Clare College Cambridge

Veterinary Medicine

Mary Flook

Comprehensive school, Lancashire


On coming to Cambridge , I had three ambitions. One, obviously, to get my degree in veterinary science, two to learn to speak another language fluently, and three to learn to play the French Horn. Now I'm actually a first-year veterinary student, and just about the only one of those I've done anything about is the degree!

This isn't because I spend my entire time working, but because there is so much going on here. Somehow I ended up rowing for my first two terms, and it looks like continuing this term. I realised too late that I'd joined the slightly mad group of people who think it's fun to get up at the crack of dawn and go messing about in boats. The French Horn wasn't quite such a random ambition as it may appear to be - I already play the violin, oboe and piano in varying degrees of awfulness, but sufficiently well to play in three orchestras a week, plus the Clare orchestra when I'm asked to. In actual fact, the orchestra was the reason I applied to Clare.

Last term I began jiu-jitsu, I'm now part of the college swimming team, and I've got myself involved in the cricket team. Despite the fact that I can't play cricket for toffee, I'm allowed to sit on the scorer's bench!

And I still manage to do some work. As a veterinary science student, it might be assumed that I want to be a vet, but actually, my main interest is in wild animals, and consequently my ideal job would be working as a researcher into diseases affecting them. A current example would be TB in badgers, which affects them because of the economical impact of TB on dairy and beef farmers. I would like to work for a conservation charity, such as the RSPB, with whom I've done several weeks voluntary work, and plan to do more, but it's more likely that I'll end up as a civil servant! The real reason I chose to try and enter this line of work through veterinary science was because of the job security available, as I could decide to go into practice (although it would have to be large animals, as I have an unhealthy dislike for cats!). And that's the beauty of a qualification such as the Vet MB, and the beauty of Cambridge is that it will give me the scientific grounding I need to try and be a scientist.