Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Walk Two Hundred and Thirty-Nine – Shadows

Flo’s school holidays have started, and so she accompanied me on my walk where we also delivered all our village Christmas cards. We talked about what she can do to stand out from all the other candidates when she applies to university to do veterinary medicine (which is what she thinks she wants to do). I don’t know how it is in other parts of the world, but here in the UK it is much more difficult to become a vet than it is to become a doctor. There are very few places and they are all heavily over-subscribed, so apart from it being essential to get top grades in all of your subjects, you need to have something extra to distinguish you from the other candidates. Work experience in the field seems to be one important way to show commitment, but goodness knows what else. It’s all a bit of a surprise to have produced this scientifically talented daughter. When I was at convent boarding school, they didn’t think that girls needed to learn sciences at all. Once when I inadvertently embarrassed one of the nuns by asking whether any of the girls had gone to Oxbridge (little did I know that barely any of them had had any kind of tertiary education whatsoever) her reply was ‘Your parents haven’t sent you here to gain qualifications, they’ve sent you here to learn good manners!’ So Haunton Hall (really, that was what it was called) did a rather wonderful line in awarding badges for good deportment, but none of us were ever taught physics or chemistry. So if there’s anyone out there who knows something about what really can make the University examiners see how clever, dedicated and generally all round fun to be with, Flo is, then do let me know.

125mm x 200mm watercolour in large watercolour moleskine


Blogger Lindsay said...

Here in the US its the same! My daughter might want to be a vet too and its so hard to get into the very few schools we have. She's in a high school program for interested students that meets at our local Humane society. The dean from a vet school comes to lecture on topics once a month. He said large animal experience is a help. Everyone can get small animal experience. Volenteering for a farm with large animals might be a help. May be the same in the UK

2:21 am  
Blogger Alison said...

You can liken sailing boats to large animals - you need similar qualities to deal with them - courage, sweet talking, practical skills etc. If you like, I can email you a copy of Finnian's application letter/portfolio which got her into uni without the equivalent of A levels - - it trys to pull from her interests, experiences, skills and personality those qualities that we thought universities are always on the lookout for - it may give you some ideas. We have only recently the beginnings of an interview system here, so her letter was IT.
Lovely shadows - they are so expressive.

2:49 am  
Anonymous rachel said...

What a clever niece I have! She could just say she has a mad auntie who has three dogs and three cats and needs a break with the vet bills! Seriously though, why doesn't she contact Rufus' vet and get some ideas from him/her?

I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed for her.

4:41 am  
Blogger Julie Oakley said...

Lindsay that's useful advice - I'll see about approaching the local cattle farmer. Alison I'd appreciate that, thank you. Rachel that was my first thought but I couldn't get beyond the receptionist (they probably get plagued by this sort of call) so I think I need to have a more personal contact.

9:09 am  
Blogger Glyn Watkins said...

Vets and poets both have a surface gloss. They are fine things, in a lot of peoples eyes, and many would like to be one; but the number of paid positions is but a tiny fraction of those dreaming of filling them. Why does anyone want to be a vet? The cynical may suggest people are motivated because: Animals are lovely. Everyone else does. Helping animals is easier than helping humans. Helping animals is like being God. Even if none of these are true, you cannot deny it is fashionable.
I have never met a vet who was a bad person, unlike some doctors and a number of nurses, but it is one of the few jobs that need dedication to something other than money or self, and it attracts people with noble feelings willing to make scarifices: but what good is it? My grandparents could only call the doctor if they thought a child was dying, and probably had to borrow money afterwards. When their animals were sick they coped the best they could. There has to be a lot of surplus wealth for vets to exist, but we are far richer than they were. I am sure Flo would make a fine vet, but a part of me wishes there was a job attracting the best of our youth promising the chance of changing us for the better.

10:36 pm  
Blogger vivien said...

I would suggest contacting your local RSPCA, My daughter contacted them and arranged to do her 'work experience' bit at school with them as she didn't want to do the usual boring jobs that the school arranged (half a day a week in her 5th year, aged 15) she continued going as a volunteer for some time afterwards. She had no intention of working with animals and went on to do a law degree but loved helping there.

I'm sure they'd be interested in a volunteer and it would give her a really good variety and she'd be able to meet/speak to the vets who assist the RSPCA.

11:24 am  
Blogger Julie Oakley said...

Glyn I think her interest comes out of her fascination with Biology and Chemistry rather than a huge love of animals (though she does like them). But also she doesn't think she has the consitution to cope with the sad, unpleasant and emotionally difficult aspects of being a doctor. Whereas she feels she could deal with life and death decisions with regard to animals.

Vivien, that is another really helpful suggestion, thank you

5:45 pm  
Blogger Penny said...

julie, it is hard to get into do vet here too, mostly because there is no vet school in our state. I would suggest you try your local vet surgeries so that she can get some experience, our vets here love it when they get students wanting to do vet science.
My grand daughter has a friend who got in the back door by doing a science course and changing one year in. Dont know idf you can do that there

3:06 am  
Blogger Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Good luck with the application to do a vet science course. I guess some experience with animals is imperative.
Shadows are great - and the mention of Haunton Hall - wow - Harrietta Potter were you? And learning manners and deportment - how lovely!

6:16 am  
Blogger Jana Bouc said...

I dont' have anything to add to the how to get into vet school part of the discussion but I do feel vets are special people. Their studies and the costs of their training are the same as human doctors but they can't have the expectation of getting rich (as people doctors in the US do) since they can never charge as much. It's very hard work, including physically--lots of lifting. I have a friend who is a "holistic" vet, specializing in acupuncture and caring for senior dogs. Her life isn't easy. She owns her own clinic in Marin County, the wealthiest county in California, and she is always struggling with the costs of providing quality care, maintaining good staff, and worrying about her practice and her patients and doing the best for them. She works very long hours. If Flo isn't that much of an animal lover, maybe she could get over her concerns about human medicine? That's so interesting about your education. Do you regret it or are your glad for it?

6:08 pm  
Blogger Julie Oakley said...

Jana, I don't think you can get rich here either if you choose to be a vet. Flo does like animals a lot, I suppose I mean that she is not part of the sentimental fluffy wuffy bunny brigade, which I would think is a very good thing if she is considering entering a profession where sometimes you have to euthanase an animal.
Re my 'education' at the convent, well I wouldn't choose it for my own children. I think a good education is a combination of providing opportunities, enabling children to fulfill their potential and stimulating a love of independent learning. However a school that doesn't have a proper library and doesn't provide the opportunity for the pupils to learn some of the most basic academic subjects is not in my opinion doing its job (which is probably why the school no longer exists). However I don't waste time regretting it, I just use it as a source for funny stories.

7:10 pm  

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