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