John Moran Educational - Trust Making financial awards to support the entry into higher education
Student Profiles

The Trust has made awards to over forty two deserving students from the Merseyside region since it was set up in 2003. Here’s more about what these students did with their awards, and what it meant to them:

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Profile thirty

I am an 18 year old student from single parent family in Liverpool who has just finished studying for my A-levels in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths at Archbishop Blanch.

It has been my ambition from when I was young to be a vet so when the offer from the Royal Veterinary College came through I couldn’t refuse the opportunity even if it did mean living away from home.

Applying for a veterinary medicine course was stressful; first there was the early deadline date for the dreaded ucas system, then came all the rejections from the 3 other university’s I had a applied for but then finally I received an email inviting me for an interview at the Royal Veterinary college for the Veterinary Gateway Programme. The interview was a nerve racking experience and I thought I had blown the opportunity once I’d left the interview room, but luckily enough I achieved my place.

Due to the competitive nature of gaining a place on a veterinary medicine course I have spent the past few years gaining work experience in a of variety fields related to veterinary medicine, whether it’s been on a cold dairy farm or in a nice warm practice I have enjoyed them all.  However the work experience which I enjoyed the most has to be the week I spent at the small animal hospital in Cheshire, this is because I was able to watch complex surgical procedures which I thoroughly enjoyed.

In my spare time I am dedicated member of the girl’s brigade and have since become an advanced young leader there. I am also currently starting preparations for my duke of Edinburgh. I have also achieved grade 2 piano and grade 4 saxophone through music lessons in my school.

In the future after I graduate I would love to my own veterinary practice, I will continue to strive for this dream as I am a highly ambitious person and I will not give up until I succeed.

Studying for veterinary medicine however does come with its financial implications as it is a 6 year course which is why I can’t thank the John Moran trust enough for giving me this award. The award which I have been given will go towards accommodation costs which come at a high price when living in London so I’d like to take this opportunity to say thanks again to all the John Moran trustees for making such a difference to the beginning of my university life. Thank you.

My first year at has been full of new experiences which I have thoroughly enjoyed from lectures to living in a different city. Initially before starting I was nervous about moving to London but now looking back it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

September was a month of firsts; making new friends, living on my own and the beginning of lectures. After Fresher’s week (which was an experience in itself) I was really looking forward to the start of lectures as this is what I had been working towards for the past 2 years. During the first term we studied three modules which were Animal Locomotion, Evolution and The Living Cell. Animal locomotion was my favourite module of the term as it compared anatomy with function.

Also during first term we had our first project which was to create an A0 poster to present to lecturers in pairs on a topic of our choice. My chosen topic was Mitral Valve disease in King Charles Spaniels. I chose this topic as I have always had a keen interest in cardiology and have owned King Charles Spaniels all my life. My final mark on the project was 95%. An initial practical assessment was carried out during first term to assess how confident we were handling a range of animals in which I passed. This assessment was then followed up with another practical in term three but this time the focus was mainly on rodents, which I again passed. Finally at the end of the first term was our first written exam which was a combination of three papers. The exam was worth 10% of our year so I was relieved once I had learned that I had passed.

Second term then consisted of a further 3 modules Inheritance, Reproduction & Development, Animal Husbandry and Basic concepts in immunology. Animal Husbandry was the most enjoyable module as it mainly consisted of practical classes at our Hawkshead campus. The practical classes proved vital whilst on placements as they taught me a great deal about handling and approaching animals and what behavioural patterns to look out for.

During third term which covered parasitology I had two further assessments; a report on my lambing placement and a research paper on Endocrinology. In both these assignments I gained a pass with merit. I enjoyed the Endocrinology paper as I had never studied this topic area before.

My final year exams were the most nerve wracking exams as it made me realise just how much I want to be a vet. Fortunately I passed all three papers and my final year mark was 62% which I was thrilled about.

Placements form an essential component of my course and I have undertaken three this year: Lambing, RSPCA and Pig Farming.

My lambing placement took place over Easter for two weeks; one week on day shifts and the other on night shifts. Lambing was a very hectic and hands on placement with always something to do. As this was my first time on a farming placement I learnt a great deal not just about animal care but the business and financial aspects in keeping animals.

At the beginning of summer whilst still in London I worked at the RSPCA shelter for cats for two weeks. I enjoyed this placement the most as I got to work with a veterinary surgeon for two days a week. I was even allowed to carry out routine vaccinations and assist in theatre.

After my RSPCA placement I went to Sheffield for a two week placement on a pig farm. I surprised myself and really enjoyed this placement. During the two weeks I found out how stubborn and heavy pigs actually are and how to combat this in a safe way, not only for the animals but for the people involved as well. It also taught me about production cycles in the meat production industry.

Overall I have thoroughly enjoyed my first year at the Royal Veterinary College and I can’t wait to go back next month. I am particularly looking forward to next year as it will be my first year on the VetMed course having successfully completed my gateway year.

I felt so much more relaxed entering my second year at the Royal Veterinary College as by then I was used to being away from home and looking forward to seeing my new friends again.

During first term we focused on a separate body system each week e.g. neurology and cardiovascular. The idea behind this was that we gain an overview of how each system should normally work. These modules were taught through lectures, group learning and dissections. The module that fascinated me the most was Cardio as this is what I aim to specialise in. We had two assessments in first term. The first was a problem-solving exam in which I scored 80% and the second was an integrated concepts essay. My essay was focused around Kisspeptins and the roles they have on fertility treatments and breeding patterns. I enjoyed writing this essay as I had done a similar research project the previous year so I was able to draw on my previous knowledge to come up with ideas.

Second term is where the bulk of this year’s content came from and the workload soon began to increase quickly. It was mainly formed of the gastrointestinal module. Before this strand I never realised just how many species differences there were and it took a while for me to get my head round them. We also began our introduction to the infection and immunity strand, which will continue next year. At the end of this term there was a multiple-choice exam where I managed 60%.

My final term mainly consisted of my neurology module, which I felt was the most complicated. I was also nervous about the fact that this was the first and only time we would cover neurology before rotations so I was keen to get a good grasp and understanding on the module. We were also introduced to parasitology, I never realised just how many parasites there are and unfortunately I have to try and remember them all in Latin, which should be fun.

After all the teaching came the exam period, which every year turns out to be the most stressful three weeks. This year I had to take an oral exam which was a new experience for me and definitely the most nerve wracking, as I dislike talking in front of people in a formal situation. Fortunately I passed all five exams and my overall pass mark for the year was 61%, which I was thrilled about.

Placements also continued this year and I carried out two this year: RSPCA and Dairy. My dairy farm placement took place during my Easter break. I returned to the same farm where I had conducted my work experience in order to try and get into vet school. A working day on the farm was very busy and was a way of life that I never really understood or appreciated until my placement. During the morning of our shifts we were left in charge of feeding around two hundred calves followed by cleaning down the yards and beds whilst the cows were in the milking parlour. In the afternoons we were allowed to go into the parlour and help with milking where I was shocked to learn how long it takes for one milking session. Also during my time on the farm I was allowed two separate days with the vet and foot trimmer. This taught me a great deal about bovine medicine and allowed me to have a more hands on approach with the animals. Overall I really enjoyed this placement apart from the two snow days when everything froze, including my feet!

Next year is apparently the hardest year before my final rotation year so I am looking forward to the challenge with a tinge of trepidation. I also have to write another research project next year centred round data that I have collected off one of my placements. I will hopefully be doing mine on the difference in weaning rates between pigs kept indoors and those kept outside.

The previous year marked my last year of my pre-clinical studies of Veterinary Medicine at the RVC. The first term was focused around re-visiting a system strand such as renal, cardiology etc. each week to build upon the knowledge of the previous years whilst adding a clinical relevance to each topic. This would begin to aid our transition into clinical years next year.  During the term we also started the beginning of our studies surrounding different medicines and vaccinations that will now continue throughout the next three years.  At the end of term there was a multiple choice styled examination paper that I passed.

During second term we moved onto studying the locomotor system of both canines and equines. Each week focused on either the hindlimb or forelimb of both species and was accompanied by a dissection to learn the muscles, nerves and blood supplies.  Also during second term I had to write a research report about a topic of my choice.  I chose to write mine on rehoming rates of different species of cats from an RSPCA shelter in central London.  The report was used to assess our statistical skills and scientific writing.  At the end of the term there was a communication skills module, which was aimed to improve our skills that we would need during a consult.  During the week actors were brought in and in small groups we ran through various scenarios, which may arise during general practice.

The third and final term of the year was focused around disease and agents which cause them. This module involved learning lists upon lists of parasites and toxins, which soon began to all roll into one, and was extremely hard to remember.  As always in third term it ended with the exam period.  This year there were five papers including an oral exam.  I was so relieved when I found out that I had passed them all.

This year I also did three weeks placement at a local riding school, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  During my time at the riding school I learnt about stable management, routine treatment of horses, grooming, tack care and also got the opportunity to observe a farrier.  I also got the opportunity to ride whilst on placement which I relished and I have now taken up horse riding whilst in London.

This forthcoming academic year as previously mentioned starts the beginning of our clinical years, which I am really looking forward to and can’t wait to get started.  I also move to a new campus this year which is located in Hertfordshire. It will be extremely different living in the countryside compared to living in the hustle and bustle of central London.  I have placements lined up next year at local veterinary practices and an equine hospital in Cheshire, so it should be good to finally put the last three years into practice.

This year was the start of our clinical years and a move out to our other campus in Hertfordshire. It was great to finally start the clinical years as it put the past three years into prospective and reminded me why I wanted to be a vet in the first place.

We have covered each body system that we did last year in the same system-by-system approach but this year with a clinical prospective, with practical classes in place for relevant experience in clinical procedures, which have been fun yet challenging at the same time.

During the Easter break I carried out my first clinical placement (EMS) at a local veterinary surgery. This was by far the most daunting experience of my time so far at university but also one that I was keen to get started on. I thoroughly enjoyed my three weeks at the surgery and came away wondering why I was so nervous to begin within. I gained so much valuable practical experience and was even allowed to help carry out routine surgery which I thrived on. The placement has certainly given me the drive and motivation for the next two years of my course, and I couldn’t wait to get back into the veterinary surgeries for my next placements over summer.

On return to university after the Easter break we had our end of year exams. This years’ exams took on a different format compared to previous years but I am happy to say that I passed each paper and scored 57% overall. We also had an animal-handling exam during November, which I passed in each species. Having passed all these exams I am able to move onto the next year, which we started straight after the exams.

After summer term had finished we then had to carry out further 10 weeks of EMS placements at veterinary surgeries. While on placement I got to practice my surgical and practical skills whilst putting my knowledge into practise and building upon this with the guidance of veterinary mentors. All of my placements were at small animal practices.  However, next year I will be at both large animal and equine practices which will be a new challenge for me.

This year started with our last remaining clinical lectures, which ended in November. These lectures covered topics such as haematology, renal diseases and public health. I really enjoyed these lectures but it was great to finally finish 5 years of teaching before rotations. Following these lectures just before Christmas we had a set of written exams and a mock practical exam covering a range of skill sets, which I am relieved to say that I passed.

After Christmas we started our pre-rotational teaching. Rotations cover a variety of disciplines across all species, which we have to pass on a week/fortnightly basis. Rotations have included orthopaedic surgery, small animal medicine, anaesthesia and equine out-of-hours to name a few of them. We are also able to choose 6 weeks of our chosen disciplines to specialise in further. I chose neurology and cardiology as I hope to specialise in the future in one of these two. From February onwards till graduation next year we are constantly on clinics and placements which is fantastic as I really enjoy being out of the lecture theatre and hands-on.

Initially being on clinics in the university’s referral hospital was a daunting experience but after the first week I soon settled in and so far I am really enjoying it. I’m hoping to be a small animal vet so farm and equine rotations are proving the hardest to adapt to, but I am determine to get the most out of all aspects of the course.

I am also half way through writing my dissertation at the moment, which is focusing on a common cardiac disease found in larger breed dogs. At present I have started my application to present my findings of this project to a conference aimed at hundreds of vets, this will be a new challenge for me but one, which I hope I will enjoy, and gain a lot from.

My final year this year seems to have come round quickly after six years at the RVC so I am determined to make the most of my last year here. The rest of this year comprises the rest of my rotations, further placements and finals. If all goes according to plan I will finally achieve my dream and be a veterinary surgeon on the 5th July 2017.

Once again thank you very much for your continued support I really appreciate it.