Hi I’m Anusha and I’m Matthew and we are your wellbeing officers on the VMS Student Committee. Approximately every fortnight we will be posting blogs up about different topics related to mental health and wellbeing as well as discussing some in the weekly Virtual Medical Society meetings. We know that applying to medical school/dental school/ veterinary school can be very stressful and are here to help you all achieve the shared dream of becoming a qualified doctor, dentist or vet! We would love it if you could get involved by asking questions or suggesting topics you would like to see in future blog posts in the comments section at the end of each blog post. Please be respectful of each other- everyone is entitled to their own opinions even if they are different to some of yours! 

This week we are informally discussing how Year 13 is going with Erin Bell, one of the winners in our wellbeing competition. Unlike Ashleigh and Janice (see our Year 11 and Year 12 blog posts) who were aspiring medics, Erin is an aspiring vet so we hope this blog post provides a fresh, new perspective. From the challenges of lockdown to advice for current Year 13s and Year 12s,11s and 10s, there is sure to be something that is relevant to everyone in this post. We hope you enjoy!



What is your involvement with Medic Mentor?

I am fairly new to the Medic Mentor family, though I have attended a “Get Into Veterinary” conference and am part of the Virtual Medical Society. 



What GCSEs did you do and what A-Levels are you taking?

For GCSEs, I did English Language, English Literature, Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, History and French. I am currently taking Biology, Chemistry and Psychology for A-Levels. 



How did you find the first national lockdown back in March?

I actually found it quite difficult to learn how to self-study however, I found a strategy that worked for me which was at the start of every week, make a timetable of things I had to do and colour code it. For example, I had one colour for things I had to submit to my teacher and another colour for my own revision and work I needed to do. I found that by planning the weeks in blocks, it helped me to keep organised and made me feel less stressed about the prospect of online school.



So on the subject of extracurriculars, what extracurriculars do you do?

I enjoy cooking and baking, which lockdown allowed me to do a lot of. This skill will become particularly useful at university as I will have to be more self-sufficient and independent. As well as cooking and baking, I enjoy climbing and recently joined a local judo club in August 2019 which I am really enjoying. I also enjoy spending a lot of time outside with my friends. On one such occasion, I noticed a long thin orange thing which turned out to be a snake. As it started slithering away from us up the road I couldn’t bear the thought of it being run over so I picked it up. My friends and I then took it to the local pet shop which was sadly closed and our local vet branch was also shut. So, my dad ended up driving me 20 miles to another vet practice where it could be properly looked after. The vet then gave it to a rescue centre who reunited it with its original owner, who turned out to be one of my friends.



What advice would you give to others in Year 13 and people in Years 12,11 and 10?

I understand that working online in the middle of a global pandemic is not ideal but my biggest piece of advice is that you don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Take regular breaks and take a reality check. Is it really the end of the world if I haven’t completed this assignment tonight? These feelings will be dampened if you plan out your time and realise that some days you may not feel like working and that’s okay!



What universities have you applied to and why?

I have applied to Edinburgh, Nottingham, Surrey and RVC and Aberystwyth (the last one is a joint course). I was fortunate enough to be able to visit the Edinburgh and Nottingham campuses before lockdown hit and really liked them. To me, campus life is more appealing than living in the city! On the topic of choosing universities, make sure you consider location and the teaching style, are they problem-based learning universities or more lecture-based? Some universities may also have more practical elements than others which may be something to consider when making your final choices.

There are no BMAT style exams but Cambridge has their own entry exam and other schools have situational judgement tests.



And last question, why do you want to be a vet specifically?

I think having pets growing up has really influenced my choice to become a vet. I’ve always said I wanted to be a vet since primary school but as I got older I realised that it really would suit me! I have a border collie called Isla and my parents had another dog before I was born. I have also done various work experience placements at vet practices and have really enjoyed them! Regarding the topic of One Health, I feel that vets have a position of trust for humans and animals and I hope to use this privilege to make a difference.