Lucy Cavendish student Bonnie tells us how her past experiences led her to study Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge
Bonnie is from East London and wrote this after her lambing placement (hence the photo), during Easter vacation of her first year studying Veterinary Medicine at Lucy Cavendish College. In her spare time, she likes to do ballet and hang out with friends and the college guinea pigs!
What made you choose Veterinary Medicine?
Before coming to Cambridge, I did a Natural Sciences degree and wanted to apply that knowledge. In addition, there was the thought that helping others through medicine was something I would like to do as a career. However, my decision to do Veterinary Medicine stemmed from doing a work experience placement at a city farm where I fell in love with all the animals there. After seeing vets in practice, I found that becoming a vet would be challenging at times but imagining how incredibly rewarding it is by contributing to the welfare of animals makes it all worth it.
And why Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge?
I liked how Cambridge was very understanding of how everyone may not have access to all types of veterinary work experience as when applying for vet schools in general there is usually a high requirement of different types of work experience. For someone who was in higher education or with busy schedules, it meant that some types of work experience like lambing were not feasible. Additionally, I was attracted to the course structure at Cambridge because in the preclinical years, there is a strong foundation built from the knowledge which is further reinforced in dissections and practicals. The supervisions were also something I looked forward to as I felt quite detached from the lecturers in my previous degree and it was quite hard to ask questions with such a large number of students in a module. Whereas the idea of having smaller group teaching through supervisions, made me feel comfortable that if there was something I was unsure about, I would have the opportunity to discuss with my supervisor.
How has your timetable been?
My timetable has kept me very busy for most of the term and that usually means the term goes by very quickly! On my busiest days, my day usually is 9am – 4pm as well as three supervisions per week. The day is usually composed of lectures, dissections and practicals and so the variety of the learning I do helps to build a solid foundation of knowledge. However, outside the work schedule, I make plans to hang out with friends and do ballet which was something I only started after coming to Cambridge.
What’s been your favourite part of the course so far?
My favourite part of the course so far has been the animal handling classes because I never had much experience previously in handling different species correctly as I don’t have any pets at home. And so, I found those sessions very useful and the animals covered were the main domestic species. My favourite moment was during the bird handling session where there was an eventful twenty minutes of me in a small aviary, trying to catch a budgie! Overall, these sessions have made me more confident in undertaking my extra-mural studies, a required component of the vet degree.
How have you found the college system?
I really like being part of a college, in comparison to my previous degree where I felt that I wasn’t so much part of the university. My time here at Lucy Cavendish so far has been welcomed by the people, both staff and students. I think the college system allows you to make so many connections, not just with people on your course and the support you get from the college community is phenomenal.
What have you enjoyed the most from your time at Lucy Cavendish so far?
I have enjoyed the bridging week most at Lucy Cavendish, held before Michaelmas term where I was able to meet so many people in my cohort, studying different subjects. Being able to have the opportunity to do so has allowed me to make friends at college as well as settle much faster into the bustling life at Lucy Cavendish.
What advice would you give to someone about to join the University?
For someone about to join the University, just enjoy all the opportunities that are on offer! There is always something for everyone to do. Additionally, ensuring that you have a time and place to relax is essential during a busy term because work can get a bit overwhelming, but having something to take your mind off work helps in maximising productivity. On the other hand, there will be times where you won’t be working at 100%, particularly during the middle part of the term, and I think it is important to acknowledge that and allow yourself to relax more than usual. And if you are struggling to do enough exercise, I schedule my sport activities into my timetable which helps me stick to it (most of the time). And so, in addition to meeting up with friends, I know that there is something to look forward to for the week. Finally, don’t worry about whether you will be able to survive at Cambridge, everyone is like that in the beginning and remember you got here for a reason!