Be a Conference King or Queen

student-sleeping-on-books-300x2001At this time of year hundreds of prospective young vets converge on the campus at Nottingham University for a week of lectures aimed at providing some insight into veterinary and what being a vet may well entail. It is an event that I have personally been to for many years in a row, both lecturing on a range of subjects, from Life as a Vet Student to Cancer in Animals, and The Importance of Taking a Good History, one of my favourite sessions, and in my capacity as an independent source of advice and guidance on vet careers and vet school. My first book, Vet School, had it’s launch in Nottingham back in 2009, and I have been back each year since. This year I return once again to speak with you all and to be on hand to provide advice, much of which is also immortalised in my new book, Vet School Success, which is exclusively available this week. But what advice is there for getting the best out of the week itself. Well, I thought it would be helpful to offer some Top Tips to Vet Lectures:

  1. Have FUN – it is a looooooong week and you’ll be tired by the end of it, but hopefully enthused and energised to start the new year full of enthusiasm to set you off towards vet school. Make sure to really enjoy your time here.
  2. Make FRIENDS – you may have come with friends already or, like most, on your own. Remember, if you’re feeling nervous and shy then its certain that many others are feeling the same. Be the one to break the ice – say hi; the rest is easy. You’re likely to see many of the people here this week at other points on your journey, from vet school open days to interviews, so get to know them now. With so many social networking options, linking up and staying in touch is simple so get going with expanding your social network.
  3. Remember: at vet school you will NOT have lectures until 10pm! Many students slump back to their halls bleary eyed at the end of a long day of lectures fretting about how they’ll cope with actual vet school. Your vet school day is likely to end at about 5pm (ie normal, sane time) and so this week is not representative of an actual lecture schedule at vet school. I am sure the main reason the organisers keep you in lectures so late is to lessen the chances of you all feeling inspired and energetic enough to head out into town for a night out 🙂
  4. Take SOME notes. Many of the lecturers will be happy to send you copies of their lectures and would rather you sat and really listened and absorbed their sage words of wisdom, as opposed to frantically trying to tattoo pieces of dead tree. You’ll probably find you remember and enjoy the lectures more by just relaxing, sitting back and really focusing on what the speakers are saying. By all means, take some notes, but don’t feel its compulsory to produce a detailed transcript of the entire talk.
  5. Stay well HYDRATED and fed. Your brains will be on overdrive for the week and will be screaming out for sustenance. As tempting, and available, as it is, try not to overdo the sugar, caffeine and poison that is energy drinks – all that will happen is that you’ll be sat their by 7pm buzzing and bouncing like a hyperactive puppy who needs but hasn’t taken their Ritalin.
  6. Ask QUESTIONS. The speakers love to be asked questions – it’s why they do what they do. If you’re thinking it then chances are that everyone else in the room is also thinking it so go ahead, do them all a favour and ask your question.
  7. Have FUN. Oh, I did that one. Still, it’s worth repeating 🙂

There you have it, a guide to getting the best out of your lectures this week. Take it easy.

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