Looking back on 2017

December 2017


Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays everyone. It’s hard to believe the year is almost over. 2017 has been a pretty great year, all things considered.

I continue to enjoy my time on rotations, and have completed two more food animal rotations since my last post. We are given a fair bit of flexibility with our schedule fourth year. I took one week of a two week block off, and used the other for a preceptorship. Having an off week was really nice, as it allowed me to spend time with family and friends over Thanksgiving, study for the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE), and ride along with two veterinarians.

I spent two days with the veterinarians at New Fashion Pork (NFP), based in Jackson, MN. It is always fun to ride along with veterinarians, but even more so when you have a personal connection with the vet. Dr. Levi Johnson, one of the vets at NFP, is a fraternity brother as well as a good friend. Levi has been a great resource for me over the past several years and I have often consulted him regarding issues with veterinary school and swine medicine.

I spent the second week of the block with Fairmont Vet Clinic in Fairmont, MN. The clinic has several veterinarians serving hog and cattle producers in Martin County and the surrounding area. I had a blast with the veterinarians, and learned a lot while with them. I was able to preg check cows, process calves, perform necropsies on hogs, evaluate sow farms, and much more.

Large Animal Field Services was my next rotation. Field Services acts as a functioning large animal ambulatory practice, working with cattle and small ruminants. I was able to continue improving my skills working with beef and dairy cattle, as well as sheep and goats. This was one of my favorite Iowa State rotations, as it gave me a lot of practical, hands-on experience. The only downside was the cold and windy weather. Even with frozen fingers, I still prefer real life experiences to the classroom.

As I type this, my roommates are completing their final exams (both are 3rd year vet students), and I am enjoying the fact that I do not have any finals. Although I don’t have any course exams to take this week, I did take an important test recently. On December 4th, I took the National American Veterinary Licensing Exam (NAVLE. It was 360 questions, split into six sections, and was quite lengthy. All veterinarians need to take, and pass, this exam to become licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the United States. I’m hoping I passed, because I would prefer to not take that exam again. ISU traditionally has a high percentage of students pass the NAVLE on the first try, and I am hoping to join that majority. However, if needed, I can re-take it. I’ll find out the exam results in January, but until then I will try not to worry about it too much. If you are a current or prospective student, be aware that the NAVLE is tough but you have three and half years to prepare for it and the odds are in your favor.

Have a wonderful holiday season and stay warm!

Brent