Looking Back

December 2018

I still cannot believe that I made it into veterinary school, much less that I will be graduating in five short months.

I remember being an undergraduate and constantly panicking about meeting veterinary school prerequisites, maintaining my GPA, and accumulating shadowing hours, while working full-time to minimize my future debt load. I was definitely more stressed during that time of my life than during veterinary school, or I should say it was a different kind of stress. At my campus, I was one of 200 students hoping to be a veterinarian, by senior year I think 20 of us had applied, and ultimately only 10 of us were accepted and still planning to attend.

Then came veterinary school and imposter syndrome. Initially comparing yourself to classmates, while struggling to keep up with material, and constantly thinking that you know nothing. This is just a part of human nature when you combine 150, type-A personality students into one classroom. Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, right? In the beginning, there was competition between classmates for class ranks and what-not. With time, the competition fizzled, study groups were formed, and study guides were shared. Fourth year brought out more than ‘book smarts,’ it brought out the day to day hard workers. It also served as a re-mixture of friend groups, depending on how rotations randomly fell.

Besides passing rotations, fourth year students also have to pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) to officially practice as a veterinarian. The NAVLE was definitely the most nerve-wracking and expensive exam of my college career that I hope to never take again. Everyone is given 6.5 hours to complete 360 multiple-choice questions. The reported species breakdown is 53% small animal, 27% food animal (15% bovine), and 16% equine. The remaining questions cover pocket pets, pet birds, reptiles, etc. Clearly, swine was not a major focus, so I relied on my preparation program and class notes to help fill in the gaps. Results will be e-mailed out in mid-January and those who did not pass can re-take (and re-pay) for the exam in April. Pretty crazy how one standardized test, despite your specialty or species focus is used to determine whether or not you get to practice, but how else do you cover such a diverse profession?  

Until next time,