The NFL is merely a tribute league for The Turkey Bowl. These,
and many other words were uttered by our fearless leader, President
Joseph Stiefel, in his Newt Rockne-esque speech leading up to the
Turkey Bowl last week. I wasn't sure whether we were going into war
or going to the fields.
President Stiefel gives the speech to end all
For those not familiar with the Turkey Bowl, it's National's
annual foray into the world of sports, celebrating all that is
football, camaraderie, and Thanksgiving. With flags and fanfare,
students, significant others, faculty, family, and friends clad in
shorts and T-shirts charged onto the gridiron, doing everything
that they could to avoid a pile up on the field. The Turkey Bowl
is, of course, a flag football event. And might I say, I saw some
pretty amazing acrobatics from players trying to avoid tackling.
Flips here, somersaults there -- it was quite impressive.
We had enough players for 4 teams. Forest even played. All
players, in fact, were welcomed with open arms. And of course, both
guys and girls play, which makes it even more interesting. And the
number of people on the sidelines cheering was phenomenal.
There were new rules this year. Some were pretty hilarious. I'll
leave names out of it, but one of my esteemed colleagues had a rule
named after her -- just to illustrate that tackling is absolutely
prohibited. And there's also the rule that if you've been hurt
before, you're excused from playing. Granted, all of the injuries
at The Turkey Bowl have been pretty minor: bruises, sprains, small
bones broken. Everyone is a GREAT sport.
The winning team
Our MVPs were Bryan Nicholas and Dr. Michelle Jourdan. I'll put
a plug in for both of them. I don't think I've ever seen Bryan
without a smile on his face. He's just an all-around good sport and
he plays hard. Dr. Jourdan is one of the most enthusiastic players
I've ever seen. The NFL's got nothin' on either of these two.
I'm keeping it short and sweet for this week. Hope everybody had
an amazing Thanksgiving!
I'm recovering from near brain-death. In case you missed it,
last weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) a group of us took
boards: Physiotherapy, Part II, and Part III. I wish I could say it
was 3 days full of fun-filled magical awesomeness, but I think you
guys know me well enough to know I'd be lying through my teeth.
We all survived the weekend, in large part due to the support we
gave each other. Julia was my right-hand this weekend. She made me
study when I didn't want to, go over questions, and made sure I got
out of the hotel room on time (and didn't get lost too badly
getting back and forth from the hotel). Ricky and Alid were the
humor for the weekend. The four of us (including Julia) and two of
Alid's friends from Palmer, went for dinner after PT. I honestly
thought we would be kicked out of the restaurant, we were laughing
so hard. It was just what I needed to keep me going another
It was great to see the smiling faces of people we've taken
tests with before from other schools, and also of each other. Kind
words of encouragement were given by so many. Leslie, Bryan, Julia,
Alid, Theresa, Ricky, Roshaun, and Dave: My huge thanks to you guys
for keeping me going this past weekend -- even if you didn't
realize that's what you were doing.
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It was a weekend fueled by caffeine and lack of sleep. We
learned how little sleep we could survive on, how many questions we
could answer in a short period of time, and how much caffeine was
required to take an exam at 7:00 a.m. We were laughing at each
other and our test-taking strategies, how long it took to finish
certain exams, and how much we were stressing about something
really and truly out of our control.
Boards are interesting, because you've been studying for them
all along. There's really nothing to "cram" for, and yet we cram
every time. Of course, it doesn't hurt to refresh memory on what
we've not seen for a couple of years even. Part I, last year, was a
test of the basic sciences. While these were more clinical, the
basic science stuff just doesn't go away. There's always something
that didn't get covered, that we haven't heard before, or that
we've never seen. There are questions on every test that make no
sense, and like all standardized test, more than enough
opportunities to overthink something. I've always been baffled at
how any exam in medicine can be made into a "Multiple Guess" test
-- when everything we do in medicine is completely essay.
But, we survive. No! We endure. And however the scores come out,
they come out. We'll take them as they come.
In other news, clinic is in full swing. At the HEC NUHS Student
Clinic, we are BUSY. We've been seeing sports physicals and regular
patients -- several every day. As the term gets underway for the
SPC students, we'll be seeing less of some sports physicals, and
more of others. I believe we're serving at least 3 different sports
teams now -- so there will be no shortage there.
I'm finishing up a quarter for the Master's program at UWS.
Finals are this week. Hard to come back and tackle that after last
week. But I'm SO looking forward to two weeks off with no pressing
studies. Next quarter with them starts in a few weeks with Sports
Nutrition and Fitness, Gastrointestinal Imbalances, and
Oxidative/Reductive Dynamics and Energy Production. Sounds like a
Have a Great week, Everybody!!!!
The trimester is coming to a close, and I can honestly say it's
flown by. We're all scrambling to meet deadlines in the clinic:
this many of this, that many of that. It hardly seems that about 12
weeks ago we were terrified we'd be horrible at this. Truth be
told, I didn't think anything about deadlines and numbers and
paperwork (OK, well I did think about paperwork a little bit).
That's probably why I'm scrambling now.
The last couple of weeks have been discussions about who is
transitioning to the other clinic, and some talks about where we'll
end up. Half of our crew is moving to the other clinic. It's
unlikely that I'll see them very often. Perhaps we'll have seminars
or training sessions of some sort, or get together outside of
school (although we don't do that now). But in a few weeks, there
will be another big transition for all of us. Some of us have been
together, nearly every day, for about 3 years. This will be
something really new.
Newness. It reminds me of my theory about Maslow's Hierarchy
from last week. Incidentally, I've been working some more on that,
but I'll spare you all the details. I had the pleasure to discuss
it with two of my fellow interns today, the concept of new ideas.
We were talking about my theory, and about other theories -- things
in medicine and science that seem to have been left behind. We were
discussing the idea that there are no new ideas.
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Mark Twain said:
"There is no such thing as a new
idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put
them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and
they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and
making new combinations indefinitely, but they are the same old
pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the
I grew up not far from good ol' Mark Twain's stomping grounds,
but between you and me, his writing always made me crazy. No matter
how much I tried, I couldn't understand the dialect he wrote. I'm
not sure that I agree with Mark; it seems we're discovering new
things all the time. From god particles to medicines, we strive and
learn how to change, adapt, and understand the world around us.
If the last 12 weeks in the clinic have taught me anything, it's
that we have no standard approach to treating anything. We have to
be willing to come up with new ideas, or at the very least, new
applications for old ideas. For every patient that comes in, even
if they have the "same" diagnosis, what works for each one of them
is likely to be something completely different.
I'm fairly certain that our discussion today came to the
conclusion that there has to be something new. There has to be a
pursuit of Science that crosses boundaries into new territories,
that bypasses the need for a randomized controlled trial of
everything, and simply embraces discovery for the sake of
discovery, and implementation for the benefit of the whole. Perhaps
we're all idealists. I see no problem with that. Being idealistic
just promotes my love of the field and my hope for making a
Neil deGrasse Tyson, in his series "Cosmos" said:
"To make this journey, we'll
need imagination, but imagination alone is not enough because the
reality of nature is far more wondrous than anything we can
OK, Neil. I'll take that one to heart. The greatest theories
come from crazy idealists.
I wish you all many great new discoveries. May your kaleidoscope
always look just a little bit different.
I can't believe this week is Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving
everybody! A few of my classmates are heading out of town, up
North, over the river and through the woods, but most of us are
staying somewhat local. Those that are going up North are getting
ready to be bundled up. I understand there are record lows --
especially up in the Northeast. We're actually expecting a brisk
temperature of 66ºF on Thanksgiving. Everyone will have their
parkas and snowboots on.
Friday night was Turkey Bowl. If you've never heard of the
infamous NUHS Turkey Bowl, here's where you'll become indoctrinated
in this time-honored tradition. Students, alumni, faculty members,
and significant others launch themselves onto the football field to
non-violently duke it out to compete for (starting this year) the
Stiefel Cup [named for the president of NUHS and former dean of the
College of Professional Studies - Florida].
This year, the victors were from Tri 1 and Tri 6 (including our
own Antoinette Stewart and Lauren Domanski) and our MVPs were Dr.
Chris Arick and Danielle Spratt. It's my understanding that no
severe injuries were met and no one went to the hospital -- so it
was a good game.
We had a HUGE turnout of people! A lot of the faculty came out
-- including some professors that I haven't seen in a really long
time. I saw new students that I'd never seen before. I met spouses
and kids that I didn't know existed. It was just a really great
"family" environment. There was really amazing food provided and
the people that weren't playing just hung out. It was really cool
and made me wish that I'd gone last year. The funniest thing was to
see our professors and Assistant Dean (Dr. Daniel Strauss) don
shorts and T-shirts and blend in with all of the "kids." We really
couldn't tell the difference between them.
So, this is the last week before finals start. Next week is
practical week and the following week has all the written exams.
I'm not looking forward to either -- but I'll be really glad to
move on. I've already taken the Marketing final, the final
practical for Rehab, and the Phlebotomy written final is this week.
I'm checking off boxes and crossing things off my list (and trying
not to go crazy).
Well, that's it from me. I hope everyone has an amazing holiday
-- that you have just as much dinner as you want, just enough
family dysfunction to seem OK, and just enough tryptophan to have a
really good nap. And of course, in true medical student style --
dissect the turkey -- don't carve it.
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. :)
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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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