So much for one post a week – so sorry! They’re not kidding when they say vet is an intense course, oh my goodness!
Busy as these two weeks have been, I’m absolutely loving the course. It’s such a relief to realise that all the hard work in high school, all the hours working at subjects I didn’t really like have really paid off! The lectures are all focused on us being in a clinic one day, and knowing that makes learning so much easier because you can immediately see the application. It’s not all plain sailing, and I’ve felt lost more time this past fortnight than I did in my whole high school career, but it’s all settled into place eventually. My lecturers are all obviously passionate which is another thing that really helps – you know the way some school teachers just seem over it? College professors aren’t like that – at least mine aren’t! I haven’t actually got many lectures, per se – this semester is quite a light workload, actually – but the autonomous learning is just as important. If we don’t read the notes that the lecturers put up online before class, it makes it infinitely more difficult to follow what’s happening – trust me, I tried winging it and it’s so not worth it! I came out of that lecture really stressed, feeling like I’d never catch up.
One thing that I still haven’t quite got the hang of is our “dry labs” – we spend three hours on a Monday afternoon using an online microscope and we have a weekly assignment based on screenshots. I realise now that taking some sort of crash course called “technology for dummies” may not have been as bad as it sounds. Vet is a course which relies heavily on a laptop – you have to have one!!! I’m a self confessed technology dinosaur and I’ve found it tricky to learn the course content and the basics of laptop-ery simultaneously, so if you’re planning on doing veterinary, make sure you know what’s what with your laptop! Similarly, I use Microsoft OneNote to take notes in class, and touch typing would be a real asset! If you’ve never heard of OneNote, as I hadn’t two weeks ago, it’s absolutely genius when it comes to taking notes. All of our lecturers put the PowerPoints they use up on Blackboard, so we can save them as PDFs and put them on OneNote. That way, we already have the basic notes and we just need to take down the extra things they say rather than frantically trying to remember everything they say! It honestly makes life so much easier, and you can share pages of it if you have a group project or something. There’s also a recording tool so you can record each lecture, too, and listen to it again if need be. Honestly, every college should show students how to use it during orientation!
It’s not all been work, of course! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the vet students are the absolute best! VetSoc, which is our dedicated society, organises mixers for us the first four Wednesdays of term and they’ve been so much fun. It’s a really good way to meet new people both from our year and from the years above us – each week, a first year is paired with someone from each of the years above, so it’s forced mingling but it really works! Last week was first year-fifth year and this week was first year-third year, after which we went to a club and then headed back to one of my friend’s apartment and ordered pizza at 5am – uni is fun, guys! This week was fresher’s week, and Monday brought the UCD Fresher’s Ball in Dublin. We had the BEST night, it was so much fun!
I was really nervous going into my first lecture – I was scared I would be immediately overwhelmed, I was scared I would do something wrong and I was scared no one would remember me from orientation. Those fears were completely unfounded! Near everyone is in the same boat – very few people know each other, so everyone is looking for a friendly face in the first few weeks, and the lectures start off with at least some connection to something you’ve heard before! The best advice I can give you is to embrace the whole experience – don’t hold back! I’ve joined societies I didn’t know existed – FoodSoc anyone?! – and I’ve met people I’ve just clicked with. I didn’t have a bad high school experience, exactly, but already in college I feel closer to some people than I ever did in school and that’s part of why I love it so much.
I hope you guys are finding these posts at least semi useful – if you have any suggestions, they are of course welcome!