The first week of my second year in college has come to a close and it’s been so much fun! This year, I’m a peer mentor in the UCD vet school’s programme, and it’s been exciting showing the newbies around. As a peer mentor, I’m assigned three first years who I essentially act as a “big sister” to. For the first five weeks of college, we meet up with them a couple of times a week and make sure that they’re not floundering and that they’re comfortable and making friends. My own peer mentors were fantastic, so I felt like I owed it to them to help the new ones, and it’s been really rewarding.
In terms of lectures, there’s no introductory week for us to gradually ease back in like there was this time last year. It’s straight in to lectures from day one, which is actually quite nice in terms of establishing routine. Technically speaking, the modules are harder this year – obviously – but they seem easier. I think that’s probably just because we’ve been exposed to the veterinary world for a year now, so the technical terms don’t sound like gibberish anymore. On a more personal level, I’ve been reading the lectures before class where possible, so instead of going in blind, I have some idea of what’s happening. I didn’t do any study during the week, but I did sit down this weekend and write up my notes, which meant that anything that I was confused about I could look up while it was still fresh in my mind.
The highlight of this week (for me anyway!) was our first exotics class. In UCD, we pick two electives each year on top of our core modules. I’m not sure when it stops, but anyhow – this year, I’m doing a module on exotics in semester one, and then a rotation elective in the large animal hospital in semester two. Our first exotics class was on Friday, and we started with fish. I found it really interesting to see how very different a fish is to any animal that we’ve studied so far – up until now, we’ve only looked at mammals, which are obviously quite complex, but a fish is very simple in terms of structure. Our hearts have four chambers where theirs only have two, and their respiration system is very passive compared to all of the effort we have to put into breathing. Once we’d done an hour on theory, we moved down to the dissection lab where we were greeted by frozen dogfish, rays and another smaller fish which I believe were snappers (?). It smelt pretty awful and even after I showered I still had fish smell in my nose, but it was such a fun practical. One group had a fish that had just eaten another smaller fish, so we saw the whole digestive system, and a few had pregnant ones.
Of course, back to college means that nights out begin again. The first year nights are back, and although we’re not first years anymore, it’s still fun to go out with all the vets – we’re definitely the best school on campus! It’s crazy to think that a year has passed since we were just beginning college, but I’m really excited for this year. Hopefully I’ll be back on top of my studies in no time and I can properly enjoy myself.
Until next week,