What does it take to be a vet?

My name is Cheryl and I always wanted to become a Veterinary Surgeon from the moment I could speak as a child (most people probably thought it would be something I would grow out of - but I guess that never happened!). Here I am at 26 years of age, having graduated from Liverpool Veterinary School in July 2019. I have already worked in the Veterinary field for 6 months as a small animal /equine surgeon.

Where did it begin... I applied to Liverpool, Nottingham, London, Surrey (mainly because they take retakes) - I had to resit chemistry - don't let a bad exam result stop you from your aspirations. My first choice was Liverpool because I wanted to be an equine vet - however, don't worry - not every body knows what they want to do after they graduate.

Prior to veterinary school... I did a mix of work experience - farm placements, horse yard experience, lambing, pig farms, dairy farms and clinical placement. I had done mainly small animals but also some equine placements - look out for work experience opportunities at the earliest chance, they can be competitive.

For interview preparation... I used the old version of this book by James Barton - (I'd highly recommend it!). When I was applying, there weren't much resources to help aspiring vets. I would love to impart my wisdom and advice to aspiring candidates alongside the rest of the Veterinary team here at MediTutor - don't underestimate the importance of interview preparation (we are animal doctors but our patients all have human owners!).

My favourite part of Veterinary medicine... would include cardiology, anaesthesia and surgery. They joys of veterinary medicine means you can have a long time to consider which speciality to pursue - I'm still in a limbo myself!

Never forget to have a work-life balance... Although I love Veterinary and I thoroughly enjoyed my time at vet school, I make sure that this is not the sole factor that defines me as a person. In my spare time, I enjoy horse riding, triathlon, art, music and training my one year old Border Terrier, Gizmo!

Final words... If you’re thinking of applying to Vet school, my one piece of advice would be not to give up any of your hobbies or extracurricular activities. It’s very important and possible to maintain a good work-life balance whilst also studying hard. Always keep an open mind!

Author: Dr Cheryl Keen, Veterinary Doctor in Cambridge

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