Featured ‘Day in the life of’: Steph, a 4th year veterinary student.

Hello everyone! I’m Steph and I’m a 4th year veterinary student in Australia. As you can imagine, my life currently revolves around animals, and when I’m not studying at university, I’m working at my local vet hospital, volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation centre, or teaching pig handling at the university farm. I’m currently working on a research project as part of my degree, studying a virus found in bobtail lizards, a species of skink native to Australia. I also write a blog of my vet school adventures (vet student down under), both as a journal for myself, and to share my experiences with others. I inherited the travel gene from my family, so whenever I have time and money to spare, I find an excuse to jump on a plane and explore a new destination off the beaten track.
Exam time is fast approaching, which means I’m spending less time in the lecture theatre and more time at home with my head buried in a book. I hope you’ll enjoy this little taste of a vet student’s life.


9:48am I had a slow start to the day as a result of my nocturnal study habits. I tend to work more efficiently late at night when the rest of the city sleeps and leaves me to the company of my own thoughts. After a strong wake-up coffee, I set to work polishing off an assignment that’s due in a couple of days.


10:34am: My research project involves analysing blood samples from wild bobtail lizards with clinical signs of a viral infection known as ‘bobtail flu’. This means making daily phone calls to wildlife hospitals to check on the number of new admissions and determine whether they fit the bobtail flu description. Today there are no suitable bobtails for me to sample, which is probably a good thing considering how much study I have to do!


12:05pm Ok, I may be dedicating my life to animals, but that’s not to say I don’t have a healthy appreciation for other life forms. I guess botany is a bit of a side interest of mine and I hope I have time to pursue it in the future. So much love for my new chain of hearts.


1:02pm: I got carried away revising my notes on equine dentistry and suddenly realised I had somewhere to be. No time for lunch (what else is new) so a snack for the road will have to do.


1:21pm: I arrived at the university farm, changed into those classic green vet overalls and booted up! I’m headed for the piggery where I’ll be teaching first year vet students the basics of pig handling (aka pig whispering 101). Unfortunately (and much to my annoyance) the university has a strict photo policy, so I’m not able to share any photos of the pigs. Essentially we teach the students how to position the piglets for various procedures, and how to efficiently move and handle the grown pigs.


4:45pm After three hours of piglet wrestling, we’re knackered! Today is our final class after two years of demonstrating together, so we snapped a team photo to commemorate. We managed to stay unusually presentable today. Most days we end up drenched in sweat and covered in pig poo. It’s not exactly classy work!


5:29pm I arrived home and checked on my own bobtail lizards before dark. I have a breeding pair and their two young that live in an enclosure in my backyard. You need a licence to keep them, but they make fantastic pets and are very low-maintenance. Not to mention extremely cute (just look at that tiny foot!).


6:27pm: After dinner, I sat down and tried to organise my timetable for 2018. I have to somehow fit in more weeks of rotations and placements than there are weeks in the year. I’m also planning on heading to India to volunteer with an animal charity, which I am super excited for!


7:45pm Now the real studying begins! With six exams coming up, it’s hard to know where to begin. These exams will include questions on equine ophthalmology, ferret nutrition, orthopaedic surgery, and just about everything you can imagine in between.


12:02am At midnight I decide to call it quits. I like to wind down with a book or a TV show before going to sleep, and tonight I’m conforming to embarrassing stereotypes and reading James Herriot.



I hope you all enjoyed getting a glimpse into Steph’s day- don’t forget to check out her Instagram (here)

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