Vet school hasn't been the easiest journey for Qiao Yoke, but it certainly has been a fulfilling one

Hey everyone! I’m Qiao Yoke from Singapore and I moved to Melbourne in July 2013. I am currently a 3rd year student in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program at University of Melbourne.

As a veterinary student, I am most frequently asked, “Why do you want to be a vet?”. It is actually pretty hard to explain something you have wanted so badly since you were young! Of course it stems from the love for animals as a child. As I grew older, I observed the complex interactions between humans and animals, that we rely on them as much as they do on us. I realised that I want to play a part in preserving and enriching this bond, while encouraging better animal welfare at the same time.

I completed a Bachelor of Science (majoring in Animal Health and Disease) at the University of Melbourne and entered the DVM via the accelerated pathway. This means that I will be a certified veterinarian in 6 years instead of 7. In short, I applied for the DVM course in the 2nd year of my undergraduate degree and upon receiving my acceptance, I started taking DVM subjects in my 3rd year. After graduating in 2015, I was enrolled into the DVM course as a 2nd year postgraduate student.

Graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree, hurray!

The first 2 years of the course was largely spent at the Parkville campus where classes are organised by body systems and focused on physiology, anatomy and pathology. The highlight of these 2 years was definitely the pre-clinical placements that we had to complete as part of the course, with the aim of understanding the role of veterinarians in different industries.

Halfway Dinner 2016 – marks the completion of 2 years of the 4 year long DVM course

As I was born in a densely populated city, I was excited to travel out into the rural countryside and explore Australia! It was also an extremely rewarding cultural experience as I was kindly hosted by farmers who were generous in sharing their knowledge and skills. The third and fourth years are then mostly spent at the Werribee campus where we learn to apply our knowledge in clinical settings such as diagnosing and treating diseases.

On placement with a wildlife carer – playing with joeys and baby wombats!

While I admit that there is a fair bit of theory to get through, vet school is not all about the books! The Veterinary Science Students of Victoria (VSSV) is the main student body representing members across all year levels of the DVM program. I have been part of the committee for the last 2 years and we organise events throughout the year to allow students to relax and mingle with other year levels.

I also run the Students of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (SVECCS) where my committee helps to organise lectures and workshops for the class to learn material beyond our syllabus. I also volunteer at the university’s equine hospital and emergency hospital where I get the opportunity to observe and learn in real life situations outside class hours.

Vet school is not the easiest journey but it will be a very fulfilling one. Aside from the medical knowledge and skills, the friendships I have forged in these 6 years will be my most precious takeaway when I eventually leave this city.

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