You may think vet students are keen, eager and academic but throw an early start into the mix and 50% attendance is optimistic. So what is it about the Repro module that makes vets tick?
I can tell you right now. It’s down-right, simple, puerile humour.
Yes, we are scientific and yes, the word ‘erection’ still makes us laugh. It’s ‘penis’ this and ‘vagina’ that and lecture notes that resemble soft porn. We’ve dissected a testicle and prodded ovaries. Spirits are at an all time high.
I make it sound like vet students are a bunch of immature 12-year-olds in the school playground finding out what ‘intercourse’ is for the first time. But of course, when it comes to seriously discussing reproductive issue in exams or a clinical setting, we can put our Science hat on. It’s just that reproduction week offers a good chance to have a laugh about out work. Veterinary Medicine, quite rightly, is not renowned for its humorous content. It’s a damn hard slog full of disease and pharmacology and welfare and these are not laughing matters.
It’s a much joked about topic among students that the veterinary profession has a notoriously high suicide rate. The gruelling truth, though, is that this job is a stressful one. We have to euthanize animals and break people’s hearts on a weekly basis; in the case of epidemics, such as the Foot and Mouth Disease breakout in 2001, thousands of farmers’ lives were torn apart by the loss of their entire flock and livelihood – and it was vets who had to oversee this. Veterinary Record reports that “veterinary surgeons are four times as likely as the general public… to die by suicide as opposed to other causes”. So how can this be combated?
Veterinary institutions work with students to help us learn to deal with the stress placed upon us by our future profession, and this is indubitably of great benefit. But what greater cure to torment can there be than laughter? It may seem ridiculous and childish for a room of adults to be breaking down in fits of giggles at the mere mention of copulation, but for vets, seeing the light side of life is essential.
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