Less than a week away from Easter break and 2 weeks away from the Liverpool half marathon. I have no chance of a “break” with the amount of uni work, running and work experience to be done. Second year is nearly over and this time next year I’ll be preparing for my final year exams; the deciders! With each semester flying by, I’ve realised that it’s about time I answered some all-important questions (mainly for my family’s sake). Quite a lengthy post, like my step-dad would say about me; long but worth it.
Firstly, “What on Earth is bio-veterinary science?”. During Fresher’s week, besides meeting the lovely Abbie Louise in Fusion of all places, I must have been asked ‘the basics’ over a hundred times. Name, age, where in ‘the North’ I’m from. Fellow Yorkshiremen, trying to convince you that West Yorkshire is the place to be… clearly haven’t visited the North Yorkshire moors. After establishing that my accent isn’t as strong I like my tea. The exchange of University’s and courses takes place. With numerous anti-JMU chants and t-shirts labelling the posh from the polys, it all comes down to your course. When I tell people I am a bio-vet their usual response is either; I have zero idea what that is – “Ooh that sounds hard” or the dreaded – “so you’re a vet, cool”. No, unfortunately I am not on the 5/6 year degree programme to qualify as a MRCVS. It’s like a ‘baby’, three-year version without the hands-on part or the qualification part (I roll around in shit and do the vet stuff voluntarily). No, it’s not a “shit alternative course for people without the grades, like bio-med for medics”!. A third-year bio-vet told me that most bio-vets get sick of explaining and just tell people they are vets or settle for biology. “It’s a life science, you know like biology… for animals?”. Believe it or not, some of my course mates have no interest in post-grad vet med at all. But most are like myself and want to achieve a higher qualification to apply for vet med. Few had original offers and fewer had conditional places… guess they saved themselves the disappointment on results day. Some medicine schools offer transfers, sadly there is no comparative pathway for vet students, unless you meet certain criteria for gateway or foundation courses. Only RVC offers a 4 year post-grad course now, Liverpool once offered post-grads entry into year 2/5 instead of year 1/5.
“So why didn’t you just resit your A-Levels?”. I wish it was that simple. The changing exam layout of A-Levels and repeating the same curriculum put me off the most. I had given AS and A2 equally strong effort, if I resat I could run the risk of the same grades and lose my last chance for vet med. UCAS allows each applicant to apply for 4 vet med courses and 1 ‘back-up’/ insurance. With only 8 unis in the UK offering vet med, the competition for places on the degree programme means applicants are only allowed two applications for the D100 course. Taking the above into consideration, you’d have to be Einstein himself or incredibly lucky to get a place; I fell into the latter category. I applied and visited Edinburgh (which turned into a weekend away), Liverpool (where Mum got herself lost in China town), Nottingham (we made it eventually after the alarm clock fiasco) and Surrey (I was prepared for all eventualities, even the South). Of all my reasons for leaving sixth form behind me, I was ready for a change. I had grown up quickly, ironic for the youngest in my year group. I was organising my own placements and worked part-time since I was 13. Uni was the next logical step for me to challenge my independence further, learn new sports and develop my cooking skills. Uni work is unlike GCSE and A-Level, there is no set specifications. I am examined bi-annually and have deadlines to meet throughout the year. I have fine-tuned my communication and study skills, but also my hangover-productivity skills – an essential for any first year.
“Does that girl ever work?”. My Grandad thinks I’m on a constant holiday when he hears what I’ve been up to… I like to think that I balance my time appropriately and somewhat wisely; studying, eating, extra-curricular, socialising, work experience, sport and occasionally I sleep. Liverpool is fab for tourism too, just check out the past two years of my insta. I’ve always worked best under pressure, being busy and rushing around is all fun and games but in fact, my “hobbies” support my application and personal statement. Before the days of prospective university degrees, I favoured baking, reading and playing inside. It’s hard to believe that I once feared the cold, wet and muddy. I still devour books and bake for special occasions but prior to DofE and work experience, I never challenged myself physically or embraced the benefits of sport. My childhood friend taught me what I consider, the most important lesson of my life whilst on holiday in Scotland. Neither of us enjoyed mountain biking, kayaking or water sports but the Jackson’s thought we’d both benefit from ‘the fresh air’ if anything. We biked miles each day and I pushed myself for the reward of a sweet treat (I’ll do most things for cake). I had been successfully avoiding the tea-stained loch and activities involving neoprene. By mid-week my friend was done with my “cotton wool wrapped” attitude and regretted inviting me. At risk of losing my best-friend, I forced myself into the ‘lumber jack’ wetsuit…Turns out I LOVE WATERSPORTS. Having learnt from my mistakes as a teen, I now take every opportunity thrown my way, grateful for my fitness and health. Uni has strengthened my determination, both academically and in sport. Having the freedom to engage in opportunities at my own leisure has lead to my involvement in event first aiding (St John’s Ambulance), charity hikes (Yorkshire Three Peaks and soon Snowdon),10ks (half marathons…), triathlon training, yoga classes, lacrosse (or lac-rosè as Floss calls it), the sailing team committee, peer mentoring and course repping. In first year I played Life Science netball and tried out loads of Fresher’s tasters like paint balling, climbing, canoeing and windsailing. Besides the interesting, loveable and hilarious friends I have made, the endorphins and sense of accomplishment (not just from time-management) are overwhelming. I would, whole-heartedly recommend uni to anyone. Even my sister who hates education with a passion is going!
So far, so good but for those of you wondering, “what’s all this money she keeps banging on about?”. Basically I have to find, beg, borrow (and steal?), £45,000+ for my next degree. Definitely puts paying for a weekly tutor at A-level into perspective. Unlike medicine, the NHS will not “fund” post-grad applications for under-grad courses. This means you get your first degree paid for by the government (which you pay back in instalments, WITH INTEREST, when you earn over £21,000 a year) and you have to self-fund/ loan from the bank of Mummy and Daddy for your second degree. Vet med is not considered a post-grad study, neither it a masters. As I could have (should have) graduated from the vet med degree straight from A-level, the government do not assist with the £9,250/ year tuition fees. At a triathlon event in the summer a friend’s sister, encouraged my bio-vet studies, having studied vet med alongside post-grads herself and referred me to one of her friends for financial advice. I broke down on NYE to my parents, panicked and distraught. We’d have to sell our house! I started researching the funding options before realising there are none. I have been applying for/ working part-time jobs in Liverpool also. I will be writing to charities, businesses, bursaries and scholarships for financial support. Alongside my fundraising and family donations, I am saving everything I have to afford the future 5 years of vet school. Once I have my place, If I have issues with funding I will have no option but to drop out of vet school, waving goodbye to 6 years of hard-work and my future. That’s why I need YOUR help. £1, a text, a hug, a like/ share anything! I am more than happy to open up on my own experience and advice those from my mistakes. For any future vets and students alike, drop me your queries, big or small. I’ve learnt that the key to a successful vet application is passed from one generation of students to the next. At my school there was usually just the one prospective vet each year, learning from the applicant the year before. I am grateful to both Chris and Fran for their advice and guidance and hopefully others will learn from my mistakes. My next post will detail the essential supporting material to ALL applications, work experience. Read my anecdotes from over the years, the blood, guts, gore, frustration, satisfaction and a hell of a lot of cow shit. Big loves, Evie xx
BIG THANKS to my sisters for their kind support and inspiration (yes Alice this includes you), my lovely card from Mum, donations from my teachers and friends from school. Last but not least, my Nan who tackled the PayPal link, despite her fear of online banking. I can assure it’s easy to donate, follow the links at the top of the page or you can click here for PayPal or my Crowdfunding page. LESS THAN 2 WEEKS AWAY and the sun is finally shining down on Liverpool! My half marathon will be my longest, hardest and I can guarantee the sweatiest run I’ve ever attempted. Tom will be there on the finish line and your support will keep me going for Trusty Paws.
Post-grad funds – like finding a needle in a haystack
Loch Ken, Scotland
My Baltimore girls
Lacrosse 2nds team