Journal Entry #3

December 21, 2005

    I am done with exams!  Well, hopefully.  Let's see...I finished the "core rotation group" of farm animal stuff, which lasted 4 weeks from November to December.  During that group of rotations, we had one week of predominantly public health, and the rest a mixture of various farm animal stuff.  Highlights of the rotation include palpating cows trans-rectum (I must have done around 8 or more divided amongst two days) to determine whether they were pregnant or not (and to learn how each stage of pregnancy would feel).  I also really liked the cattle cases we were assigned to and our case discussions the following days.  Some of the tutorials were terribly boring though!  A couple were excellent.  Another highlight was the "welfare debates" we had one day.  No preparation was required and we were assigned to debate groups (whether we agreed with our side or not!).  It was an exercise for no seemingly good reason but to have fun talking about various issues and to try and see issues from multiple sides. 

    Then in December, we had our week of "specialist services" (I or II, can't remember).  I was there for 3 days of the 5 and we did neurology all 3 days.  It was just Kat and I because Carolyn was away for her NAVLE (board exam).  We did get to see at least 2 cases each and watched several MRIs (on vertebral columns and brains).  I flew away on Thursday morning (bright and early at 6 a.m.!) to head to the USA.  The flight was not as nice as I had planned.  For instance, I had no clue I would be stopping over at London's Gatwick airport.  I had never been to that airport and I had to take a bus for just over an hour (and costing 18 pounds!) to get to Heathrow airport - where I waited in a huge queue for around 2 hours to re-check my baggage in.  By the time I got to the top of the queue, they were almost going to close check-in for my flight.  Luckily, I managed to get checked in and run to security (upstairs) and then run to my gate (which is like a mile away, literally -- always, when you go to Heathrow).  Then, we sat in the plane for an hour while they fixed something (the power went out on us).  Finally, I flew off to LAX.  Phew!  I was worried I wouldn't make it. 

    I took the NAVLE (North American Veterinary Licensing Exam) on Friday the 9th of December.  It was terrible.  I never want to take an exam like that again!  And I had thought the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) was bad!  No way.  This was the worst.  I think I felt so bad about it mostly because of the time ticking away in the corner of the computer screen.  65 minutes to answer 60 questions - multiply that by 6 (totaling at 360 questions in 6.5 hours).  Then there was the eye strain: I was focusing so intently on the screen (worrying about the minutes ticking away) for hours at a time, so I began to get a small headache.  No fun.  Then there were the questions I am sure I got wrong, mostly in the first 3 hours of the exam (leaving me feeling quite stupid by the time I took my 35 minute lunch break).  In all, I am just glad I survived and I am praying (literally) that I managed to somehow pass!  I don't want to take it again, no way. 

    After the NAVLE, I had one week to study for the California state board exam (CA SBE).  This exam was supposed to be so much tougher than the NAVLE - only about 50% of exam-takers pass.  I studied all week the best I could, but my brain felt fried from the NAVLE and I was distracted by all the Christmas and family excitement.  I took the exam just last Monday in Sacramento.  I flew up there on Sunday and stayed in a motel w/my friend Courtney and her classmate (they're at Iowa).  We studied some that night and drove to the exam the next morning.  Guess what?  It was held in the "Scottish Rite Auditorium"!  Is that a sign or what?  There were a ton of students there.  Probably the whole class of UC Davis students and many from the various other schools (and even overseas students like me).  I was the only one from Glasgow there (well, from my class at least).  I finished the 100 questions in about an hour.  I feel good about it, but who knows?  The pass mark is something like 71 out of 100 questions, so we'll see.  I don't think I missed 29 questions though (knock on wood).  We will find out if we passed the NAVLE and the CA SBE in about 5 weeks (late January, early February).  I can't wait!  Then on March 6th, I find out whether I got an internship and where.

    Other things that have been happening in the background... I took my cat Barny to the vet because I thought he lost some weight (bony over the pelvis) and because one of his many wart-like lumps had grown and looked nasty.  I had a senior blood panel done and a urinalysis.  It showed possible hyperthyroidism, but I should find out for sure (awaiting another test now) in a few days.  Last Friday, Barny went in for a dental cleaning and the mass removal (they removed at least 3 of those things).  I had shaved him a couple days before.  Now he is pathetically cold and skinny-legged with part of his tail shaved.  But he's recovering nicely.  He had a tooth pulled, too.  Poor old guy!  He's 14 years old now.  I sure hope that the biopsy reveals only an adenoma.  But I realise it could be something worse.  :(  Maybe I'll know in the next couple of days.

    Monday my mom & I are leaving for San Antonio (flying).  We're going to visit w/my sister and her family for about 4-5 days (coming back on the 30th, real late).  Then I have about one more week at home in California - then it's back to my "real" home in Glasgow.  To start counting down the months!  EXCITING!!  Almost a vet!!!  Oh yeah - I hope I remember to buy a ball gown for the Vet Ball (February 11th, 2006).  Hmmm...what else to say?  Oh yeah!  When I went up to Sacramento for the CA SBE, I stayed with my cousins Wayne & Maryanne.  They were very nice and I got to see their house (I had only seen their old house many years previously).  I also drove down to Oakley on Tuesday and visited with everyone at the Medical Center for Birds.  It was good to see them all again and to play with the birds.  :)  That is what I want to do with the rest of my life - be a bird doc just like them. 

    OK...time for bed!  Past midnight.  In the next few days I plan on reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (I read it a couple times when younger) and maybe renting a few more movies to see with my parents.  Christmas Eve and Christmas are this weekend (I'm still not feeling it).  I will be doing some baking.  I made gingerbread men last week, and tonight I made cookie bars.  Tomorrow I'll make my favourite Tollhouse cookies.  I have plans to make shortbread too, if only I can find the right tart pan.  Oh - another note: I am crazy-addicted to now!  Have a visit to my profile there.  Procrastination-tool for sure! 2006, Cindy Fulton