On my graduation day, almost exactly a year ago, there was a great sense of sadness; I was leaving the RVC, the place that I had called home for the last 5 years, and more importantly I was leaving my friends! I knew it would be hard, but I was also excited to get out there and actually be a vet!
I found myself at a mixed practice here in Kent, praising God to have found one so close to my hometown of London. Luckily for me there were three of us starting at the same time, the other two having done internships, but all of us new to general practice. This was great in terms of us supporting each other, but must have been a bit of a trial for the other 7 vets! They have been very good to us and I count myself lucky to have found such a supportive practice where I feel like a part of the family.
After getting myself accommodated, my next priority was to find a church and get to know some people in the area. Ali was already on the case and set me up with some contacts in the local area and from that we have had 2 Kent Regional meetings this year. On the church search front, I had a little more difficulty. I find myself in a relatively small town and while I found some nice churches I was really looking for somewhere with some others in the same age group. What with travelling to and fro from London, being on call, and getting through around 6 churches in 3 different towns, I have finally found somewhere I feel at home and have made some great friends already (even been roped into serving with the youth group!). So it all worked out in the end. For those starting the search this year, take courage if it’s taking longer than you anticipated!
One of the highlights of the year was the VCF conference. For me it was just the sense that people understood exactly what you were going through. Hearing others’ stories from practice – everything from the technical aspects, to relationships with colleagues, trying to live your faith out at work, struggling with long hours – they’ve all been there. I just found that so encouraging, and loved meeting up with old friends from the RVC CU and making new ones.
Just this week we have taken on another new graduate, which I suppose marks the end of an era for me of being ‘the new graduate’ in the practice. Reflecting back, I realise how much I actually have learnt, and pleasantly surprise myself when I realise I do know what I’m doing! (Not all the time, mind.) Not only that but I remember all the ways God has been good to me over the past year, which is more encouraging than anything. I have a lot still to learn but I am looking forward to many more years in practice. Good luck to all of you starting out this year!