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
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
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
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."
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.
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!!!!!!
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!
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
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. :)
(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!
• After the DC Degree
• Botanical Medicine
• 1 Year at National
• Marketing Project
• First Week in Student Clinic
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