Student profile
Uma Selvon, BVMSci (Hons) Veterinary Medicine and Science

Uma Selvon

"On my EMS, I got to perform a lump removal, calculating and drawing up drugs, placing an IV, and inducing and intubating the patient – I felt like a real vet!"

Why I chose Surrey

I know it sounds cliché, but I’ve always really loved animals. I’d grown up watching vets on TV and had in-person interactions with them with my own pets and thought what they did was incredible. I wanted to be like them. I’ve always wanted a career where I could see or do something different every day. I wanted to make a difference to people’s lives - something different to an office environment. And that’s what veterinary medicine is for me.

I chose Surrey for a variety of reasons:

  • The new facilities
  • The different programme structure incorporating intramural rotations with external partners
  • The great transport connections to London for days out and visiting friends
  • The option to share halls with non-vet students
  • Proximity to home.

My course

I really like the small teaching groups and practical class sizes on my BVMSci (Hons) Veterinary Medicine and Science course. The small groups allow me to get loads of hands-on practical experience and one-to-one time with supervisors if I’ve got any questions or need help. Having different people in my group every year, and occasionally for each module, means I get to meet new peers and work with people that I wouldn’t have ordinarily had the opportunity to. I’m going into my final year now and there’s people in my rotation groups I haven’t worked with before!

The teaching staff are really nice, extremely knowledgeable and so helpful. They’re also patient in practical classes. If you’re struggling to get something, they’ll make sure you’ll achieve and understand it before you leave. They love to have a good laugh with us, and they can even be seen at some of our student society social events.

The clinical skills facilities are awesome and incredibly helpful to practise in, before experiencing real-life scenarios!

My extramural studies (EMS)

I’ve done quite a few EMS placements with different organisations. I’ve done lambing and dairy husbandry placements, as well as helping on a livery yard, at a dog groomer’s and at a wildlife charity hospital. For my clinical EMS, I’ve gone to an exotics practice, Westpoint Farm Vets, several equine practices and have recently started regularly going to my local Medivet.

Throughout these, I’ve done a lot of shadowing on consults and scrubbing into surgeries. These have allowed me to practise restraint, gain an understanding of what’s ‘normal’ and prepare for my clinical exams. I’ve been able to apply a lot of different clinical skills across various species too, such as blood sampling, castrations, dentals and vaccinations!

There’s at least one experience from every placement that stays with me. My most recent highlight was from my last small animal placement. The vet was great at getting me involved in operations. We had a lump removal come in, and while I thought I was just going to observe the whole procedure, she had me calculating and drawing up the drugs, placing the IV, inducing and intubating – and then talked me through how she wanted me to excise the lump for lab analysis, while she observed. I even got to discharge the patient. It was awesome and gave me so much confidence in my abilities – I felt like a real vet!

My life at Surrey

I lived in halls of residence on Stag Hill during my first year. I was nervous at first, as I was sharing with 13 other people, but everything worked out fine and we’re still good friends now! It was great meeting new people and meant I had lots to talk about with peers from my course.

The social life at Surrey is great, especially if you’re part of a society or sports club. I’m part of VetSoc, the University’s Veterinary Society. They:

  • Regularly organise social events, including the much-loved yearly vet balls and student day at Ascot (absolute musts for the vet experience!)
  • Have their own sports teams
  • Put on extracurricular talks.

My career and development

Surrey has helped me become more confident in myself, and I don’t doubt what I’m saying or doing as often (although the Imposter Syndrome hasn’t fully gone yet!) I’m not nervous anymore when public speaking – something that I’m eternally grateful for. In other areas, I’ve grown gradually and naturally. I just know that I like who I am now, more than ever.

I’m still deciding what area to go into when I qualify – I’m almost hoping for an epiphany when I’m on intramural rotations (IMR)! For now, I think I’ll get a graduate job in a small animal practice and then see where I go from there. The opportunities are endless, and I often like to go wherever one presents itself. I’d love to do some volunteering abroad, working with charity programmes to neuter street dogs, as this quite close to home for me.

My advice

  • Take your time deciding if this is what you want to do – there’s no rush! There are people on of all ages on the course. You’ll get there when you’re ready.
  • If you get an offer, make sure you enjoy your summer before uni! There’s no need to do any pre-reading or panic, everyone’s beginning at the starting line as you.

Find out more about our veterinary medicine and science course

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