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One Step at a Time: My Veterinary Journey So Far

Updated: Feb 1, 2021

I've always loved horses, however I'd never ridden one and learnt how to ride. During one of my work experience placements, I was allowed to ride one of the horses with someone leading me!

It was actually human medicine that pushed me to take the first few steps of my veterinary journey. I truly loved my ‘human’ medical work experience! I was so inspired by how doctors use logic to make potentially life-changing decisions as well as their communicative and professional skills to build patient trust. However, I felt unfulfilled – something was missing.

Visiting the zoo as a young child sparked my curiosity for exotic animals, and it was my ideal day out! I always used to drag my family along to Woburn Safari Park.

Like many in the veterinary field, I was always intrigued by animal behaviour and their interaction with humans. This was something I wanted to explore further, so I organised some work experience. I struggled to find placements, and my school wasn’t as experienced with animal-based career applications. But after countless emails, phone calls, and asking my (amazing) mum to drive me around to vet practices and farms, I managed to organise some. Every experience drew me closer to veterinary medicine. I understood the veterinary field has a variety of pathways alongside a combination of science, problem-solving, and communication. I also realised that interacting with both animals and humans was fundamental to veterinary medicine. I felt fulfilled; this was the missing piece!

My lambing placement was my favourite work experience placement, I really enjoyed it. This was taken the first time I assisted with lambing. I had just pulled out the lamb and was trying to encourage her to start breathing.

Something I noticed during my work experience was a lack of ethnic representation within the veterinary profession. When I received an offer from the RVC, I was told I was the first person in my very large family going into an animal-based career. Admittedly, this made me a bit nervous! However, meeting others from similar backgrounds and positions has inspired me, and I’ve gained a sense of belonging. Seeing someone that looks like you, succeeding in a career that you aspire to be a part of, is incredibly motivating. If they can do it, then so can I. I want to contribute to this driving force of change.

Handling a Harris's hawk, aged 13

Journeys are not always clear straight paths, there are often dips and bends. One challenge I faced was being involved in a car accident during my first year of A levels. Despite this affecting both my physical and mental health, I was still determined to complete my work experience and apply for vet school. I realised that although I couldn’t control unpredictable events, I could control my reactions to them and set goals. This helped me stay focused, and taught me that it is possible to learn, reflect and adapt to situations. A big lesson I’ve learnt is that it’s ok to reach out to ask for help - it doesn’t make you incapable or weak. Talking to others has allowed me to put things into perspective. I’ve been able to develop my coping mechanisms by changing how I think about certain events and what they’ve taught me. Although they may initially feel like major setbacks, it is possible to move forward and fulfil your ambitions.

Written by: Zara Flora Disclaimer: We at Animal Aspirations pride ourselves as being an educational platform. We want people to formulate their own opinions, as well as respect the opinions of others. We kindly ask that you adhere to this message to help create a safe space for expression and starting conversations, for the benefit of everyone using this platform. Any discussion deemed to be offensive has the right to be removed by the Animal Aspirations team.


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