We had a chat with Noémi Madarász about the Animal Health Championship. Noémi is in a special situation because she could gain experience in all the three championships yet organised. In the first two, she was among the contestants as a high-school student while this year she was one of the organisers as a first-year student of the University of Veterinary Medicine.
Tell me about your high-school years. Where did you study?
I attended Mihaly Tancsics High School in Oroshaza, I was in the Biology class. I’d already known that later I would like to study at UNIVET so that’s why I chose Biology class so that I could take Biology on a higher level for GCSE (ed.: in Hungary, you may take the GCSE exams on average or higher levels).
Where did you hear about the championship?
I was a third-year student in school when the Animal Health Championship started. A circular was sent out to the schools, which basically may have been ignored, but luckily my mother’s a member of the board, so she forwarded it to me and asked if I was interested. I told her right away: Absolutely!
You can enter the championship with 3-member teams. Who were your teammates?
I persuaded two of my classmates, one who also planned to study at UNIVET, and one who was interested in general medicine, so we entered. There’re three rounds where you need to submit the solutions by mail and the teams receive points for these. Then what happened was that right away on the first contest we were forerunners and qualified for the finals and that was great.
How did you work in a team? Did you divide the tasks or come up with the solutions together?
It varied. Our basic idea was that we divide the questions, we had 6 per rounds so each of us got 2. But we all had different schedules so the one who solved their tasks sooner helped the rest. So actually, we did it together.
Where did you place in the competition?
In the first year, we were second and received a special prize. In the next year, we entered again and won.
What experiences did you get during the finals?
Wow, there were a lot. We were taken to Üllő, to the Large Animal Clinic of the university, we also visited a pharmaceutical factory where we were shown around the production line. We visited the zoo, then saw the wolfman’s show with a real wolf, that was great. And surely, we got to know the campus as well.
As a high-school student standing here surrounded by the buildings of the campus, what was your impression?
I confess I fell in love with the campus! I even said back then “why is it so beautiful?! If it wasn’t, I may apply for other universities as well…” Plus, the organisers were so nice that I felt I wanted to belong to this team.
And so you do. Now you help the championship and future veterinarians from the organiser side.
Right. When I was a contestant the organisers and I was talking about me joining them if I get in the university and that it’d be nice as I got a lot of experience from having been a participant. Then, when the Freshmen package came, it was in the Freshers’ news that they’re looking for organisers even Freshmen. You had to send your CV, motivation letter and they evaluated.
And the championship is like a teambuilding for the organisers as well. How many organisers are there?
It’s something between 20 and 30. I got to know a lot of people from upper-year students, it’s a great way to build connections.
Do you look on the championship different, now that you have experience as an organiser?
Absolutely! I see now how much work it’s to organise such an event. The organisers put immense time and work in it, and there are the main organisers, four- and five-year students, who put great energy in it as well. Salute to them! We saw it even as contestants how much work the students have in it to create such an interesting and prestigious championship.
So you’ll be a stalwart member of the organiser team?
For sure, I’d really like to be! It’s so great to follow what the championship will develop into, in which I was a participant from the start. I can see that this isn’t the end at all, it’s growing.
What advise do you give to high-school students who may be interested?
If they’re interested in this field, then they should enter next year by all means! If they manage to get into the finals, it’ll remain a life-long experience. It may seem an exaggeration, but the championship topped my high-school years. The two championships and the 2-3 days of the finals gave me huge motivation to choose the University of Veterinary Medicine. It was an experience that I’ll never forget.