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  • Writer's pictureBella Rawson

Vet School Diaries - Week 8, Year 1

It's the penultimate post before I head home! It's feeling very Christmassy in Cambridge at the moment, and in fact today's also Bridgemas! Because we aren't in Cambridge for Christmas, the colleges celebrate a month before in November so that we get the opportunity for Christmas dinners and festivities. This week I've been to Christmas caff and listened to more festive music than my inner Grinch is comfortable with - it's been wild, to say the least.


As always with animal handling days, today was manic. We rushed from a dissection to a lecture to the vet school, and all in the freezing cold as well. It's gotten much, much colder here in the city, and much darker as well - we sometimes come home in the dark when it's only just gone half 4!

Today's handling was equine which meant a lot of hoof dodging and panicking about being bitten. Having next to no experience with horses made everything pretty challenging, and when we got the task to fit a bridle (which, by the way, looks frankly terrifying) I did everything cack handed and wrong! Oh well, only resulted in a near loss of my thumb!

I've been trying to keep an open mind on going into the equine world, but to be honest this hasn't done much to encourage me. We do get a chance to practice these skills again next term though, which I'm pretty glad about because we're assessed on all these skills and they did not go well!

This was the view along Burrell's walk as we headed back to college after our session!


A FREE DAY! WHAT HAS HAPPENED? HAS THE UNIVERSE CAVED IN? All I had on my timetable today was a HOM lecture, and although 'empty' never truly means 'empty' at Cambridge, I still had a fairly relaxing day.

I popped out to a catch up session of the past practicals that we had to watch online, and finally understood what a lateral digital extensor was. The muscles in the crus (hindlimb equivalent of the forelimb) are really interesting because they alternate between flexors and extensors, and some of the muscles really shouldn't be called that because they're barely more than a pin head.

Other than that, I picked up the matriculation photo my mum asked me to buy and grabbed some dividers for my folders - trying to get organised is much more expensive than you'd think (okay, so two quid is not exactly breaking the bank but I'm a student now, I ask for a discount everywhere).


I went food shopping today and challenged myself to not buy junk food - I failed miserably. There's something about uni that drives you to just want to eat the worst food you can possibly find - might become a chain smoker by the end of it, who knows? (mum, I'm kidding I promise please don't kill me)

I spent the rest of the day working really hard on an anatomy essay to try and pull my marks up, and after I got it back later in the day I found I succeeded - by one whole mark! Lord I hate uni marking. It feels like getting an extra mark is the equivalent is moving up one whole GRADE at A-Level.

The rest of the day was spent binge watching tv because, honestly, getting the news that my four hours of work was worth no more than an extra mark was so intensely depressing that I didn't feel like doing anything else. Another sucky thing about Cambridge? No freezers so no icecream for when everything feels shite :(


One of the best parts of Cambridge is that my really close friend Rosie also got in and so we try (when not infected with Covid!) to meet up once a week. This week we chose to go to Castle Mound, which is pretty famous amongst students and teenagers in the city for being a) a prime drinking/party spot in non-Covid times (wow that makes me sound boring) and b) some really gorgeous views.

It's basically just a little hill, allegedly an ancient site but who knows, but you can see the majority of the inner city from the top, and when you go late in the day (as we did) the light and the views are spectacular.


It was a nice introduction to the week all things considered, with an anatomy lecture and a practical that, although it was online, was pretty interesting. We've moved onto studying the cardiovascular system in physiology now which is so, so interesting and fascinating. We do renal next term which is something I'm really looking forward to as there's much less physics involved, but even though the heart is hard and has more pressure related words than should be legal, it's probably the most interesting topic so far.

In the afternoon I had a two hour supervision, but before that I spent twenty minutes in an outreach session with some kids from a school in the midlands, chatting about advice for applying to Cambridge and what life is like here. Of course, I wasn't quite as candid as I usually am on here (I would've been denied my free coffee and cookie from The Roost if I said the things I wanted to!) but I was as honest as I could've been whilst still making this place seemed like the most amazing place in the world. It's sneaky marketing is what it is! Mind you, I do get a free coffee (read: mocha, because I'm obsessed with both chocolate and caffeine now that I'm a uni student) and cookie out of it so I'm gonna be doing as much of that as possible!


MERRY BRIDGEMAS EVE! As a long time Grinch I'm not entirely comfortable with how Christmassy things have gotten but I'm working on it! My day was incredibly busy to say the least: biochemistry, physiology, a dissection and a supervision all in one day! The dissection was a nice break and we got to look at the abdominal wall muscles of a dog (so fascinating!) and my partner and I gave ourselves a little sneak peek of what's to come next term by cutting through transverse abdominis and looking at the abdominal cavity. Spoiler: the liver's bloody huge!

We had a physiology supervision as well in the evening, fron 6 to 7, but my brain was so fried at that point that I don't think I understood any of my supervisor was saying. I'm really struggling with how much later we're expected to work here (usually it's 9am-7pm) because my day is generally 9am-3pm or 12pm till 6pm. This idea of having such late supervisions just doesn't work for me, and I'm not really sure what to do about it. I'm hoping we can change our times next term and I can convince people that although it's stressful to do extra stuff in the day, it's better than doing them now when I literally can't concentrate.

After our supervision, we went for Bridgemas caff - a three course meal for 6 quid! For starters we got smoked salmon and for mains a full roast dinner with pigs in blankets, potatoes, turkey, gammon and brussel sporuts (you can guess which bit I didn't ask for, but I did have an excuse unlike usual - they were mixed with chestnuts, which thanks to my nut allergy gave me a wonderful reason to ignore them!) Finally, for dessert, there was a hige slice of cheesecake and a mince pie. Yes, you read that right - CHEESECAKE. The God amongst men of desserts.


MERRY BRIDGEMAS! It's icy now (look at those roads!) and so my morning run to grab milk was cold and frosty! I had a (fairly) empty day, with just some catch up animal management lectures that I couldn't be bothered to do yesterday after such a busy day, and an anatomy lecture at 12. Given that we have a test on Friday (it's not really a big deal, all anonymous) I thought I'd do some revision and honestly there's sooooo much we need to know.

Honestly, who knew you needed to know this much to be a vet? In your first term as well?

Other than that, I stayed in for the rest of the day and looked at my bone box until my eyes bled. Also tried to do a bit of Christmas shopping, but when all your boyfriend says he wants is a two person sleeping bag so we can go camping, you don't feel too compelled to actually buy anything (note: camping is the last thing I want to do these days Harold).

Anyway, that was my week! I can't believe there's only one more post before I go home, and then I get to summarise what my first term was like! I'm looking forward to heading home and not having to cook my own food, but I'm going to look forward to coming back to the staircase. It's starting to get easier now, and I'm feeling more at home with everybody - Covid hasn't helped with making friends, but it's not the end of the world!

Have a good week everybody and see you next week for the last post of the term! xx

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