring on the long summer! Evie xxx

Some thank yous as always: The ultra, long distance walkers Aunty Lisa and Uncle Greg and my dear friend Marnie for their kind donations, my family for their endless support, my revision buddies because without them I’d have gone insane and finally, my housemates for the best second year I could have asked for.

Getting back on the horse/ ponyEnd of exams before alcohol consumptionEnd of labs forever… potentiallyKirkby 10k with Mum

Teaching young dogs new tricks

My last blog until after exams (*sigh of relief*). I thought I’d address the topic on everyone’s lips, the cause of acne breakouts and constant snacking; EXAMS. Think yourself lucky if your exam days are over, but we all suffer from the S-word. Not just ‘desserts’ spelled backward, stress affects our physical and mental health. So, if you’re still snuffly and popping antihistamines is no use, listen up!

Here’s an anagram (BIOVET) I created to discuss my top tips for surviving exam season and avoiding procrastination, we’re all guilty of it, you’re doing it right now let’s be honest…

Balance

Life’s a balancing act and trying to keep your calm is a constant struggle. Sometimes we end up prioritizing the easier, more entertaining things – the first night out after exams is always a messy one… Staying focused is all about maintaining interest, and revision is the ultimate challenge. We’re creatures of habit when it comes to revision, especially after 6 years. Trying new techniques like mind-maps, anagrams and flash cards, can help keep boredom at bay. I’ve said it before, variety is the spice of life, so do yourself a favour and mix things up a little. Try having your tea outside or revising in a new study space (free coffee at Caffe Nero with O2 priority, you can thank me later).

Inspiration

My 2017 resolution was to write a daily diary, inspired by my house mate Floss. Besides reading over hilarious memories in years to come, I realized a day-to-day diary can become repetitive if you do the same, boring things every day. Reflecting on my day motivates me to keep busy, with some days more eventful than others and some nights especially. Although, sometimes we have to restrict ourselves, especially during exams. A diary is also great for your short-term memory and a way of letting go of negative thoughts or bitchy comments, whatever brings you down. Social media is a double-edged sword when it comes to motivation. I always think “out of sight, out of mind”, be it a packet of biscuits or following people and pages that bring you down. I’m extremely motivated and positive but I still have my doubts. Writing my blog reminds me how far I’ve come and why I’ve got to keep going. Hopefully, it inspires you too!

Organisation

Having a plan for the day sounds pretty simple, but it’s easy to avoid and end up wasting what could have been a productive day. Somethings are unplanned like illness and hangovers, to an extent. Sticking to a revision timetable can be tedious but I like knowing when I’m ‘done’ for the day. Time-tabling “revision” is pointless, try dividing each subject/ module into topics, selecting a combination of these topics from different subjects/ modules to revise over the days you have available. Psychologically, we love the satisfaction of ticking boxes; a to-do list is a great way of staying on track, even if it just looks like you’ve got your shit together.

Vitamins

We know the benefits of a healthy, balanced diet but we still get cravings, especially at 4 am; chicken wings and garlic bread with cheese (I’d recommend Shiraz, although Gemini is cheaper). Coming back to the reality of student life after the luxury of FREE, cooked meals over the holidays is always hard. Fortunately, I came to uni fully equipped with utensils, recipes and freezer bags. Meal prep is my middle name and ALDI is my best-friend but we all have to start somewhere. Learning how to cook and the importance of eating veggies is something you learn in first year (Fresher’s flu is not a joke). Self-control is particularly hard when we’re stressed, bored or tired. Exam time is the worst time to start thinking about dieting– if you want the cake, eat it! I’ve never been one to skip meals but stress can suppress the appetite so it’s important to keep yourself fuelled and hydrated. As a serial snacker I ‘treat myself’ and take ‘brain food’ to new levels. So much so that after Lent the other year I decided to give up chocolate and biscuits a little longer seen as I’d snacked a lot less since giving up. I’ve now discovered a love of flapjack so now I’m back to square one (no pun intended).

Exercise

As if you weren’t crying enough over exams, the comfort eating and late-night trips to the reduced section are starting to show (two trifles for 20p, would be rude not to). Whilst procrastinating on Insta, watching workout vids, you realize there’s more chance of passing your exams than getting a fit summer bod. Time to let off some stream, run away from your problems and let your body do some crying. 1 hour of exercise is just 4% of your day that you’d probably spend eating or on social media. Find yourself a playlist on Spotify and drag the house mates along for a trot around campus, quick shower (you needed one anyway), cup of tea and back to revision – simple as that. Some fresh air to clear the mind, the sun on your pasty skin. It’s raining and you’re not northern – go for a swim. Your (overpriced) CK bralette is doing nothing to support the boob department – try yoga or pilates, engage the core people. Multitasking just got a whole lot easier, team sports are a great way to socialize AND exercise at the same time! We’re not all gym bunnies and you don’t have to have THE latest ombre Gym Shark leggings to enjoy the benefits of exercise. A little perspiration goes a long way: the release of endorphins and adrenaline makes you happy and relaxed. A time-tabled revision break helping you maintain focus and you can snack guilt free.

Time

I’m a busy bee and time is always against me. Without my academic diary I’d be a mess – I never rely on my phone calendar. Other than sport, i have committee meetings, bio-vet meetings, volunteering, Heebies and blog writing to schedule in between lectures and work. I can assure you the best way to stay in control and reduce stress comes from organizing your time. Sometimes I forget to chill and ‘switch off’, not just sleeping. I’m pretty much useless past 9 pm so I save this time for relaxing which helps my brain to concentrate on the important stuff. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how to revise, but hope I have inspired you to try something different even if it’s a change of scenery from the sweaty library.The best time is now, whatever it is! Best of luck to everyone with exams! Big loves, see you in June, Evie xx

Huge congrats and thanks for the Snowdon sponsors, together we raised £220 for The Whitechapel Centre and Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. See where the money goes on my post!

Here’s a link to a video that changed my outlook on cancer (start 2 mins in and stop at 6 mins).

This weekend’s challenge; the Swimathon, is my first ever swimming competition. I’ll be swimming my legs off for Cancer Research and Marie Curie, donating my sponsors in thanks to their discovery and delivery of treatment and support to my family and friends. CANCER IS EVERYWHERE! It can be triggered at any time, inside any single or multiple body cells (35 trillion), spreading like wild fire. Doing nothing or sitting around worrying won’t save lives, but we can easily donate our spare change. STUDENTS if you haven’t any money (like me) you can give your time.

Dinner at the docks

Revision break run
Home study buddy

Bargain hunters

Teaching young dogs new tricks

The Super Vet

A week later than originally planned but here is my latest post: How to smash interviews!

As promised, more on interviews and my answers to some blood draining, nail biting styled questions. This post may be directed at prospective vet students, however, we all face interviews at some point in life and so it’s always good to refresh our tactics and think outside the shed.

In my first interview, for the role of Deputy Head Girl, I remember being asked who inspired me the most. Besides my family and friends, I answered Noel Fitzpatrick the Super Vet. At the time I was obsessed with his T.V show but I later realized the unfortunate reality of specialist surgery and the costs (T.B.C). If I were answering now I would without doubt name Andy Grant, an ex-marine with a well-known football tattoo. I urge you to read his captivating story online or in his new book You’ll Never Walk; if you thought Paralympians inspired you just wait.

As I explained in an earlier blog, the interview questions follow a similar structure each year. A problem-solving task, data interpretation, personality and ethics questioning. Obviously, there’s some work experience, “story-time” questions, especially from the unis that don’t read personal statements (e.g Liverpool). Like Tipping Point, there are a dozen questions that can be asked at interview. The purpose of the questions is NOT focused on a correct answer, but to see how you come to an answer, formulate a balanced argument and vocalize your opinion. The best answers are clearly articulated (take a breath, pause), non-defensive (they’re on your side) and light-hearted (a smile says 1000 words after all). Be yourself and all that but remember, despite the brutal competition universities are business and they want you as much as you want them.

Besides the most commonly asked question “why do you want to be a vet?”, another they are likely to ask: “why not vet nursing?”. Before you start squirming in your seat, knowing that your Mum’s gone shopping ALONE in a new city and trying to decide how to avoid offending all hard-working vet nurses, there are ways you can politely phrase your answer without saying ‘no offense’ beforehand.

Here’s my attempt: vet nursing, and this goes for medical and dental nurses too, is NOT easy. Vets have the final say in relation to a diagnosis and treatment, but the vet nurses are the ones doing the leg-work, behind-the-scenes work and have a larger responsibility for post-op care. Over the years I have realized that vet nursing is not a realistic fall-back for myself, the admission grades may be lower but that doesn’t make nursing any easier. It was a risk I had to take, pushing myself to learn and absorb, like a sponge, all the facts and theories that I would later put into practice. I knew from a young age that my thirst for knowledge could only be quenched by constant questioning. I’d need to know ALL the facts to structure well-informed decisions. The vet med course offers an abundance of knowledge, educating vets to assist their decision making and confident diagnosis. I by no means want to be ‘top dog’, but if I’m going to give 100%, and love the job I do, I don’t want a lack of knowledge to hold me back. I personally am not driven by money but I’d avoid mentioning payslip differences, even if you can justify it, panic and stress could leave you tongue-tied.

(Continued) I am often asked by my family and friends what I think of ‘The Super Vet’ and they ask me how I’d cope with euthanasia: Ending the life of an animal will of course never be easy or without emotion. And I may not be speaking from experience, but I do understand there is a  fine balance between empathy and sympathy. To empathize with a client (owner) the vet must consider if the costs and complications of surgery/ treatment and whether it outweighs the patient’s (animal’s) quality of life. Sympathy is difficult to uphold in professional and life-changing circumstances, but by removing personal emotion the procedure can be competently and safely carried out. This is the vet’s job after all but it is not the hardest challenge vet’s face. Euthanasia is the last resort for vets and although it cannot cure a disease/ problem it does end suffering and ultimately relieve pain. However, in the instance that a cure is available but the client cannot afford the treatment/ drugs, and there is no cheaper alternative, then what? You have the potential to end suffering, cure a disease or resolve a problem, and financial circumstances are preventing you. How do you then justify euthanasia as the last resort or sleep at night knowing your patient is still suffering and you haven’t done your job?

Other tricky questions are based on recent veterinary events in the news/ media (e.g everyone’s favourite topic, fox hunting) but some Cambridge style questions can be thrown in, as I said above, to see how your brain works. E.g “If you were a biscuit what type would you be?”, “what is the most inspirational book you have read?” and “when is something considered dead?”. Hopefully, some food for thought if you’ve got an interview coming up. Besides your final grades, your place/ offer comes down to how you present yourself to the panel. It’s all a great day out to look around your future uni. If you’re lucky enough to choose between multiple offers; speaking to students on Open Days can give you an honest opinion of the course that prospectus’ lack (more on this another time). 

With exams just around the corner and the focus of my time based on revision, for my last blog (until after my exams) I thought I’d give some advice on revision and exam technique. I’ve always given 100% but it’s not as simple as reading, cue cards and pretty revision notes.

Thank you to everyone who supported my Snowdon climb, I’m just waiting to collect the group’s sponsors and then I will announce our total. I don’t know what was more challenging; coordinating 11 hungover 20 somethings at 8 am or climbing 3,071ft in 4.5 hrs…One thing’s for sure, Wales is a beautiful place, but the views aren’t always guaranteed especially at the top of cloudy summits.
My next challenge is fast approaching; in less than 2 weeks I will be partaking in the annual Swimathon. So please donate generously towards my soggiest challenge yet. Swapping my “legs of steel” (Hanna Froggatt) for flippers; the wetter the better I say. Mega thanks for the lovely messages of admiration from home and uni. I really appreciate your honesty and encouragement, it’s a pleasure to inspire you and bring to light the issues post-grad vets face. Big loves, Evie xx

Some pictures from Snowdon… when we found a view that wasn’t fog.

The night beforePre-walk First attempt – IPhone vs gail force winds Second attempt – scariest moment of my life (I didn’t drop it by the way Mum) Post-walk

Recovery

Perks of the job

I am a firm believer in only doing a job you love. Amb is right, we only do our summer jobs for money and they get boring after so long, be it café work, bracken spraying or cleaning holiday cottages. But that’s okay. We’re only doing them to save up for Leeds Fest, girls holiday or Christmas presents. All work is an experience, it just seems that most of my work is work experience. Besides the ever-growing washing pile and iodine fake-tan hands, I guess the main downside is the lack of pay. I’ve spent hours “working” over the years to help out farmers and vet practices to the best of my ability. I am a keen learner and although the cash would be helpful, especially now, the real reward is the relief I can provide by doing a decent job. I have repeated a lot of my placements because the universities expect the work dates on my application to be within the past 2-3 years.

I have realized that I haven’t discussed how I go about earning money, mainly because I HATE talking about money. I’ve never been driven by money or equally ever short of money, as I have always worked and saved; the savviest student in Liverpool, so my bank says. This makes self-funding my next undergraduate degree even harder as I am forced to borrow from loved ones and not be as independent. Over previous summers I worked in my family café, and before that a local pub but to get a longer days work, I will be bracken spraying on the moor (yes, I think I probably am obsessed with moor). I am of course working at uni and saving the grants I have been awarded for good grades. I have a difficult and busy timetable, with little time off for a normal part-time job. In between lectures, I can squeeze in some exercise (my stress reliever) but I have managed to work on uni open days and as a customer service assessor.

That’s enough money talk for now, on to the roles of a vet:
Vets are much like Mr. Ben and the costume shop, stepping into a dressing room to an unknown place. When vets are consulting clients, they don’t know what they are going to face, financially or medically. With a BVetMed degree, they are qualified ‘veterinary surgeons’, accredited by the RCVS. Whether they are consulting at a surgery/ practice or ‘out and about’, vets are responsible for microchipping, vaccinating, perform surgery, health checks, euthanasia, advising, testing and diagnosing. Small, large or mixed (the best of both) animal vets face dynamic changes to their daily routines as things don’t always go to plan with emergencies and relapses cropping up. You can even move from surgery to surgery as a locum if you really want to spice up your life.

Besides the common vet practices mentioned above, some specialise in particular areas of medicine (‘Super Vet’) or species; equine, farm/ livestock and wild/ zoo animals. Military vets work closely with dogs and horses. There are vets working in academia as lecturers and research as toxicologists, pathologists and in laboratory diagnosis. Government roles are less favoured, such as working for DEFRA. They have numerous roles in disease research and outbreaks (mad cow disease, foot and mouth, Tb), pet passports and most importantly (for the meat eaters amongst you) inspecting animal products are safe for human consumption. This sector is largely dominated by European qualified vets.

Some vets don’t choose the generic pathways and rely less on their medical qualifications. Working in (get ready for a list) behaviour, charity, welfare (RSPCA), nutrition, physiotherapy, care/ security/ racing/ recreation with dogs and horses (‘Send in the Dogs UK’ etc), conservation, zookeeping, animal technology, chiropractic, management and business, insurance, public health/ NHS, sales, farm and land management, writing (James Herriot) and lastly, the ‘One Health Initiative’ (aka all that antibiotic resistance babble which is actually SO important). There’s a boot to fit everyone of course, all of these roles can be combined with travelling abroad (reminds me of another children’s TV programme: Franny’s feet). With all these possible roles, it’s clear that vets work with and affect us all in some shape or form.

Back to my original point, only doing a job you love. My Mum has never met anyone who loves their job more than my Aunty who works as a graphic designer for magazines. All the vets I have met honestly love their job but it comes as no surprise that after dentistry, veterinary has the highest suicide rate. Their responsibilities and working hours are incredibly strenuous, mentally and physically but also incredibly antisocial, despite their relatively normal wage. I question what I do and why I am doing it because health and happiness is the most important thing. Respect is earned and wealth is a luxury. On average, we spend 1/3 of our lives working so essentially to love your life you’ve got to love what you do.

I’ll be continuing from my last blog with more talk on interviews next, so if you fancy going for vet yourself and want some tips or maybe you’re going on Dragon’s Den, have a scroll. If not just enjoy the pics of animals, I know Mum does.

THANK YOU for donating: Les and family, sporty Notts friends and my darling sister, who was so keen for a mention you’d think I was actually famous. Have a nosey through my next two challenges, Snowdonand Swimathon, that you may have seen on my crowdfunding too. Hoping and praying only the latter is wet and wild but I hear Wales is worse off than dear Yorkshire for its drizzle. There’s always my PayPal if you’re not bothered about me breaking a sweat for charity. Big loves xx

Never too far away from a vets, even on holiday
Working hard……or hardly working?

Swimathon

For my next challenge I will be swimming 1.5k for Marie Curie and Cancer Research on the 28th April (a month today) in the uni pool for this year’s SWIMATHON. After my Race for Life last summer for Cancer Research I was inspired to support them again for my first ever charity swim. Again, 50% to the charities and 50% towards my uni fees for post-grad vet med. Cancer affects everyone and anyone, men and women, everywhere and anywhere! Too many GOOD people are affected by cancer and this year alone my friends and family have been amongst the 1.4 million people diagnosed each year. We forget the importance of these charities, the daffodil and the ribbons are overlooked and forgotten. Help me raise awareness, you never know who could be in need of our support now and in the future. Support your future self by looking at the leading causes of cancer in the UK.
Please follow the links to my fundraising page or to donate without me losing 5% on commission see my PayPal link. Spare some change, spare a life. Big loves to my friends and family together we will beat cancer! Evie xx

Snowdon

After the success of Liverpool Half Marathon (2hrs 13mins) and the amazing support for The Trusty Paws Clinic, I have decided to arrange my own hike with a group of friends. Inspired by the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge ran by The Trusty Paws Clinic last year.

On the 15th April I will be tackling the summit of Snowdon and would love your support! I will be sending a contribution of my sponsors to The Whitechapel Centre, another fabulous charity that works with the homeless on the streets where I live and study; LIVERPOOL! Please donate via the links to my fundraising page or to avoid me losing 5% on commission see my PayPal link.
Thank you so much so far! Big loves always, Evie xx

** we raised £220 and here’s where the money goes:

Confessions of a vet-a-holic

*Weekly subscribers keep scrolling*
Special thanks this week to my Nan and Grandad for spoiling me rotten this Easter, as always, but also for reminding me to re-brief my story for new readers to keep up to date and understand the reason I’m whittling on and trying (desperately) to fundraise so much money for myself and charity.

An overview of my blog posts so far:
*No spoilers*
Welcome – a short intro and explanation, worth reading if you don’t like reading.
Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s veterinary – why I want to be a vet.
3 Grades, 2 Chances, 1 Place – why I am not a vet.
A Bio for Bioveterinary – what I’m doing alternatively to secure my place as a post-grad vet.
The Spice of Life –the ‘shit’ I get up to on work experience (NOT an idiots guide to Indian cuisine).

Well worth a mooch, bedtime read or just scroll through the pics at the bottom. Don’t just take my word for it, my English teacher likes my blogs, ‘a good read’, so they can’t be that bad.
*Small spoiler* It costs £45,000 to study vet med as a post-grad student, minus the living costs. Read my blogs above if your heart just stopped.

Please support me via my Just Giving crowdfunding page or my PayPal.
To clarify, I donate a contribution of my crowdfunding sponsors to my chosen charity per challenge, BUT I lose 5% to the bloody website… so if you’re tight like me, sponsor me via PayPal and I’ll keep every penny until uni robs it from me in tuition fees.

*STOP SCROLLING HERE, thank you*

“People are like tea bags, we do not know our own strengths until we are in hot water”. I had ‘brewed’ over my strengths and weaknesses for some time. Making sure I highlighted my weaknesses as potential strengths although, the problem with the majority of vet school’s interviews is their MMI structure. Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) are what they say on the tin. Your skills, personality and knowledge are observed by a team of individuals at different stations. Depending on the number of interviewees and interviewers it can take 20 minutes to an hour, or a whole city tour from TK Maxx to China town as my Mum found. This said interviews are also “like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get”. You can plan your answers perfectly on paper, but no one knows what you could be asked. I knew for sure that in any interview, my greatest weakness would be the maths. I’m not going to hide my struggle with maths over the years, I avoided it at A-level but it never fully goes away. Much like my mathematician housemate, always there. I worked hard for my B at GCSE, it was hard but that was all I needed to get me on the right track. At the dick vet interview, ( the Edinburgh vet school NOT a euphemism) we had to complete a sticker challenge. Sounds simple but there was a code, key and pattern to master in 5 minutes. You’ve got to keep your cool in these things. Arguably my greatest strength, I can remain calm, decisive and maintain focus under pressure, much like a hobnob biscuit in hot water. Which reminds me, besides the obvious, ‘why do you want to be a vet (or other degree/ profession that requires an interview)?’, you never know what curve balls they can ask you at interview. Oxbridge particularly like complicated, nonsense question. They are more interested in how you get to your answer and the structure of it. For example, ‘if you were an *inanimate object* what would you be?’, ‘when is something considered to be dead?’. The answers are endless. I can talk for Britain so I can always come up with something, you only have to read my blogs to see how good I am at blagging…

I have attempted to condense my main strengths:

Decision making – as I mentioned above, I can handle stress effectively and also take responsibility, analysing the benefits and consequences of a plan. (Oh the irony as I rack up £45,000+ of debt to my family, but at least I’ll make a difference as a vet ey?). One day I hope to master the art of removing sensitivity whilst maintaining sentiment in life and death situations, but I hear it never gets easier to ‘let go’.
Problem-solving – our intentions don’t always go to plan. I am a living, breathing example of ‘try, try and try again’. Sometimes ‘turning it off and back on’ doesn’t work so an alternative method must be devised, something I face daily and push myself to achieve. The satisfaction in solving a puzzle is even greater if it is for a good cause.
Critical thinking – breaking things down from complex to understandable and memorable chunks is how I revise and try to teach others. Being rational and confident in your judgements, noticing trends and differences are key to any science related degree but are useful to all occupations.
Communicating – be it socially, academically, online or in person, communication is KEY. I pride myself on appropriate communicating. Polite, professional and sometimes persuasive. I like to advise and help others where I can, learning from my own mistakes and giving back what I can to society. How cliché I hear you say, well it’s true, I like to listen as well as talk.
Team worker – equally, I like to work effectively and efficiently, especially in labs; in and out get the job done. I am a firm believer in the old phrase: “if you want a job doing, do it yourself”, avoiding disappointment, confusion and a poor outcome. Besides, There’s no ’I’ in team, but there is in ’Evie’. Howver, I do have faith and trust others, but I also set high targets, meaning I will give 100% to the job but I know when to delegate roles to their most suited worker.

My main weaknesses, besides condensing:

Leader– my strength and my weakness. I’M BOSSY OKAY! Taken the wrong way, I could be seen as domineering and competitive, but really I just have high expectations of myself and I have always known that everything I do will reflect on my grades, personality and overall, my vet application. If I have to work collaboratively, I will naturally take leadership of the task in hand to ensure the job is a success. I am very driven and enjoy motivating others (particularly exercise related). This can be difficult to swallow for the laid-back and un-inspired members of my ‘team’; friends, family or peers. I do try to be inclusive, but I am not afraid to tell people when they need to pull up their socks for themselves.
Perfectionist – I can sometimes come across as a control freak, or a little OCD, but I really am just over organised. Then again, I wouldn’t fit as much as I do into my days without knowing exactly when I was ‘free’. Being a perfectionist does not mean I am inconsiderate, I hope, but it does mean that I will always strive for the best and will not settle for half measures. And so, despite my weaknesses, I am keen to learn and develop my skills, particularly those I am in awe of.
Creativity – Other than AU costumes, I tend to struggle with materialising ideas and designs that I have made up in my head. I disagree that you are either English or Maths ‘wired’ but I do believe that the arts are often underappreciated, especially when I, myself lack talent in them.

Being completely honest, and trying to be modest, I am sure there are many other strings to my bow and chinks to my armour. I will list some helpful interview tips and continue this topic with some more commonly asked interview questions soon but next week’s blog should hopefully give light to the importance of vets and their influence on our lives besides treating our pets.

Sunday’s 13.1 miles (2 hrs 13 mins) was strangely enjoyable, until the Monday morning sheep market where I couldn’t straddle over a gate to save my life. Also, turns out it was 400 yards short of a half marathon… good thing I’ve signed up for two more for this year! Keep an eye out for my next challenge as I take on a Swimathon for Cancer Research and Marie Curie.

Huge thanks to Abbie, my Dad and Sharon, my older but shorter Sis and my Sis from another miss (that’s you Alice) for their generosity. I have invested in my own shares this week thanks to Keith, I think I’ll be following his knowledge and advice mind you. Well done Tom and thanks for acknowledging me in your dissertation, who said a poly and a posh couldn’t help each other out. Big loves, Evie xx

Physical strength

Mental strength

Yorkshire strength

Edible weaknesses – the temptations of a sweet tooth

The spice of life

A good vet application has the correct balance of ingredients. Biology, chemistry, maths, geography etc – the A-level grades make up the flour, butter and sugar; the bulk. And that leaves the work eggs-perience, for the rise. At interview a good Victoria sponge will gain an offer, however, with a 4:1 success rate a bit of flavour can secure your place. Variety; “the spice of life” an Edinburgh vet, once described to me. The key to a successful application is to build up a diverse repertoire of work experience; going beyond the uni’s recommended placement checklist.

Enough about cake, in a roughly chronological order, here’s my work experience ups and downs. I started my blog “The Wannabe Vet” after my gold DofE residential at Nottingham uni’s Vet-Medlink (and Vetsim) course. Prospective vet students stayed in uni halls, tasting vet med related practicals and lectures. Before I left my step-grandad gave me some travel money labelled “to the wannabe vet”, and after that it kind of stuck. DofE was a laugh at bronze and silver when we knew the area without needing a map and called off for tea at our parents en route… There was the social side of the camping expeditions; Pot Noodles, card games and Sport Direct mugs. The volunteering part where I supported students with reading difficulties, helped organise dog shows and the endless opportunities as deputy head girl such as fancy dress and Comic Relief fundraisers. The ‘physical’ section brought me closer to my parents, I learnt more than just running technique. I still remind myself now that “I’m not made of glass”. Then there was the ‘skills’ part; after realising I had little talent for flute and piano, I started to document my observations at my local, mixed-animal vet practice, once a week for three years.

To diversify my experience of vet practices I attended a small-animal vet practice after school. When we moved, I started working at my current, mixed-animal vets. I say work, it’s all voluntary. And yes, I’m ‘still doing work experience’, you don’t just stop when you meet the expected hours. I learnt a lot at A-level but my client communication skills and practical handling knowledge didn’t come from AQA. I’ve seen, heard and got real ‘hands-on’ experience in a wide-range of operations and consultations including, euthanasia, cryptosporidium cases, TB testing, dentals, vasectomies, cruciate ligament surgery and much more.

Moving further afield and less local, I was employed by a zoo in the sea lion and parrot department. This was my least favourite placement, I’ve never been a fan of caged animals (or aquariums for that matter) and besides, the bird dirt and dead chicks were harder to stomach even by my standards. Zoos are essential for research, education and sustaining animal populations, but combined with theme parks, the hierarchical employment structure and maximised recreational profits, discouraged my interest in the field.

Lambing reiterated my family’s point, I was definitely born in the wrong era, both sides had sheep farms at one point in time. My step-grandad introduced me to a lovely couple across the valley who we have lambed, and continue to lamb. Armed with a flask, snacks and a headtorch, overnight the flock doubled. Identifying, internally fore-legs from hind-legs, one lamb from another and externally the signs of parturition takes time and experience. I have the greatest respect and appreciation for the farmers who have taught me their life’s learnings overnight. You can’t read sheep like you can with books, James Rebanks taught me that.

I held more respect after my day at the abattoir, for skilled butchers and the stock animals on their food to fork journey. The slaughterhouse required a specialist food agency vet. That’s right, bacon butties, Sunday roasts, pigs in blankets, they’re all checked and marked for sale by a vet.

Looking for a little less gore, I got up at the crack of dawn to observe the daily routine of the local hunt’s hounds. The two-man team walked and fed the kennel’s 70 hounds. AS far as animal excrement goes, a purely protein-based diet definitely takes first place in the top worst smells. Working at my current vet practice’s cattery confirmed this.

From feeding knacker-yard horses to the hunt hounds to feeding and grooming at the stables where they came from, I’d turned full circle. For a small village, I had a lot of opportunities to get my hands dirty. I returned a year later to the riding school/ livery-yard to update my experience of poultices, grooming, tacking and feeding. Rather manual but you can never get too comfortable with animal husbandry. Horses are a rare sort, you think you understand them but they’ll always be smarter, bigger and faster than you. Even the Shetland ponies as I find out when they escaped on me, out across the dressage arena, only returning for a scoop of pony nuts EACH. No surprise, my family struggled with my increasingly strong scent at meal times, refusing to sit with me, even after I had showered.

I’ve saved the best till last. Chris, the Edinburgh vet, got in touch with his organic dairy farm placement and I started milking after my 17th birthday. My friends turned 18 soon after I began my weekly placement, but as an August born baby, I had to borrow ID for nights out. I couldn’t be missing out on the VKs and JB blaring out in the best clubs our area has to offer; Salvo and Society. Luckily, my double in the year above worked at the dairy and lent me her ID for the whole year. Before I left for uni I re-paid her in more than gin… Chris had warned me that I wouldn’t escape the inevitable for long. My step-dad had already refused to pick me up, after gipping from my fumes one the ride home. I had to bike rain hail or shine. Alex caught a lovely photo that my Nan still traumatises me with. I had been preoccupied when the tail raised and the thick, brown, slurry flowed down the side of my face. Thank F**K I was biking… One time I had been holding the broken iodine line together above my head when I passed out, we hadn’t swilled down for a while as we attempted to fix the broken line. I had fallen backwards and awoke in a deep-puddle of cow shit. I was so scared that Mum would use it against me, stopping me from milking and stinking out the washing machine, so I had to strip off and shower down in the parlour before I went home.

So there you have it, my (current) full work experience collection, but good news Mum the smelly washing doesn’t stop here, undergrad vets have to complete 38 weeks of EMS in their first three years. Maybe that’s why she calls me a fruitcake? I’ll post some helpful tips for getting work experience soon, I’d like to think I knew a thing or two after 6 years.

Despite being duvet bound the past few days, watching a lot of Stand Up to Cancer Bake Off (if you hadn’t already guessed), I have come across some very inspiring and relatable quotes: “Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious, and however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.” From the late Stephen Hawking, RIP. Physics may not have been a major part of my education, but the principles affect us all, even his fight to make a difference. Which leads to my second quote: “One person can’t make a difference to everyone, but a lot of people can make a difference to one person”. DIY SOS. Evening TV tear-jerker, but he’s right it all adds up. I’ve got my first half marathon in 5 DAYS!!! And I would really appreciate your support, whatever you can spare, through my crowdfunding page for 50% to charity or over PayPal for my uni fees only.

Big thanks to my fellow-park running mad Aunty and Uncle, my generous Dad, my Mum’s hilarious comments and my dear friend Roz and a Liverpool vet student who encouraged and praised my blog posts. IF I make it round the Liverpool half on Sunday, you can expect to read all about my strengths and weaknesses, interview specific and potentially endurance running related, we’ll see. Wish me luck if the snow persists, big loves and bigger strides, Evie xx