Joining the Veterinary Students Society of Victoria has helped offset Lachlan's stress from his studies

My name is Lachlan Pollock and I am a third year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) student at the University of Melbourne. As a local student, I think I under-utilised the student clubs that were available at the university during my undergraduate degree due to my existing friends in Melbourne. Going into the DVM, I decided I would use this opportunity to become more involved and expand my social circle through the Veterinary Students Society of Victoria (VSSV).

The VSSV acts as a student union and social club for the DVM cohort. They support students from their early uni days at orientation week, right up until their last event as a DVM student (Graduation Dinner). The society offers an opportunity to socialise with members of your cohort and the profession, as well as interacting with the faculty to improve the course. There are two committees (a Parkville committee and a Werribee committee) who run events throughout the year.

"So Fresh” themed BBQ and drinks held at the vet school

Since my first year in the course, I have attended many different VSSV events. These events helped me to make friends within the cohort, as well as stimulate my own ideas for what the club can provide. As I approached my second year, I decided to run for President of the Parkville committee and was successful. This opened a lot of opportunities for me to run and organise events that I thought would benefit the rest of the cohort. As well as this, the committee provided me with an opportunity to improve me interpersonal skills - a useful skill as a practicing clinician.

At the Halfway Dinner 2016 – A dinner to celebrate the halfway point of our degree

My main aim when running for the committee was to provide an outlet for the stress that comes along with vet school. Using my own mental health experiences, I have sought to provide high-quality events and educational activities that can help make the hours of studying a little less strenuous. I have also been part of a new mentor program that helps to take out some of the stigma of vet school by pairing students from different year levels to help offer tips and strategies to deal with the workload.

On my first placement – Donkey Shelter in Northern Victoria

Now that I’m in third year and based at the Werribee campus – I’ve become a member of the new VSSV Werribee committee. We are trying to implement new initiatives to offer higher quality events and more educational opportunities as students approach their clinical years. We are hoping that more guest lecturers, first aid workshops and exam tips will add value to the club and help everyone better veterinarians in the process. This will be supported by events such as Industry Night and Vet Dinner, which offer students a chance to network with veterinarians from varying fields.

In the future, I hope that students will seek the maximum benefit out of the club as I have during my course. I believe that if you take full advantage of the opportunities presented to you (whether they be social or educational), you can make vet school less stressful and maybe just help some others in the course along the way.

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