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  • Writer's pictureBella Rawson

Vet School Diaries - Week 3, Year 1

Hello, welcome back to the blog! I think I've figured out a way of making these posts so they don't take a million years to read (I've bullet pointed what I do with my days so I know what I want to say instead of just rambling on until I reckon it's enough!) It's been an interesting week to say the least - my first week with deadlines and realising how hard supervisions actually are...


We had our first animal handling session today! We got to handle cats and birds, and given that cats and I have never really been fans, it interesting experience! We learned how to towel wrap and given tablets, as well as how to get them in and out of their carry cages, but I think the best part was learning about the budgies and how to handle them! I was surprsingly adept at catching them and extending their wings, so I'm gonna forgive myself for not being very confident with the cats!

We also had a biochem lecture (ugh, have I mentioned how much I am not a fan of this module? The teaching is fantastic but my brain can't cope with all the concepts, because everything's on such a tiny, molecular level I have trouble visualising it). That was followed up by a really interesting physiology lecture and my own preparation for the histology seminar we had the following day - so, not a bad day really!


We had our first anatomy lecture on gaits today (how an animal walks) and I'll be honest, it wasn't the most interesting...we did, however, do our first dissection on our dog cadavers straight afterwards, which makes up for me wanting to fall asleep for the first hour of my day!

Normally, we get a cadaver between a group of roughly 4 students, but I'm not sure how it's working this year. I arrived at my station to find that I was the only one there, which was great because I got to do the dissection myself, but also slightly nerve wracking given that I therefore had to pretend to be good at it. I guess normally there would be two of us, but the other person was self isolating so wasn't able to go. Whatever it was, I named my dog Wendy, and she has a little white heart on her belly :)

I had some time in the afternoon so I got started on an essay my MIMS supervisor set us. It was only an essay plan, but she asked for it to be detailed, so I ended up all but writing the essay in full! You can see the question in the picture below (with my highlighting so I could divide the paragraphs!) and I ended up with about 3 pages after this with my notes and diagrams - so, fairly detailed I reckon! It's my first 'essay' at Cambridge so hopefully it goes well! (Sunday edit: it did! 'Excellent essay plan with good structure, well done' And no, I didn't make that up, somebody actually thought my ideas were good!)

There wasn't a whole lot else to do today other than a physiology lecture that was so horrifically physics orientated I don't have the energy to talk about it! I mean, at what point did I apply to do a physics degree? I make fun of the mathmos voluntarily choosing to do it, and then here I am voluntarily doing it as well (don't tell them this, I'll never be able to tease them again and it's my only source of entertainment).


We had an embryology lecture that I didn't understand for the life of me, so after finishing the essay plan I'd started the day before for MIMS, I hauled myself off to the library for the first intensive study session I've had in about seven months!

In four hours (I didn't intend to stay this long, I just got a bit distracted!) I managed to teach myself the bones of the forelimb and become more comfortable with the truncobrachial junction muscles (this turned out to be incredibly useful for my first VAP supervision!) I'm planning on making revision posts on these soon, so if you're interested click here for my post on the forelimb, and keep an eye out for my muscle post later in the week!

I also spent a lot of time on embryology because I spent most of that lecture making notes in a confused haze of 'what is she talking about'! I managed to come away feeling much better about it which is always good, and I'm planning on spending some time later in the week (Wednesday, it turns out!) to try and make a tree diagram of what goes on! Expect a revision blog post on this as well, because I'm still confused and it's gonna take a while until I'm not!

Check out our library below and the diagram I drew to show the junction muscles!


Given that the vast majority of this blog's reader's are my family, it won't be a surprise to anyone that they came to visit me today!

It was a lovely day but I don't want to give them any weapons to use against me to claim that I've gone soft and mushy so I'll just say that I really missed the dogs and enjoyed the cuddles I got from them!



Which, I'll be honest, would be a lot more exciting if I wasn't spending it in three hours worth of lectures and a livestreamed practical!

However, we make do with what we have as a uni student (lol) and that means I had to spend the day telling myself that it was fine because after all I'm spending nine grand a year to do a subject I'm interesting in - I should want to be working on my birthday! (If you were wondering whether I succeeded with this mindset, I'll give you one guess - I did not).

That was how I ended up batch cooking curry and nearly missing a supervision because I didn't know how long I needed to cook the chicken for. I'll be honest though, I'm quite impressed with the results as I've yet to develop food poisoning - touch wood - and it was actually semi edible! Here's a photo of it (in a bowl because my plate spontaneously snapped in two and I'm a uni student who's notorious for not spending money unless it's absolutely necessary).

Thankfully, my evening was much better than my morning, as we all went as a staircase to Franca Manca (not sure that's how you spell it tbh) for their £5 pizza deal. I reckon they're better than Domino's and Pizza Express - mine had anchovies and olives!

Though there were a few issues with the cake (i.e. people shoving fingers in without even asking if they could have some - no, you didn't read that wrong, I couldn't believe it either!) it went down pretty well as it was M&S (!) and chocolate.

We followed it up with a night walk around Cambridge - yes Grandad, I did take the rape alarm with me - and I'm convinced it's the best way to see the city. At the moment, nobody's about because of the curfew, so it feels like you're completely alone as you walk along The Backs and down through the colleges.


Started the day with a biochemistry lecture, and I don't think I'm any closer to actually enjoying it! If you want an example of a general lecture, it's roughly 60 minutes of a really well educated person spouting scientific words I've never heard of at ninety miles an hour, whilst also expecting me to process the words and make notes that are capable of supporting my supervision work. I.e. Cambridge seems to think I'm Superman.

We also had a remote dissection class. Because of Covid we can't all be in the anatomy lab at one time, so we have to do things 'staggered'. All that really means is whenever a dissection happens only 40% of the year can be there, and the rest have to watch a slightly grainy version of our lecturer telling us about the things he can totally see, and the rest of us pretend to be able to see. The omotransversarius? Yes sir, I know exactly where that is! (lies)

In the evening, I had a supervision for my physiology course. If you don't know what a supervision is, it's a small group teaching session, usally led by a PhD student, where we review the week's lectures and what we're supposed to have learnt. In summary, I'm not sure how I got through this one without my supervisor recommending to the university board that I be suspended for idiocy - for some reason, physiology now includes physics, and I've had to try to teach myself about equilibrium potentials and capacitors. Yes it's as horrid as it sounds, no I won't go into detail because I'll just annoy myself even more.

I finished off the day with a couple of chapters of the book my sister got me for my birthday (Fake Law by The Secret Barrister, yes I squealed!) and a cup of tea of questionable quality. Perfect night in.


Today started off wildly!

As a bit of background, Cambridge is running an asymptomatic Covid-19 testing programme, where students are given a test each week so that the university can study the rate of asymptomatic infections amongst the population. These tests are taken on a Tuesday, so unfortunately on a Wednesday we all get lovely texts telling us whether we've tested positive or negative.

Also as a bit of background, our college laundry facilities are in a specific staircase, and you have to go through it to get to the machines.

Anyway, I took my washing to the machines at about quarter to nine in the morning, as I had a lecture at 9am so, in theory, by the time I was done, by washing would be clean and I just had to chuck in the dryer. You can probably guess what happened next.

One hour later, I returned to find that sometime in the previous 54 minutes, the staircase with the laundry in it had been isolated because they'd had a positive aymptomatic test. Yep, my laundry was taken hostage, and I had to get a Porter to come help me get it back out again!

The rest of the day was nice, as I managed to meet up with Rosie again and show her the vet school (not of her own volition I might add, I sort of forced her to because I needed to get my lab coat and it killed two birds with one stone. Whether she actually wanted to do this remains a mystery, and I may have just dragged my closest friend here on a walk where all she wanted to do was go home - I'll be honest, I'm not sorry).

(Left, King's College chapel taken from The Backs, Right, Mathematical Bridge)

That's everything that happened this week! I hope you're enjoying reading about everything I'm getting up to in Cambridge; it's nice to write these and reflect about what the week's been like. Can't quite believe I turned 19 this week though, do I really have less than a year of being a teenager left? Madness, I say - madness!

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