Archive for tag: community

Hierarchy of Needs

I'm back from the mountains of North Carolina, where I spent from last Thursday through Sunday. It was, as it always is, a life-changing event. I learned so much from everything I experienced there, and everyone that I met. My life is forever changed. Coming back from such a life-altering experience is always really hard. I find myself struggling with motivation, coping with what we call the "default world," and dealing with daily obligations. It's funny how being apart from civilization gives a completely different perspective on what civilization actually is.

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On the way up the mountain

I may have mentioned Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs before. Maslow postulated that in order for humans to function, they must have certain needs met. The fields of psychology, sociology and anthropology have embraced Maslow's theory, on some level, and run with it--proposing that everything from the basis of emotional well-being, to the likelihood of success, stems from these needs being met.

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Image source: www.21stcentech.com

When out, away from civilization and the comforts of "home," people tend to do one of two things: they think about how much they miss the comforts of home; or they realize how little those comforts actually comfort them. I tend to be the latter, rather than the former. Don't get me wrong, I would have loved a warm, dry place to sleep, but for the most part, I didn't miss the Internet, television, my cell phone, or even electricity.

Being apart from society and civilization would imply that we're apart from each other. But that's not the case. I've found that when I'm out in the woods, with other people, that that is when society actually begins. We form a tribe, a family. I often wonder why we don't do that, when we're among each other in the default world.

As students, we've been through several years of schooling together. We're nearing the end. Stress is running VERY high among our group. We're finding ourselves more anxious, more short-tempered, more ready to judge, bicker, harass, and goad each other. For those of us that have become close, we're finding it easier to support, empathize, listen, and care for each other. Perhaps some of this is because we know we won't be together for much longer. Perhaps the rest of it is that we're so unsure of what comes next. Perhaps some of us view each other as the member of the family that we really don't want to associate with (because we didn't get to pick this family).

In just under 9 months, we'll all go our separate ways. Some of us will be friends for the rest of our lives. Some of us will never hear from or see each other again. Just like my past weekend, some of us will be friends for the remainder of our lives, and others I'll never see again.

We have the opportunity every day to contribute to someone's hierarchy of needs. We can build each other up, nurture each other, be family (the good kind), and contribute to each other's well-being, not just our patients.

Last, I want to plug some of the upper trimester classmates who've been doing some good community outreach work. My hat's off to you guys. You're making it happen.

Until next week, my friends, I challenge you to think about how your needs are being met, what you really need and want in your lives, and who and how you view "family."

Happy adventures!

St Pete Beach Classic

How was everybody's weekend? Long weekends are magical. They never seem long enough, but at the same time get packed just enough so there's some downtime. This was just such a weekend. Friday night was out with friends. Saturday night was master's work and recovering from Friday night. 

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Sunday morning, I got up EARLY, and with a number of my fellow classmates, went and volunteered at the St. Pete Beach Classic. We had a blast! The runners hit our water stand both coming and going (since we were the first water stop). Some people were obviously there to win. Others were just there for fun. With nearly every person, I found myself diagnosing pathology: torticollis, pronation, arthritis, and scoliosis. Blame it on the day job -- at some point that's what happens. Of course, it was also obvious that whatever was going on with these runners, none of it was stopping anybody. Determination is the name of the game.

There were people running dressed up. One girl was wearing a tutu (girl after my own heart). And my absolute favorite was Mr. Incredible. I got to meet Mr. Incredible!!!!!!

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Our whole crew was amazing. We never missed a beat with the cheering and hand-offs. Runners were appreciative. For people who came out alarmingly early and stood out in the cold (I needed gloves!), we were all in great spirits. Andres had the best water/Gatorade handoff ever with the "lunge and reach," and Yussef was the world's fastest cup grabber -- rivaling a limber tennis ball boy. I'm hoping that I get to work another volunteer event with this crew.

This coming weekend in Tampa Bay is the Gasparilla Festival. Things always get a little bit crazy. It's one of those events where you might decide to go, just to say you went, but then never go again. Or maybe it's something you'll be hooked on for your entire stay here. You never know. But brace yourselves lads and lasses, we're about to be invaded by pirates!

Batten down the hatches, kids!

Have a great week!

Busy Week

This is one of those times when writing the blog is tough, because I can't remember all of the things I've done over the last week! I'm to the point where I'm keeping daily lists so things don't fall through the cracks. There's just so much to do and so much to study for.

Last week I had 2 exams, and this coming week, 2 exams and 2 quizzes. Next week (brace yourself), there are 5 exams. I've always wondered why we do things this way. Five exams in one week are too many. It's just as if it were finals. But, here we are.

I was able to join some of my classmates out on Friday night. It seems that a good time was had by all. We were able to meet some of the first trimester folks that I'd missed from the First Tri Mixer. They all seem really great. One of the drawbacks to the way our campus is set up here is that the students are spread out to four different places. We have the basic science students in one location, the clinical science students in another, and the interns in two different clinic locations. So, once someone crosses over into a different area, we don't always see each other again--unless we make an effort to do so. So that's why the mixers and impromptu get-togethers are really important. It gives us a chance to meet some of the other students from different locations.

I like how cohesive our group is in particular. I've mentioned this before, but we really do become somewhat of a family. After all, we spend five days a week, together, ALL day. If we don't love or hate each other by the end, there's something wrong. Those that have joined our original four members have been welcome additions. And of course we miss those that have left us--whether they transferred campuses to Lombard, or decided to slow down. Most of my original class is now in the same building. It's good to see them every day again. I've missed them.

As if I didn't have enough going on, last week, I started the Master's Degree in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine through the University of Western States. The program is all online and we have students from literally all over the world. The program there is a wonderful complement to the program here. Since my goal is to have an integrative, functional medicine practice, it's a great fit for me. My goal is to complete the master's about the same time I finish here at National. I'll let you all know how that's going.

Time management and prioritizing are absolutely key to maintaining some semblance of sanity with all this coursework. I'm not sure I'm there yet--but I'm working on it. Of course, anyone that knows me knows that I'm at least partly insane, so I must have lost something somewhere. Calendars, schedules, lists, planning, and keeping track of everything that has to be done is extremely important. On top of that, checking all of those things off the list is extremely fulfilling. I have to remember to ONLY put things on the list that HAVE to be done--no lofty ambitions, week-long projects, or 5-year goals. My lists sometimes get out of control--admittedly, and sometimes they end up with the weirdest, most random thoughts written on them--like philosophical questions. And THAT could go anywhere. :)

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(Image source: redlandrambles.wordpress.com)

I took a few minutes out of studying on Saturday to go to a ROOTS seed and plant share event. We grew a lot of our own food when I was growing up, and as I've had space, have tried to do the same off and on. Now that I have some yard space, I'm working on it again. Let me just say that this event was absolutely amazing.

People from the local area bring seeds they've collected, cuttings, plants, trees--you name it--and they just give it away. I took some Aloe seeds that my plant had put out last year. I'd been saving them for quite a while. I honestly didn't even know that Aloe seeded; I'd only seen people plant Aloe by cutting. The Aloe plant that produced the seed was gifted to me a few years ago from a fellow student, so it only seemed fitting that I gift its progeny. In return, I was gifted pumpkin seeds, stevia seeds, loofah seeds, and heirloom squash seeds. I was hoping for loofah, but couldn't believe how much was there!?! A lady tried to send me home with a bag full of about 500 seeds! People were so generous. I'm eternally grateful, and hopefully my garden will be booming here in a couple of weeks. Since I've never had a fall garden before, I have no idea what to expect. We shall see.

Happy Studying and Organizing everyone! Have a great week!