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  • Writer's pictureBella Rawson

Vet School Diaries - Week 9, Year 1

Good morning! Welcome to a bumper edition of the weekly blog, so big because this week was the week I left uni to go home, and I figured it wasn't worth doing a 'week 10' that was only two days long! This would've been up earlier but a) some rubbish stuff happened on Monday that meant I just didn't have the energy to leave my sofa, and b) I ended up meeting with a friend on Sunday and got a bit distracted with Christmas shopping/catching up. Without further ado, here's my last week at uni...


Oh boy, today was a busy one. We had a biochemsitry lecture, a dissection, a physiology lecture, and a statistics seminar, which was actually more fun than it sounds despite the fact I had no clue what I was talking about. We were also meant to have chicken and rabbit handling, but this had to be rescheduled to next term and I didn't get my afternoon of cathartically petting small, fluffy animals (nor chasing chickens, which I hear is as fun as it is humiliating!)


It was a misty morning as we headed to our exam. It wasn't really a proper one, just a steeplechase, which to be honest I'm still not entirely sure what that means, but I got 70% so I'm not gonna complain. The only other thing on was a physiology lecture, which whilst it was interesting was way too complicated for my little brain to follow without eating lunch, and so I got distracted by food again and didn't manage to do it until hours later. Oh well, c'est la vie, we move, etc etc - uni's been a bit depressing anyway, bring on going home!


It was our final weekly trip to Lidl's today until next term (that bakery is the best thing in the world, no contest) and I also had a couple of essays to write. My anatomy one this week is pretty interesting (it's also due Monday but oh well) - how the biomechanics and anatomy of the canine spinal cord contribute to causing disc disease. If you're unsure what this is, don't worry, I am too, and I'm meant to be writing an essay on it!

Nah, I do know what this is, and you, of course, get an explanation (you're on a vet blog, do you really expect anything else?)

This is an incredibly rubbish diagram of a canine intervertebral disc (a disc between the vertebra of a dog's spine). My anatomy supervisor would murder me if this turned up in one of my essays, but we're rolling with it because none of you are giving me grades this year. This blue stuff around the outside is what's known as 'annulus fibrosus' (essentially concentric rings of fibrous tissues) and the red circle is the 'nucleus pulposus', a gel like bit in the middle. They're important for all sorts of things, but essentially what happens is, in type 1, the nucleus pulposus hardens and ruptures through the annulus fibrousus, and in type 2 the AF protrudes and bulges out, which is more similar to what happens in humans. It's a pretty interesting subject to write an essay on if you can be bothered, and since my essay grades need working on I spent a while trying to make it work!


I was also meant to write another essay today (hello physiology) but I got the introduction done and then was so, incredibly bored with typing it that I basically just said 'screw it, I'll do it Monday'. In fact, I didn't end up doing it until Wednesday, a whole day after it was meant to be handed in, but given that nobody else had done it either, the amount that I cared was significantly lower than what it probably should've been. We're at the end of term now, I no longer care!

I also had my final meet up with Rosie today, a picnic in the Botanical Gardens which, whilst lovely, also made me freeze my tits off because IT WAS THREE DEGREES. I brought quiche though which was hilarious to her, entirely normal to me since it had been half off in Lidl, and she bought me jam tarts as we ranted about the term and said how much we were looking forward to going hom (sadly, there are no pictures of her for the blog this week, so you'll have to make do with this image of santa's pants that seemed to be part of the gardens' 'find Santa' hunt...)


I was kind to myself today, in that I'd done the practical we were expected to do online today over the weekend, which meant that the only thing I had to do was a biochemistry lecture and an anatomy supervision. I figured since it was basically the end of term I might as well attempt to let myself relax given how much of a shitshow the rest has been, and I spent the rest of my day with my head in a book (rereading Emma if anyone's interested, almost done, still in love with it).

My anatomy supervision went well, I love getting to spend an hour just talking about stuff that's really clinically relevant and what it will mean for me in my future years. I also love my supervisor, who just seems to know everything, and despite the fact she makes me do an essay every week is actually pretty awesome. I dunno if you've ever tried it, but getting to spend your evening talking about bones and paws and zoonotic diseases is actually pretty relaxing. Well, maybe if you're a vet student?


Welcome back to Bella's tales of days so full she just collapses at the end of them. I figured today would be pretty horrific since it looks like I'm never leaving my desk, but the one bright spot was my cancelled supervision - our HOM supos are always really late in the day (6-7pm) and Tuesday is also the most full on, so generally by the time I'm finished I'm flat out exhausted and barely functioning, let alone capable of explaining to my supervisor what the hell a pacemaker potential is. I voted for rescheduling to Friday (as did every other sane person not wanting to do it during their holiday: read, the Vet Meds) but the medics had other ideas - THE FIRST TUESDAY OF OUR HOLIDAY. Seriously, who invented medics? Give me a break mate! Thankfully you won't have to read that rant because this post will be up before then, but honestly. Making my brain work in a vacation? Whatever next?

In other news, Spotify Wrapped appeared today (for clarity for my grandparents, Spotify collates your most listened to music and tells you what you've listened to across the year. Also, love you x) In a twist of events absolutely nobody who knows me will be shocked by, these were my most listened to artists, and not one of my top 5 listened to genres didn't contain the word 'pop'.


Today was a rare, free day where absolutely nothing was scheduled and yet I still somehow had things to do! Two meetings with my director of studies and EMS supervisor meant I was up before 9 (yes, I know, shock horror), and promptly had a break down on a zoom call to said EMS supervisor because of how hard this term's been. Missing my boyfriend has been awful, as has the lack of socialising which really hasn't helped, and combined with the fact that I felt fairly morally obligated to avoid anyone who I wasn't in a bubble with just meant I was suffering from intense loneliness for most of it. This past week has been better, and now that we're allowed to go out and socialise a bit more I'm hoping it'll get easier, but good God this term has been a baptism of fire and I'm not completely sure how I'm still alive.

We went for tapas in the evening which was incredibly fancy for my usual persona (think: KFC) and look at this cocktail. Pure beauty ain't it? Big fan of the calamari and the patas aioli, and I even learnt what aioli was! Look at me, branching out with my languages! Then somebody tried to talk to me in French in the evening and I realised I didn't have a knack for languages, I was just very good at Googling.


Today I witnessed the greatest thing known to man: Jack and his love for cows. For an entire term, he's been looking forward to our cow handling practical with an eagerness I haven't seen since I found that cadbury's caramel spread in Lidl. (And since I know his girlfriend sometimes reads this blog, LAURA MAN I WISH I'D TAKEN A PHOTO! He got shit on his collar and was still grinning the entire time!)

Other than that we also had lectures, one of which I did not attend because I started it, nearly fell asleep, and figured I'd just do it in the holidays (oh what a bad decision now that I actually need to do it - goddamn capillary blood flow). We had a pretty great evening too (can't remember how long it's been since I sang Aeroplanes at the top of my lungs) and I ended up in bed at 4am - mostly because I was reading for hours, which I can't decide if that's a bad thing?


Another free day! Except, it wasn't a free day, was it, because I had to pack :( We did have snow though which was a lovely sight, and I went for a wander round the college just to see what it looked like. It was our last day/evening and we ended up going for a curry because the American in our staircase wanted to know what British curry was like (spoiler alert, probs not that much different to the USA?) It was a good meal (even if my naan bread was dissapointingly as flat as my chest) and we spent the evening crowded into one room that got progressively smellier as time went on. The evening did actually get better, trust me, I'm just not allowed to discuss it or I'll piss everyone off ;)


Since I was leaving in the morning, it probably wasn't a good idea to stay up talking to people till 5am, but such was the reality of my situation that I spent the day on 2 hours of sleep, having had three the night before and four the night before that. Welcome to life at uni, I don't recommend the sleep shedule.

Having now spent an entire term at the uni, it's now clear to me just how much I overpacked, and that filling a car entirely to its brim was not only unnecessary, it then made my life a pain to pack it all up. I think in total I counted seven bags, two suitcases, an awkwardly squashed pile of a duvet, and a card board cut out of Tom Holland. Tom became a welcome member of our staircase, if a little disturbing when one of my flat mates repeatedly put him outside your door with no warning, and the joke present my mates got me to try and embarass me at one of the best unis in the world was left behind in my wardrobe until next term.

We finally left college at half two in the afternoon, and made it back to Hell - sorry, I mean Canvey ;) - at around 4, which was surprisingly decent considering I'd expected it to be two hours of my parents arguing about which road to take!

And that was my final week at Cambridge! This week has been 1000 times better than the others put together, mostly because I was able to start socialising and meeting new people. I don't think I ever really talk about it on this blog, but I'm pretty extroverted, and it gets difficult when you're deliberately hiding away from other people at one of the most exciting points in your life. The weekend back has been hard, but one bright spot is this shitty, blurry picture of a score I would've once thought was the end of the world (hello, over achiever in a school that validated me!) We write weekly essays for our anatomy classes, and so far my scores have sent me spiralling down the rabbit hole of WHAT AM I DOING WRONG HERE! I think that's a pretty standard of coming to uni, especially Cambridge let's be real! But the reason I'm so excited about this score is because my supervisor never gives anything higher than 14 because a 14 is a first and she doesn't exactly know what constitutes 'better than a first'. SO THAT MEANS YA GAL JUST GOT 13/14 ON AN ESSAY - GO ME! Gone from less than 50% to more than 90 (yes, I'm aware this is scored out of 20 so technically it's 65 but let me have this please).

I won't be back blogging about Cambridge now until next term, but I do have a 'my first term at camb' post to write to summarise everything. I've also pestered my friends to write 'what's it like studying' posts for everything from medicine to psychology, so if they can be arsed the blog might stay interesting over Christmas!

Otherwise, merry Christmas everybody, and see you back here in January :)



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