I come from a low-income family and live in a village where there isn’t much to do. Quite a lot of the people I’m surrounded with never really progressed onto further education and left school at a young age. However, I have always had the aspiration to study at university.

I applied as I wanted to get more insight into both Veterinary Medicine and the Royal Veterinary College. I initially felt very anxious about the Summer School being virtual. To my relief, Sutton Trust Online was really organised and easy to navigate. I had no issues with accessing or finding any of the content at all!

My other initial concern was about having to interact with complete strangers. However, the programme at the Royal Veterinary College allowed for lots of introductions. We were divided into small groups from the beginning of the week and always had a team leader to help encourage and guide us. In addition, there were lots of optional social events with no expectations that helped everyone to break the ice, relax and have fun.

In the Veterinary Medicine programme, we were incredibly lucky to be able to watch a swan dissection. It was something that I had thought I would never see, so it was such a highlight to be able to get that experience and discover something new.

I think the biggest thing that I gained was my own personal development. Taking part in all the projects and activities possible, I was able to develop many soft transferable skills and teamwork through a group project. I also learned to apply my knowledge in practical ways such as bandaging. And most of all, I was able to develop my confidence by contributing in our own ways over the course of the week.

Taking part in this programme has been the huge motivation boost that I needed. I felt rather discouraged and isolated in terms of pursuing my career path but being surrounded by like-minded individuals completely changed my outlook. It has helped me prepare for the next steps in my education and future ambitions of becoming a veterinary surgeon.