Growing up in NW London, whilst attending public schools all through to college, I was often discouraged from wanting to be a vet because I was told it would be ‘too hard’. Statistics were not in my favour - I was a girl from a working-class family and a person of colour. In addition, I went to underachieving schools and was also the first in my family to want to go to university. However, being a daughter of an immigrant parent gave me the mental resilience I needed, as the importance of hard work and determination was installed into me from a very young age.
Not only are there very few universities that offer Veterinary Medicine as a course, but you also need extensive veterinary-related experience as well as good academic grades. This makes getting into vet school extremely competitive and daunting to young people - but nothing good comes easy. I took it upon myself to do some research and by the time I was 16, I had done placements at veterinary practices, voluntary work at animal shelters and had also attended a short summer school at RVC. During college, I worked part time at an animal shelter, carried out more placements at veterinary practices and attended a weeklong summer school at RVC (via the Sutton Trust). These experiences, in my opinion, are so important not just for building up your application to vet school, but in keeping you motivated and interested in the veterinary field, especially when you aren’t getting that support from your school/family.
I was very determined to be a vet growing up, but as the time drew closer to make university applications, I became very overwhelmed. Teachers constantly discouraged me from applying to vet school because I would be ‘wasting my options’. With the pressure of exams and deterrence from my teachers, I decided that it was safer to not apply for veterinary medicine. Results day came and I was accepted into RVC to study Bioveterinary Sciences. I knew deep down it wasn’t my passion, but I was grateful for securing a place at such a prestigious university.
During my three years at RVC I started to really love my course and it opened me up to a whole new field in veterinary science I didn’t know existed. However, I still had a desire to learn more about the medicine side of things. I started saving all my student loans and began building up my application to apply to vet school yet again. I was interviewed and offered a place at RVC to study Veterinary Medicine as a postgraduate where I started in 2018. I am now going into my third year of the course and even though it took longer than anticipated, I am more than grateful of my journey to get here. Of course, there were moments of doubt (plenty of them), but the journey of failures and accomplishments have made me who I am today and have given me qualities that I use whilst working in the veterinary field.
Written by: Michaela Nee-Chambers
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