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Gabby, BVSc 3 Bristol 2018-2019.

Why did you choose to intercalate?
I always knew I wanted to intercalate when I applied to Vet School as I knew I wanted to get the experience of writing a dissertation and working on a lab project.

The veterinary course is very content heavy and means you don’t get to explore many topics in much detail which is one of my favourite aspects of intercalating. I also know that intercalating is such an amazing opportunity to take as you will never again have the opportunity to undertake another degree being fully funded. I would say if you are debating intercalating at all- do it!!!! You will forever wonder what it would have been like if you don’t and regardless of whether the intercalated year goes as how you expect it to, or is a completely different experience to what you imagined, the skills you will learn will help you so much in your future studies and career- either as a vet or whatever you may choose to do!!

What are you intercalating onto?

BSc Cellular and Molecular Medicine (CMM) at Bristol.

The course is very diverse and covers a range of units such as; immunology, cancer biology, stem cell therapy and infectious disease. The way it works is that there are 9 lecture series and you pick 4 units which you would like to sit the exams in. I like this about the course as it means you can attend as many lectures as you like and learn about different concepts and then choose to be examined on the ones you enjoyed the most and feel are your strongest areas.

How did you find the application process?

I applied both internally (in Bristol) and externally for intercalation. I found the internal process very easy- just a simple form to fill out and I was able to go and speak to the lecturers beforehand to make sure I was applying for a course I would enjoy.
The external application process I found very frustrating. I don’t know if this was just
something specific to me and the course I was applying for, but I found that as a Veterinary Student the admissions people were not able to help me as much as the Medics. Another issue I faced was that the course I was applying for had limited spaces and these were preferentially given to medical students which additionally disadvantaged me. I was applying for a specific immunology course externally which I am SO glad I didn’t end up doing as I wouldn’t have had the chance to learn about all the things that I am on my CMM course. I’ve already found so far that I am enjoying the other units (especially virology) more than I ever thought I would- I would say going for a broader intercalated degree is so beneficial in that aspect!!

What are you looking forward to most about intercalation?

Writing up my dissertation, I’ve just started it and I know it’s going to be so rewarding when I finish it all in March. I’m also loving all the different types of people that I am
meeting, I am getting to learn more about different paths people have taken with their careers and meet such a diverse range of people- the research world is very multicultural which has been so nice to be a part of!!

What are your plans for the future?
I will probably work in either small animal or mixed practice for a few years post graduation in order to use the skills my veterinary degree has given me and then I hope that I can start working in a setting which combines both my veterinary skills and research. Perhaps working in a University Hospital and lecturing at the same time or going to work in a Government sector… not sure yet- might also move to Bali and live in a beach hut, we’ll see where the wind takes me!!!

The beauty of intercalating is that if I ever decide being a Vet just isn’t what I want to do with my life anymore I have another BSc which I can use to show that I have learned all the transferrable skills non-vocational courses have to offer and can go into any field I want to; research, finance, medical industry… the possibilities are endless- and the only downfall to it all is extending your studies by one more year, which when you’re doing a 5 year degree anyway really isn’t that much of a big deal.

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