Wednesday 25th July 2012 was undoubtedly one of the most important days of my life – graduating as a fully qualified vet and being granted the privilege to put those twelve all-important letters after my name was an incredible feeling. Graduation carries a mix of emotions for most people – relief at passing finals; sadness at leaving behind the familiarity of university, the proximity of so many friends and the wonders of student life and all it entails; and elation at having finally made it, celebrating surrounded by proud family and friends. But I found that underneath it all, there was the fear. The fear of all that graduation really represents: the beginning of “real life” and the transition into becoming a responsible grown-up who has well-thought-out real-life plans. The proud family and friends all have one question on their lips: “What next?”
For most newly qualified vets, the answer is blindingly obvious. But after five years of immersing myself in all things veterinary, I had convinced myself that I deserved a well-earned break. Three unconventional interviews later, I was gladly signing away five months of my life to live and work a winter season in an Austrian ski resort. The only downside was the gaping hole left between Wednesday 25th July, and some yet-to-be-determined date in late November when a 20 hour coach journey is set to initiate me into the life of a seasonnaire.
So it was without hesitation that I replied to Nick Short’s email looking for new graduates to work with the RVC’s E-Media department for a couple of months over summer. In my initial meeting with Nick, we discussed WikiVet and student podcasts, and I provisionally agreed to take on one of these kinds of projects. However, a few months later I somehow found myself back at the Camden campus accepting a temporary position covering the BLE Officer role. I was delighted to have some purpose in life for that five-month gaping hole, despite the trepidation I felt in accepting a job which I didn’t really understand. I had spent five years using Blackboard at the RVC, completely ignorant of the concept of The Bloomsbury Colleges and without any need to learn to use Moodle, since my time as a student came to an end several months before Blackboard did.
I wasn’t left with much time to worry, since Sarah asked me to start as soon as possible, so I turned up in Camden the following week with absolutely no idea what to expect. After an invaluable, yet brief, crash-course from Yanna in all things Bloomsbury, Moodle and ULCC, the role of BLE Officer was handed over to me. I was soon finding my feet in my first ever office job: raising tickets, responding to emails and trying to find the sometimes delicate balance required to liaise between the colleges and ULCC. I’ve taken minutes at meetings, written reports and given tours to interviewees. And I’ve learned that it’s not essential to understand all the acronyms and technical terms, as long as you comprehend the gravity of any given situation - I may not always understand the emails I’m writing but I’d like to think I’ve mastered the art of giving the impression that I do!
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time covering the role of BLE Officer – I’ve managed to extend my time at the RVC for a little longer, worked in some of the colleges that I would otherwise never have set foot in and, best of all, worked with so many lovely people who I’m so grateful to for being wonderfully patient with me and my complete lack of technical knowledge!
Clare Downes BVetMed MRCVS ex-BLE Officer and soon-to-be Austrian Ski Seasonnaire