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."
We made it! Well, almost. It's week 14 -- which means there's
only one week left. This week and next week are finals. This week
is mostly practical finals, but I have a few written as well.
Acupuncture, the practical, was over the weekend. We also had the
clinical entrance exam for physical therapeutics. We have to pass
that exam, in order to progress to the clinic and treat (using
those modalities). We were all pretty nervous -- because we're all
anxious to get to clinic.
After next week, I'll be in Tri 8. Tri 8. (did you hear that
sang angelically and see the beams of sunlight streaming down onto
those two words?). They did. We've been talking about schedules and
who will take what shift -- and how nervous some of us are. I'm not
nervous -- at least that's what I'm telling everyone. I'm anxious
to see what all we'll end up doing. What most people don't know is
that any of the St Pete College and NUHS students can come to our
clinic for free (and their immediate family too). We're really
hoping that we see a lot of people -- that need all kinds of help.
We do more than MSK -- just to let you know. I'm really hoping to
get some functional medicine and nutrition patients as well.
So, after the "festivities" of the next 2 weeks, we have break.
Break (did you hear the angels again?). This will be the first
break that I've actually had since Fall of 2012 -- not because we
didn't have a break, but because I was so busy. I worked, moved,
studied for boards, worked -- and now, I finally get a break. I'm
so excited! What will I do? I am going to a festival, the first
weekend of break -- and I'm really looking forward to it. I haven't
been to one here in about 4 years. I'll be volunteering as a Medic
(only requires CPR certification), and I always have an amazing
time. I also still have Master's work to do (which starts back this
week), and random stuff around the house -- projects, prospects,
and purpose. I'm trying to stay focused on finals and studying, but
the allure of "free time" is haunting the back of my mind.
So, I figured you all needed to see something new around the
area, so I went to Gulfport. I don't know why I haven't taken you
all to Gulfport before -- it's only a hop, skip, and a jump from my
house. While most people spend their nightlife in Ybor in Tampa or
in Downtown St Pete, I tend to go to Gulfport. My favorite karaoke
bar (O'Maddy's) is there -- where on random weekend nights I might
be found singing Pink, Bonnie Raitt, or Evanescence. Really,
Downtown Gulfport feels like a really small town right on the
beach. There are some little shops, open air bars/restaurants, and
a beach. It reminds me of the little beach towns in movies from the
50's and 60's.
So, featured in the pictures today is the Gulfport Casino --
right at the center of Downtown Gulfport. Here's some history about
Then And Now: The Gulfport Casino Ballroom. The Casino, as it
stands now, was built in 1934 -- and architecturally it fits into
the time -- beach-Craftsman era. They host all kinds of events
there now -- including ballroom dancing. If you're in town --
before or after you come by the school, I recommend stopping by.
And if you see me at karaoke, I might even sing you a song. I know
that I'll be spending some time there over break. I'm really
looking forward to it.
So, I'll see you guys after break. Good luck on finals. Enjoy
the time. Next Tri means big, big things.
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!
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