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A day in the life of a surrey vet student

I’m Hannah Meadows, a second-year vet student, and I’m hoping to give you a bit of an insight into life at vet school. 

7:30aM – Morning

My alarm usually goes off at 7:30am, when I’ll reluctantly roll out of bed (eventually!), get dressed, grab some breakfast cereal and a hot chocolate to get ready for the day. In first year, I lived on campus, so the vet school was only a 2 minute walk away (bliss!) but this year I live off campus, a 25 minute walk away. However, with this year being a little different, my housemate and I only have to decide whose room we are using as a lecture theatre for the day, so only have to setup in there before 9am. This year I’m living with 4 other vet students of varying year groups (two 2nd years, one 3rd year and two 5th years), which is lovely as I didn’t live with any vets in first year. 

9am – Vet School 

When we are at the vet school, lectures can be at any time of the day between 9am and 5pm. Currently, I’m in charge of organising my own timetable so I like to schedule all my pre-recorded lectures for the morning, starting at 9am, so I can grab some lunch before tackling independent work and practicals in the afternoon. We also have live zoom recap sessions in the afternoons at the moment, which we don’t usually have so organisation is a challenge to fit everything in! I usually have 4 lectures each day (except Wednesdays when I have the afternoon off, like the rest of the uni), which are generally organised into their modules – one module each day out of the 4 modules for each semester.  

I also have practical sessions which can either be in the anatomy lab, teaching lab, clinical skills lab, large animal clinical skills area or off-site. In first year, I had animal handling off-site twice a week for the first few weeks and lots of anatomy practicals whereas second year has had a more laboratory based approach in the teaching lab so far, which I like because it’s my favourite type of practical, second only to animal handling! I usually have 2 or 3 practicals per week although this is much more variable than the number of lectures.  

In between the lectures and practicals, I will do some revision if it’s getting close to exams, some independent work preparing for practicals or doing coursework or just chill if it’s been a busy day. I like to try to go for an hour’s walk at some point during the day if possible, it helps me clear my head and get some fresh air.  

Here is a picture of me and Bailey, one of the Cinnamon Trust Dogs I used to walk. 
6pm – Evening 

Once vet school is finished for the day, I make some dinner (with varying degrees of success), wash up and get on with the evening’s activities. I don’t like to keep working into the evenings and weekends so I try to work as efficiently as I can to get it done before 6pm during the week, although that’s sometimes impossible! This means that I can head off to a society, either concert band, Christian Union or another event being run by the uni or settle down to do some crafts or watch a film (or Bake Off) with my housemate. At the weekends, my housemate and I like to explore Guildford and the surrounding areas, finding a new place for a walk each week which is lovely to get out and about, even if it is a bit cold at the moment! 

Thursley Nature Reserve

Being vet students means that we must do extra-mural studies (EMS) as part of our course which is a placement during the holidays, starting with animal husbandry (caring for animals on farms, stables and kennels etc.) and progressing to vet practices in the later years. It takes a lot of organisation to find places and get it all set up but I have had some amazing experiences so far; it is hard work but I enjoyed every minute of all the placements that I did during the summer this year.  

Life at vet school is never typical or ‘normal’, but that makes it all the more exciting!