First week studying BSc Veterinary Conservation Medicine

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First week studying BSc Veterinary Conservation Medicine

Hey guys! I’m just coming to the end of my first week studying an Intercalated BSc in Veterinary Conservation Medicine at the University of Liverpool and it’s been a whirlwind of new experiences for sure! I hope to make a short video that shows me out and about a bit so keep your eyes peeled, but for now I’ve uploaded a few pictures and a short-ish post about my week!

Day 1– Monday 23rd September 2019

Figuring out how to get to the Leahurst vet campus from where I live was pretty straightforward luckily, although as usual parking was a nightmare! I picked up my permit from the main building before meeting up with my course-mate from Bristol who is also on this course for lunch and for a bit of explore around the campus so we knew where we were going! Always good to compare a new vet school to the one you’re used to (and I’m just nosy!).

The cafe at Leahurst is based in the beautiful historic Leahurst House, although much smaller than the one at Langford, so I do wonder where all the students were hanging out as it was quite quiet! But HOT FOOD! Will definitely be checking that out again later…

At 2pm, timetabled was an introduction to the course I got to meet other people on the course (only 5 of us in total, so lucky that the course went ahead!) and some of the key members of staff. As I’d had nothing to do on my arrival weekend I had been organised enough to look at timetabling and assessment etc so there wasn’t all that much I didn’t already know, but definitely worth meeting everyone!

Once I got back from uni, I went to register at the local GP and get my bearings around the town where I live (around 5 miles from the Leahurst campus) and got caught in a massive downpour (that’s the North-West for you!) but hey, rain never hurt anyone right?

Day 2- Tuesday 24th September 2019

Timetable:

10-11am: Introduction to Problem Based Learning (PBL)

This lecture was just an introduction to how the PBL scenarios were going to work, and an overview of the module itself (VECM301 Concepts in Veterinary Conservation Medicine) and its assessment.

I consider myself quite an organised person, but even this course is going to challenge my time-management skills and I can already see that it is going to be very different to the main vet course!

Even the word ‘essay’ makes me tremble, I haven’t written an essay for about 4 years (and that was in Spanish for my A-level!)….

2-4pm: PBL Scenario 1: Galapagos Tortoises

In our small group of 5, we were given our first scenario to read through as a group with completely new facts about the Galapagos, with one person acting as a scribe and another a chair. The aim of our discussion with little input from the facilitator (one of the course staff), was to create our own questions/learning objectives surrounding the scenario (Galapagos giant tortoise conservation broadly) to go away and research. Two and a half hours later, we had our list (about 3 pages on a word document) to go away and spend 10-20 hours researching (whaaat..?) and come to the session next week to discuss what we all found! Eventually our facilitator had to call time when we ran over by half an hour and we all had dark circles under our eyes…

However it was a really enjoyable session, and we all agreed we haven’t had to use our brains in that way in a long time (thanks summer holidays), or indeed ever!

Day 3- Wednesday 25th September 2019

9-11am: Discussion of Research Projects (VECM300 Introduction to Research in Veterinary Conservation Medicine)

This was a really enjoyable session! We had various members of staff from the vet school and Mammalian Behaviour and Evolution group present ongoing projects or project ideas that we could undertake with them as part of the VECM300 module and the main project in Semester 2. We had to rank our top 3 after talking to each supervisor and we’ll find out the outcome next week!

The type of projects range from statistical analyses/modelling to compare characteristics/relationships between species, studying behaviour in rodents as a model to zoo animal behaviour, disease patterns across wildlife populations, disease transmission between wild animals and zoo animals and many more! All so interesting and difficult to choose from, but an amazing opportunity to really make a difference and potentially get your name on a scientific paper!

Afternoon:

On average we have 7 hours timetabled contact time (used to 7 hour days at Langford previously so this was a shock to the system), however there is no rest for the hard-working! I spent this afternoon working on the LOs we set from PBL1, as well as getting in touch with the supervisor for my preferred research project (the subject of which is a secret!).

I also do online tutoring in my spare time to earn a little bit of extra cash, so I also have to make time to prepare for my students too, which again is testing my time management skills! Doing this has really made me admire anyone who does teaching as a career because so much work goes into pre-lesson preparation too which isn’t necessarily counted when being paid.

Late afternoon/evening:

Along the Wirral Way…

As I had been in the library at Leahurst from 11am-3pm, I decided to drive to Wirral Country Park for a walk to get some fresh air, which was only a couple of miles further on my journey home and I had seen signs for it so I decided to check it out; I’m so glad I did! It is a 12 mile footpath that runs all up the west of the Wirral, so you’re standing on England looking at North Wales across the River Dee estuary! (see the beautiful header image).

I’m quite into my birds (not a twitcher though…) so it was lovely to see swallows, goldfinches, many gulls and I could also hear curlews on the wind! Next time I come I’m bringing my binoculars and wellies (need to be permanently in my car for impromptu visits definitely!).

Day 4- Thursday 26th September 2019

10-11am Conservation Biology Lecture at the main University of Liverpool Campus.

View of the original redbrick University of Liverpool building the Victoria Building, now a museum and gallery, from Brownlow Hill.

Up early to walk to the local train station (easy I thought, about a mile away from where I’m living, used to walking that with Bristol hills!). Carrying all my stuff for the day (my laptop weighs nearly 2kg because it has an amazing battery life) was more tiring than I thought…

It takes about 40 minutes to get the train from where I live to Liverpool Central and I have to change at Bidston so for a 10am it’s an early start to get there in enough time.

As I did get there about 40 minutes early, I decided to explore the Harold Cohen Library, and it is huuuuuge! I later learned on my tour that it had undergone a recent revamp and it looked amazing!

Moving on to the lecture itself, it was just an introductory one again, with a few basic concepts, information on what we are going to learn and details of how we will be assessed. We share this module with students on other courses such as Zoology who have chosen this module and because part of the coursework assessed will be in groups, it’ll be nice to meet some of them for sure! More coursework again, argh! Very different to the vet course where for any bits of coursework we would have a fair bit of guidance, whereas the general theme here has been ‘here’s an essay title, go and write it’. *gulp*.

After the lecture, I went back to the library (my new home whilst in Liverpool centre, clearly) where I had booked a study room to give my online lesson without disturbing others.

A jam packed day, as after I had this lesson, I had to rush to Student Services to have my Disability Support appointment to ensure my exam arrangements were in place. This luckily didn’t take long as I had sent a lot of information prior to my appointment and my Bristol support document was almost identical to what the Liverpool team would be producing.

Once my appointment was over, I went shopping!

Liverpool genuinely I think has a pretty comparable shopping quarter to a small space of London, insane! I’d recently been paid after my summer job and haven’t treated myself to new clothes in years (I know, cliche) but that was a bad mistake when I had to lug everything a mile uphill when I came back from the train station. Lesson learned, I will now be driving after finding the station car park is free where I live.

Image cue to break up the text (I’ve taken more videos than images!), Liverpool has the largest Lush shop in the world and I could smell it before I saw it! I didn’t go in until later, but this was to shop for someone else other than myself!

A long day of walking miles and travelling, but a fulfilling one.

Day 5- Friday 27th September 2019

The final day of my first week, it really has flown!

Due to the dire parking situation at Leahurst, I got into Leahurst for 9am to do some work on the PBL scenario before meeting with my proposed project supervisor at 11am where we had a chat about what the project would entail and to answer my questions. I really hope I do get allocated to her project because it has the potential to affect many different areas in agriculture, wildlife conservation and veterinary medicine! I can’t disclose what it is because it is ongoing and would give the game away to other groups!

After this I got into Liverpool about 1pm after having lunch on the train (luckily at this time it’s rather quiet so no having to stand to eat!) and acted as a personal shopper for a couple of hours, before getting caught in another rainstorm (welcome to the North-West in autumn, again) on my way to campus.

Last minute lecture pre-reading in the Harold Cohen Library as the personal shopper role took much more time than I realised…

4-5pm Conservation Biology lecture

After successfully having found the room, the lecture was on biodiversity loss which was really interesting, and great to hear about this topic from an academic stand point!

A run back to Liverpool Central to get the train home, and that’s my first week done!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed hearing about my first week!

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