Name: James Bladon
University: University of Liverpool
What did you intercalate in and where: BSc Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Liverpool
When did you intercalate: Between 3rd and 4th Year
Why did you choose to intercalate?
After three years of the vet course, I wanted a change, so an intercalation seemed like the perfect opportunity to study something different and experience something new. The subject of evolutionary anthropology couldn’t be further from Veterinary science, and the choice was deliberate. I’d always been interested in the subject after traveling to several places (mainly in Africa) that have been closely linked with the evolution of humans, and wanted some formal teaching to complement the books I’d read. Intercalation also gave me the opportunity to meet a completely new group of students and staff. We all know how much of a clique vet school can be, and it was great to get a break from that for a while. Intercalating also got me an extra degree for only a year of studying, which in today’s competitive careers market seemed like a no-brainer.
What were the best aspects of your intercalation year?
The Veterinary course is one of the most intense and time-consuming of those available at University. Coming from this environment, I had much more free time than I expected in my intercalation year. This accumulated to make me feel very fresh coming back onto the vet course, and despite this it really didn’t take long to get back up to speed with the knowledge I’d accumulated in the preclinical years. The subjects I studied, such as bipedalism, intelligence, tool making and fire building, were fascinating. My dissertation was on the domestication of the dog and the evidence behind it. The choice for dissertations is so flexible that I could choose something that is actually very relevant to Veterinary medicine.
Were there any downsides?
Many would consider leaving your year group behind a downside to intercalation. On the flip side, it means that you get to meet a whole new year group a year later! If you like meeting new people like me, then it’s easy to see why I would view this as a positive rather than a negative. It does mean an extra year at University and the fees and costs associated with that, but as I’ve already mentioned, it’s great value for money. Whilst you are young, what’s the difference in taking one year out to broaden your horizons and gain a fantastic qualification?
Would you recommend intercalation to others?
Most definitely, I have no regrets over intercalating. That said, I can see why it isn’t for everyone. You have to have the right mind-set if you are going to intercalate, and for some it isn’t the right option, either financially or personally.