Vet Student Story by Harriet Long

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Tell us something about yourself?

Why did you decide to become a Vet?

  • I know it’s a bit of a cliché but I’ve wanted to be a vet since before I can remember. It’s something that’s always been part of who I am and I can’t imagine myself doing anything else! As the years have gone on I’ve been edging towards a career in referrals specializing in neurology and my first step towards this has been intercalating this year. I think what has always drawn me towards this specialism is the fact that the brain is central to the physiology of our animals and is the reason they have their own personalities. Because of this, successful treatment or management of CNS disease can be the difference between an animal being able to move, function, and, enjoy life, and the need for euthanasia.

 How hard was it to enroll in Vet School?

    • Because it was something that I’d wanted for so long, the prospect of applying to Vet School was absolutely terrifying. There are only a handful of universities in the UK which offer VetMed and the second I visited the RVC I knew that it was the only place I wanted to study which really added to the pressure! It seemed as if everyone I spoke to about being a vet knew someone who had done more work experience than I had and was an all-around better person than I was, who had been rejected.
      I was convinced that I wasn’t going to get in but then I got interviews and then offers. I think the important thing is to convey the passion and drive that you have for our profession wherever you can and if it’s meant to work out it will. I feel so lucky that I got in the first time but by the time you get to the first year you’re all on a level playing field – no one cares how long it took you to get in and, if anything, taking a year out to go and enjoy yourself before you commit to 5 or 6 years of hard work will benefit you down the line!

What is it like to intercalate?

  • Intercalating (that is, taking a year out to do a Bachelor’s degree) has been an equal mix of difficult and enjoyable. I decided to intercalate externally so that I could do neuroscience but that meant going to a ‘non-veterinary’ university, studying the human brain and mixing with a cohort full of medics or future researchers. Funnily enough, the most difficult thing to get used to wasn’t the anatomy (although the human olfactory bulb makes me embarrassed for us as a species) but being surrounded by people who aren’t vets. Having done two years at vet school I was so used to being around people who love animals and are passionate about their welfare but during my first weeks at King’s the main response to finding out I was a vet student was “but humans are just … better”. I suppose I didn’t expect people not to understand why I want to dedicate my life to helping animals but I hope that what I’m learning this year will help me both with my studies and when I’m practicing in the future which more than makes up for it!

What do vet students do in their spare time?

  • I think spare time is something that vet students don’t really have! One thing I always do my best to make time for is church and taking a few hours on Sundays to really focus on my faith always gives me perspective. Veterinary medicine is something that can be all consuming and I’m definitely guilty of letting things get on top of me so making sure that I can take some time to breathe is vital both mentally and spiritually.
    In addition to this, I have been an outreach rep for the Trusty Paws Clinic in London for the past year and a half. The clinic provides veterinary care for homeless dogs and I’m involved in letting owners know about the services we offer as well as attending the clinic itself. Since coming to London, one of the most difficult things to come to terms with has been the number of people living on the streets. For these men and women the relationship that they have with their animals is extremely important and they do not always have access to the veterinary care their companions need which is why I believe the work of the clinic is incredible! (For more information please have a look at this link: )


    #tb to chilling with the ponies ???? #tinyhorse #shetlandpony #vetlife #justanothervetstudent

    A post shared by Harriet Long | 21 | ✞ (@just_another_vet_student) on

Do you have any advice for future vet students?

  • I suppose if I could give any advice to future vet students it would be to not lose sight of why you want to be a vet. It’s really easy to get bogged down by assignments and exams to the point where you wonder why you subjected yourself to this course in the first place. For me, spending time with my dogs reminds me just how intelligent, loving and special our animals are and reaffirms in my mind that I want to spend my life keeping them from as free from pain and suffering as I possibly can. This makes any stresses that happen along the way completely worth it.