Ambassador Profile – Nirvana Leaver, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
Hi, I’m Nirvana – Co-Founder of the Dick Vet Wildlife Conservation Society at Edinburgh University. I have been a part of The Expedition Project Ambassador team since 2019.
Although I have been working with The Expedition Project since 2019, since March 2020, we’ve been doing live streams and developing online courses with the help of Wildlife Vets like Dr. Peter Rogers, Ecologists like Terry-Lee Honiball and fellow ambassadors from Nottingham and RVC, London.
WHEN DID I FIRST REALISE, I WANTED TO BE A VET?
I must have been around 13 years old when I decided I was going to be a vet. I always used to tune into Animal Planet and watch as many animal-related programmes as possible. Then when I started senior school, I really enjoyed my science classes – in particular biology. Admittedly, I initially wanted to be a zookeeper but my aptitude for science meant veterinary medicine looked like a promising path and it’s stuck with me ever since.
WHAT IS MY MOTIVATION TO BECOME A VET?
Humans and animals are inextricably linked, and I’ve realised that one of my greatest motivations it not just to help animals, but also help the people that come with them! It’s a massively important part of being a vet. Showing compassion for both people and animals is so critical to be a successful veterinarian.
MY BIGGEST TIP IF YOU WANT TO STUDY TO BECOME A VET IS…
“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde
If you have the drive to become a vet, you will get there. Make sure you let your personality shine through when applying and don’t be afraid to be different. The admissions team want to learn about what makes you a good student and not necessarily that you’ve milked 402 cows and walked 14 dogs at the same time (although that’s pretty impressive).
THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A VET IS…
We can’t talk to our patients! As a Doctor, you can ask your patient “Where does it hurt?” – but of course, as a vet this is a bit tricky. But whilst this is a challenging aspect of the profession, I find it’s also one of the most interesting. It’s like doing a puzzle; we use diagnostics to investigate what we think is wrong with the animal and (with any luck) come up with a plan to fix it. However, sometimes there isn’t anything you can do, and this can be a tough challenge when your main motivation is to make things better.
WHAT IS MY FAVOURITE ANIMAL?
You know what, I find it so hard to pick one just animal to top the charts. I’m a big fan of dogs, but horses have also been a big part of my life from a young age. It can be tricky to juggle pet ownership with university; but every holiday I look forward to heading home to our adorable little Bengal cat, Rizzo. She’s just got the best markings and is such a character – so I guess she’s my favourite animal!
MY FAVOURITE ANIMAL RELATED STORY IS…
Before I met The Expedition Project, I completed a wildlife placement in the summer of 2019 in South Africa. We did multiple captures and translocations of different animals, but my favourite had to be the sable. They were tricky animals to anaesthetise and with the added danger of those massive horns, we had to be on our toes all the time. By the end of it, our team has completed may successful manoeuvres! I thought they looked so majestic with their massive sweeping horns and long faces. Even though they might not be the prettiest animal, they will always hold a soft spot in my heart.
MY FAVOURITE ANIMAL PHOTO I HAVE TAKEN IS…
A photo I took when I first ventured to South Africa with my family back in 2013 – thought we were seeing double!