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  • Writer's pictureBella Rawson

Vet School Diaries - Week 6, Year 1

It's our final week in isolation, and boy it's been a journey! We're also heading into week 6 of the Cambridge term (there's 8 in a full term, much shorter, but much more intense than most other places) and I'm starting to feel the effects. I'm exhausted (maybe this is Covid, but it's more convenient for me to say it's the work) and I'm really looking forward to heading home in a few weeks. I'm sorry for how short the post is this week, sadly isolation doesn't exactly bring you tonnes and tonnes of opportunities to write about.

That being said, I actually think our final week in quarantine was much better than our first one....


I'm not entirely sure when they came, but The Roost (Jesus College's cafe) very kindly sent us all some pastries as part of our half way through isolation pick me up! The croissants were great warm, and if I had to choose I'd say the pain au chocolats were the nicest!

Elsewhere I had a typical Thursday: a biochemistry lecture followed by some physiology and what would have been our animal handling slot, if we weren't self isolating :( I had a lot of work to do today so I didn't do much else other than sit behind a computer screen, but the surprise post delivery and Caff dinner orders were a much needed break from the screen.


If I hadn't been in isolation this year, today would've been the day I would've been complaining to you all about the anatomy exam I'd just had to sit. However, since I couldn't leave my room and they were unable to put the exam online, I didn't have to do it! This might be the biggest win of quarantine yet to be honest.

When I woke up in the morning I thought I'd have a relatively slow day, since there were only a couple of things on my timetable, but unfortunately I soon learned that the minute you think you have a quiet day at Cambridge, you don't.

Without fail, the minute I checked my email there were two messages from various people informing me that I had online, live animal management lectures that had been rescheduled - so suddenly, a two lecture day turned into a four lecture day, and I realised running on four hours of sleep trying to do this was an incredibly bad idea.

You live, you learn, you feel like you're dying in a lecture - it's the cardinal rule of uni.


In the wake of a week of biochemistry lectures that left me more confused than when I started, I spent the day writing and finishing essays, as well as teaching myself the more complicated versions of aerobic respiration. Although we did this at A-Level (and it was still just as hard then), sudden;y we have to know all the individual enzymes and intermediates formed in each of the cycles. This, as you could probably imagine, got a bit complicated, and ended up with me in the kitchen scrawling notes over every available surface.

Exhibit A:

I also spent the day finishing notes from my physiology lectures and going back over other notes I'd made throughout the week. It turns out that uni makes things complicated and you actually have to put effort in to understand the concepts - sigh - so I'm definitely finding things a complete shock from A-Level where, although things were hard, the basic concepts of most things were relatively easy to grasp. Here, it's easy to get out of your depth!


Man I miss the days where I had something to write for every day! I truly had nothing interesting to do today, other than skim over some notes and write a couple of blog posts on interviews. I'm hoping to create a series this month with interview advice and what to expect, because I would have loved to have had in depth guidance that was specific to Vet Med as opposed to being lumped in with the medics most of the time. The processes are fairly similar so you don't lose anything, but I would've just preferred to have heard the advice from a vet - hopefully I can do that for the year 12s/13s who want it!


Having forgotten that dinner is actually necessary in order to survive, I woke up on Monday remembering I had no food in the fridge that was in a consumable form. So I spent the morning making my dinners for the week (batch cooking, who knew how effective it is?) and managed to create something that was somewhat nice looking - pasta, kale, and lentils. Not my best work, but not my worst either, and I also managed to make spicy butter bean and red lentil soup - that really was my best work.

I watched an anatomy lecture on the Ungulate limb and messed around with some biochemistry notes to help myself understand them, although I can't say they actually went in. There wasn't much else to do other than watch some second years attempt (heavy emphasis on ATTEMPT) to play football on th eplaying fields, but even this was pointless because the angle my room faces out at is not the best for spying on random people.

In the evening I watched a CEVS (Cambridge University Equine Society) talk on the racing industry with Ed Walker of Ed Walker Racing. As someone who notoriously isn't the biggest fan of horses, I've been trying to go to CEVS talks as much as possible so I can see what being an equine vet is like. I don't have to make any kind of choice for years yet, but I want to keep all my options open and I've actually found I'm quite enjoying listening to talks on horses. Whether this translates to real life we'll have to wait and see...


Wow, today was stressful. There's so much stuff to do in so little time, and I'm having content chucked at me from left right and centre every day. It's really overwhelming and I'm completely exhausted (shown by the fact that I slept through two alarms in one morning, which only inevitably added to the stress) but we're keeping moving. I'm hoping next term will be a lot better in terms of what we can do to socialise, mostly because I think that would help with how tired I am of academic life.

I also don't think not doing any work for seven months helped either. My brain's still on holiday mode slightly and is refusing to recognise the pretty important work I have to do. Still, it's not all bad, I am sleeping for ridiculous amounts, although I suspect that has more to do with having had Covid than much else...


Anddddd....we're out! Two weeks later, at one minute past midnight on Wednesday morning, we were allowed out into the city for the first time in what felt like forever, and I actually got to go further than my window!

A lot happened (almost got into a fight with a swan??) but I forgot how good fresh air can actually feel! It's gotten much, much colder even in the time that we've been inside for, and I was wearing my hat and scarf when we went for our walk, but the night was clear and there weren't many clouds in the sky either, so we got to stargaze as we went as well.

Turns out, there's something called the Corn Exchange in Cambridge (who knew) and it looks quite nice when it's all lit up in red!

I've got washing to do today - finally! - and work to catch up on so I'm stressed but at least the end of term isn't too far away. We have a statistics lecture and a biochemistry supervision later, as well as a PBL session between. That means I get to do a presentation for the first time in forever (haha, kill me now) on energy expenditure, which, let's be honest, is not exactly the kind of content I signed up to be learning. But whatever, we all have to do things we don't want to do, and at the very least it's online so I can hide behind the Zoom camera!

Oh well, onwards and upwards - hope everyone is having a good week wherever you are in the world (we've had a sudden influx of readers from Japan, anyone fancy letting me come for a visit?). I'm sorry for the short week once again, there really wasn't anything exciting happening, but these next few days look really exciting - I have Jesus College Ambassador training and I've signed up to mentor a Year 12 student on a shadowing scheme next year, so I have lots to sort out with that. There should be more pictures as well which I think is the best part of the blogs, and with any luck there may be additions to the website if I can get myself moving on that front.

Hope you've enjoyed reading this and I'll see you next week with hopefully slightly more interesting content!

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