Balancing seminars and midterms--our equivalent of "work/life"
balance commonly depicted in sitcoms and mulled over at family
gatherings. It's quite a personal topic, but as always, I'll
attempt to answer it the best I can.
"Hey Christian, why do you do these seminars? And how
much do they cost? And do you think they're really worth
it?" -- signed, Prospective Student
A question best answered by giving you a window into my
Last week we had 2 midterms, 2 projects, and a paper due. We are
in the heart of midterms--cortisol is through the roof, Starbucks'
profits have had a weekly bump in sales, and I'm in need of a
relaxing weekend to recharge. Nope. This past weekend we had our
5th of the 7-seminar series AK 100-hour certification course. The
seminar was 9am-8pm Saturday AND Sunday. So much for recharging.
This week we have 3 midterms (MSK, Botanical Med 1, and Pharm) as
well as daily neuro quizzes (today's didn't go so hot lol). I had
to wake up at 6am to get through the rest of botanical material
before the test today. So much for work/life balance...
Captain Obvious Alert! For perspective students: NUHS is
difficult. BUT it is doable. Plenty of people get through. As
Batman says, "The night is darkest before dawn." Can you tell I'm
working through a lot of stress as I write this post, ha ha?
Let me drop some knowledge on you, be ready for this: week 5,
week 10 and weeks 13-15 are going to be miserable! No doubt about
it, ha ha, to the point where most students (90% of the school)
choose to never go to seminars and just focus on classes. This
could be viewed as smart by academia. Get a good GPA, know all your
information in and out, etc. That is the majority opinion. My
philosophy is similar to Mark Twain's: "When the majority is in
agreeance, it's time to pause and reflect." So, let's take a
Past Graduates Dropping Some Knowledge!
I've had the opportunity to interview a few graduates and gain
some unique perspectives I'd like to share with my readers.
I asked, "Now that you're in clinical practice, what is the most
important thing you did in school?"
The paraphrased answers can all be summed up into 7 words: I
went to a lot of seminars.
Note: The interviewees happen to be the most successful
graduates over the last 4 trimesters based on how many patients
they are seeing per week and how many are being discharged, a very
important and often overlooked statistic.
A recipe I made for dinner: Thai chicken and pineapple.
Next question, "Of the most successful doctors in
practice you know, based on the above criteria, what are your
feelings on GPA?"
One past graduate doc (who will remain anonymous per his
request), "When I was in clinic, our class valedictorian used to
ask me all the time how to treat patients. I had a GPA of a
whopping 3.0. By academic standards, I was average. By clinic
skills, I had a 4.0. Make sure you take the boatload of material at
NUHS and APPLY it to how you would treat patients. Often times it
won't help you to get the highest grades on tests, but in the
clinic atmosphere you've been training your brain to that type of
different thinking for a few trimesters so it comes easier."
Another past grad, "I had a 2.6. I think adjusting competence is
more important than GPA. National should have an adjusting GPA. I
know that can't happen, but what do your patients see you as? An
adjuster of bones. Yes, we bring a lot more to the table that we
get to use, but still the heart of what we do (and how we gain the
confidence of patients to let us do more) is being a competent
For my longer term readers (and new readers), are you starting
to see the patterns? I write this blog to pass on my experiences
(both wins and losses at life) to hopefully help you guys out in
your careers as chiros. The common themes have surely been:
- Understand the information in terms of treating patients, not
in terms of GPA; it's just a number.
- Become a fantastic adjuster.
- Go to a lot of diverse seminars.
- Challenge assumptions, and live well.
All the best,