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Motivational Monday: inspiring vets

Our latest Motivational Monday is with Dr Jilli Crosby (class of 2012) who qualified as a vet in 2017 and has been helping our Upper Sixth students prepare for veterinary school interviews.

Jilli has discovered a passion for teaching and over the summer holidays, she gave taster courses on veterinary science to Sixth Formers as part of GDST’s Limitless Learning programme. Jilli studied Biology, Chemistry, Maths and History at A Level.  She left South Hampstead in 2012 to study at the Royal Veterinary School, London.  “I had wanted to become a vet since I was in Year 6 after deciding against becoming a farmer (my previous dream job!) My university course showed me the many different career options available to me when I graduated.  This ranged from being called out to farms in the middle of the night (and in all weathers), to working with pets indoors, working with the government, or going into research.”

Jilli started her veterinary career in a busy charity practice with animals ranging from large dogs to pet rats.  “Working in a charity practice means I’m able to help animals and owners that otherwise would not be able to afford treatment,” explains Jilli. “The NHS means that it’s easy to forget how expensive medications and operations are, and the veterinary profession does not receive this luxury.  It’s very rewarding to be able to help animals that would otherwise be struggling.”

Jilli now works in private practice and is about to start the journey into specialisation by undertaking an internship in a large referral hospital. “I’m especially interested in Emergency & Critical Care and being able to help animals and owners when they need it the most. These cases create an incredibly high pressure environment, but can also be so rewarding to work on too,” she says.  As well as being involved with interesting cases, Jilli will also get the opportunity to help teach final year vet students. “I have discovered that I have a passion for teaching – something that I attribute to having had so many great teachers at South Hampstead who instilled a love of learning into me.”

Thinking back on her school days Jilli says, “out of all my teachers, Mrs Frank stands out the most.  She taught me A Level Maths and was a fantastic teacher.  I really enjoyed her classes – both learning Maths and occasionally breaking off to have a good natter, which was especially fun given that my initial impression of her, as an impressionable Year 7, was that she was one of the scarier teachers.”  Jilli also enjoyed being in various orchestras where she played the violin.  “Orchestra taught me so much about teamwork and we were able to help out with the Junior School orchestra too – one of my first teaching opportunities,” she recalls.

Jilli credits her experiences at South Hampstead with giving her the confidence to do her job today.  “When I’m interacting with clients and colleagues, I definitely feel that I’m drawing on all of my skills, not just my vet knowledge, to treat animals.  Teamwork, communication, and self-confidence are essential to me doing my job well and these are skills I was really able to develop at South Hampstead.”

Jilli’s advice to students considering a career as a vet is “you may have chosen a challenging career path, but that choice is because you are passionate about veterinary science and you love your subject. Keep doing what you enjoy, slog through the more boring parts and you’ll reach your goals.”  She also adds: “Watch out for cow pats on your farm placements – they can be a lot more slippery than they look!”


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