December 20, 2008

Massey and The Fitz... a chapter closes on vet school life

This week I read an article that brought back a rush of memories. The iconic Fitz Pub in Palmerston north is shutting its doors.
the infamous scarfie pub The Fitz has closed - and love it or loathe it, the Palmie misfit, which opened in 1966, leaves a colourful legacy.
Massey Vet School took up five years of my life.
They were the best of times... they were the worst of times.
But along with a lot of other vets who trained at Massey, the Fitz represented a chunk of time; for better or worse, it was where we went... I expect it will have a similar effect on many vets when they hear the news.

When we weren't there, we were here: The Massey Vet Tower, with it's moat/duck pond at the front. Scene of many a midnight dunking.

It will be 30 years since I left next year, after entering with a few hundred other hopefuls in 1975. I guess 60-70 of us went on to do the next four years, and maybe we will manage our reunion next year... and then we can moan about the state of the profession, share stories from our days at Massey and of course, check out who is fat, bald, old, successful etc. as you do at reunions...

Five long years of study and exams and early starts and late nights. Years of freezing in a Palmerston North winter, battling head winds whichever way we travelled, living in a poorly insulated flat, using an electric blanket to stay warm while studying.

Five years of the same people.. and when offered a chance by one of my lecturers to stay there and do more studies, I realised I was not cut out for a life of pathology and had a need to be with people .... real people, live animals, and I set off into practice. He said he would give me five years before I was tired of it ... and I can see why, but he was wrong; I lasted 20 before I diversified and added teaching.....

So how do students survive their time there?
A time honoured tradition is the BarB Grog.. (A traditional veterinary student bonding ritual involving a circle, tarpaulin and shovel; whose original meaning is long shrouded in the mists of time ..)

Then they raise funds for half way day - which these days seems to involved nudity ( but didn't in my day - although I am sure we would have had no trouble doing it when we were that age!!)

Getting your kit off is becoming an annual event for Massey third-year veterinary science students.

For the second year, students have stripped for charity to produce a 2007-2008 calendar called Barely There – Take II.

Well, “charity” might be stretching it a little. The calendars, which feature naked students posed in a series of mostly agricultural and educational settings – wool sheds, hay barns, paddocks, lecture theatres and lying on the floor playing with a cat – are largely to raise funds for the traditional halfway day function.

Ten per cent of the proceeds of the sales of the calendar are going to the New Zealand Wildlife Health Centre, which treats ill and injured native birds, reptiles and mammals.

The day marks the mid-point of the five-year Bachelor of Veterinary Science degree and usually involves a class trip and social function.

If you want to know more about becoming a vet at Massey - click here and here
If you want to see more about what it involves being a vet student there - try here

At the end of the five years, you will graduate with a piece of paper that lets you really start to learn... and you get to wear the cerise hooded graduation gear. Believe me, I wear it every year at our own student graduations here in Christchurch, and it is trimmed with real. white, fur... which I have never understood.. aren't we meant to be NOT wearing fur anymore!!!

I am sure the student's there now will find other drinking establishements
but thanks to the Fitz for some great memories.

Also to the Vet School at Massey for their great vet training and for the good times that made the five years more fun than pain...

1 comment:

  1. I can't help but smile. All these nostalgic pictures and the story nicely told... You write so well that I could really relive those memories with you... Thank you for sharing.

    The surroundings of the Massey Vet Tower are amazingly beautiful!


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