Multi Story Edinburgh

Shirley - Class of 2020 - Inspiration, self awareness, and looking for opportunity.

October 23, 2020 University of Edinburgh Season 1 Episode 5
Multi Story Edinburgh
Shirley - Class of 2020 - Inspiration, self awareness, and looking for opportunity.
Show Notes Transcript

Each episode is a snapshop, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. Season one talks to our 2020 graduates about how things are going, or not going, for them. In episode five we meet Equine Science graduate, Shirley. 

Each month we meet five more graduates. Subscribe now and find out what everyone is up to and how they feel about this weird and unpredictable time.

All opinions expressed are those of the individual and do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Edinburgh. 

Multi Story Edinburgh has been created and produced by the Alumni Relations team at the University of Edinburgh. If you are interested in telling your story, please get in touch and let's talk.

Sonia (host)  0:05  
This is a snapshot, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. This is season one, class of 2020.

Shirley  0:13  
My name is Shirley Ferber and I'm from Israel. I've just completed my Masters degree in Equine Sciences. I did it online, which was challenging, including my thesis, which I did in collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and the Hebrew University of Israel. 

Shirley  0:33  
And so I basically started my studies just aiming to improve equine welfare in Israel, which is not, it's not very developed. So there isn't enough money or research into it. I have a mare, she's 18 years old, her name is Kim. And at the time, I also had another horse, her daughter, Yuki, which I unfortunately, I lost two years ago to severe colic. While I was raising my horses, I just fell upon a few issues that I tried to solve. And veterinarians were baffled, and I found myself having to research stuff myself. So at some point, I said, okay, why don't I just study this and develop this, this field in Israel, it began as something that drove me in order to help my mare Yuki. And, well, afterwards, it became in her memory. So my dissertation was in her memory.

Shirley  1:43  
I'm a firm believer in the that change is the only constant in life. It's the only thing that you can count on that everything is going to change at some point. So I started my studies three years ago, and I was in a totally different place, geographically. And in my mindset. And I changed through the studies. I started working part time instead of full time. And then pretty much halfway through my field study, just after I finished collecting all the samples, and, and surveying about 467 horses across Israel, COVID started. So I got lucky. But I tried to, you know, to use that situation, and just on the best way I can. So I wasn't planning on starting to work as an independent nutritionist. But following the survey and meeting a lot of people, erm, to collect information about their horses, people became very eager to learn more and to get help. And I was extremely surprised. I'm actually the first equine nutritionist in the country. And the only one currently.

Shirley  3:05  
I tried finding the right mentors who can gave me that support and, and help me from their experience, to keep me in check also, and to see that I'm not in over my head because I felt like I felt like I was you know, diving into the deep end. So I just really grabbed this opportunity, but still be confident and but not too confident. So I found a mentoring programme in Israel, that helps young entrepreneurs. So I got a mentor who is like an organisational advisor, but he also owns a big stable. He still mentors me. And he's absolutely amazing. So he really helped me to keep focus, and especially on the business side, but not only. And I have my supervisor, my dissertation supervisor, Dr. Andrea Ellis, so she helped me with the professional side of everything. And I had Dr. Statz who's a veterinarian at the local vet school hospital here who has a lot of experience in Israel, and, but more clinical experience. And I also had another professor from the Hebrew University, who has more experience with the feed aspect. It sounds like it's whoah too many people. How do you handle all of this? But I actually found that this is very, very helpful because you have an address for each question. And not just throwing that question at the world or Googling everything like crazy. Finding those key persons for specific subjects breaking it down into different things. That really helps. Because sometimes you do get, you know, ego plays a part, and about everything that you feel and, and self confidence and, and stuff like that sometimes stop you from, from looking for for that guidance. And specifically the stuff that you feel that you do know enough about. But sometimes it happens also with things that you hope you know enough about. But you know, deep inside that you don't actually do. And that these are the points that sometimes you're afraid to ask for help and guidance. You shouldn't be embarrassed, or you know, or afraid to admit that you need help with something. You can't be perfect in everything. And you can't specialise in everything. So you should find what you are good at, you're really good at what you really want to specialise in, and just complete the other stuff from other people.

Shirley  6:03  
I really cherish the opportunity to study remotely and bring innovative knowledge to Israel. It's really important for me to bring that to my home, my country. That is a tremendous opportunity that I wish was I wish more people were aware of in different fields, not only equine sciences. So I, I would recommend current student or graduate to look around a bit for different opportunities, because I think it's very enriching. 

Sonia (host)  6:43  
We also ask our graduates to share a place. Somewhere special, somewhere we can get together when all this has finished.

Shirley  6:52  
About six months ago, I moved from the centre of Israel, not far from Tel Aviv, living in the city, to the north of Israel. And I live in a small village and have mountains around me and lots of green. And it's absolutely amazing. This place with which is called Kefar Kish, is right in front of the Tabor mountain. And not far, it's in the Lower Galilee area, which is not far from the Sea of Galilee, Yam Kinneret,. And it's absolutely beautiful. So I would probably, I would probably invite whoever wants to come over and you're all invited to visit here. And the stables here is also amazing. And my my mare is having the time of her life. 

Shirley  7:46  
But there's another answer to that question. It's less of a physical place. And more of an emotional place, which is my horse. Wherever she is. She's been with me for 15 years. And now, so we've gone through a lot of challenges. And you know, and ups and downs together. So I moved around quite a lot. So wherever I go, she's always with me. And she's always, I usually go and see her at least once a day. And she's my rock, she's my place for motivation for imagination, for comfort. And, you know, she, she's my anchor, so whatever changes and wherever I go, I usually have her with me. So she's really my, my special place. And so that's, that's, um, so I always bring people to meet her also because when you meet her you understand me better.

Sonia (host)  8:55  
Thank you for listening. Join us next time for another graduate and another story.

Kirsten (Careers Service)  9:05  
You're not on your own when it comes to planning for your future. Your University of Edinburgh community is here to support you. And this includes ongoing support for recent graduates from the Careers Service. Why not take a look at our website to find out more about how we can support you get the future that you want. Go to to get started.

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