It is a truth universally acknowledged that Guildford, Surrey, is the home of Fitzpatrick Referrals, and the UK’s very own Supervet, Noel Fitzpatrick. And today was the day we would finally be able to meet the man himself.
The drive was short, luckily, but upon arrivel we were told there had been an emergency that morning. This shattered the schedule into pieces, forcing us to endure a long wait until Noel could be with us. We toured the amazing facilities, including the Toshiba Aquilion 160 slice CT Scanners, one of the best in Europe.
Our tour ended with a picnic on the field. As we were finishing our food, Noel arrived. Hobbling along with a cast on his foot, it was the first time he’d been outside at lunchtime in months. Known for his dedication to his work, Noel often sleeps overnight at his practice and can be found on duty at all hours of the day.
He ate his breakfast while our Ambassadors explained that we were prospective vet students. Then he proceeded to give us some very important words of advice: “Don’t let anyone, ever, tell you that something’s impossible.” This is your life. You are in charge. Not your parents, not your friends. If you did something wrong, it was because you chose to be influenced by other people. And don’t become a vet unless you really want it. If you’re interested in medicine, become a doctor. If you’re into science, do a science degree. Being a vet is one of the most important careers in the world, but it’s useless if your heart’s not in it.
Those words will stick with me, and I agree wholeheartedly with everything Noel said. He went on to talk about how his motivations are caring for animals and humans, and that it’s crucial not to be swayed by money or posessions. He prides himself in this ideal, frustrated that he was forced to star on TV just to get his voice heard. But he won’t let his new found stardom sway him from his goal: One Health – for animals, humans, and the environment.
Dazzled from Noel’s inspiring speech, we made our way back to the University Campus to attend a Clinical Skills workshop. Here we practised bandaging dogs’ paws, listening to their heartbeat, and taking each other’s blood pressures. All of these skills are essential for vets, and a lot of time over the years at University will be spent perfecting them.
The evening was spent by the lake, enjoying a BBQ and games night. We also participated in a pub quiz event, split into groups according to our E-mentor (a program set up by Surrey which will run until after the UCAS deadline).
Once it was too dark to see, we headed back to our flats where I introduced my new friends to a card game that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. Simple in concept, it plays like Uno except you don’t know what the rules are – you have to work them out. It left us all in tears of laughter, forging a bond between us.