September - HELP, I'm so busy!
Entering my fifth year of university it would appear that the excitement of starting a new term and a new year hasn’t waned. I think September is one of my favourite months as it's a re-fresh, a new start, and I am also not afraid to admit that I'm still very excited about freshers week, for the fifth time! It's also a manically busy month which I'd barely noticed is actually already over…
Last week I visited Surrey university to talk to their freshers about AVS and what we do as an organisation - it was great to meet so many fresh, enthusiastic faces! Alongside hundreds of new freshers starting vet school, moving to a new city and finding their feet, there are also hundreds of new graduates starting out in their first jobs as vets. I'm not sure which is more daunting! Many have started already, whilst might be putting it off for a while longer, but good luck and best wishes to you all. Back in August I attended a meeting at the BVA to discuss the future direction of the 'Young Vet Network'. With improved communications, a young vet led structure and greater investment from the BVA the organisation will be relaunched at the beginning of next year. It should be of great support for those starting out as vets in a new area and if you would like to be involved in your local branch do get in touch with the BVA.
Earlier in September I was lucky enough to attend the BVA Members' Day in Edinburgh where the AGM takes place. An interesting debate unfolded at the council meeting on the BVA's (lack of) position on hunting with dogs; the main problem being the lack of evidence on either side. Despite some differences in opinion it was agreed that the BVA should have a position but that the wording must clearly recognise the lack of evidence. Member's day also includes the BVA presidential handover and this year Sean Wensley, a PDSA vet from Belfast has taken over from John Blackwell. In his inaugural speech Sean outlined the theme for his presidential year as "Vets in the human animal age", recognising the incredible impact humans have had on the planet and the other animals we share it with, in an extremely short geological time frame. There was also a preview screening of the 'Veterinary View' programme produced by BVA and ITN about the future of the profession, in which I feature representing the student view. I could only watch it through a squint for this reason, but it's definitely worth a watch!
September also saw the first meeting of the British Veterinary LGBT+ which I attended with Abbie, the AVS welfare rep, to find out what input we could have to help the group get established with students, in addition to professional vets. It was a great evening with a very positive atmosphere, although it was clear there is opportunity for more work in this area. AVS are hoping to include a few questions on how you feel the climate for diversity is at your vet school in the upcoming BVA/AVS survey, inspired by a similar survey done in the US.
October is set to be another busy month with a stream of meetings in which we'll be concocting our future plans to support, represent and engage all of you lot. Look out for the launch of our Student Welfare grant scheme in the next couple of weeks and final years let us know what you think about the RCVS's proposal to introduce Year One competencies. And one final plug for the RVC Global Health Society's event 'Neglect' on the 10th October; a fantastic chance to get involved in discussions and debates on neglected diseases and issues that require interdisciplinary action - I hope to see you there!