It's the close of another trimester and the twilight of this
bizarre year. I always find it surreal to look back on the year and
think about all the changes that have occurred in such a brief
period of time. As life gets busier, time only passes quicker and
it's easy to get overwhelmed by the rapid change, the plans for the
future, and the yearning for the simplicity of times past.
Consequently, the only period of time that truly gets overlooked
is also the most important -- the present. After all, now is the
only time that we can truly enact change, the only time that we
truly exist. Southpark, the hit animated TV show, depicts the
arrest of progress, due to nostalgia for a bygone era, as getting
addicted to "(re)'member berries." These berries constantly talk
about how great times used to be, paralyzing people with yearning
for a time and world that no longer exist. It's a powerful message
about how working with the present reality is the only way to
ensure a better future.
Image source: teepublic.com
A more philosophical way to describe this is through the lens of
the Tao -- the way of nature -- or as Alan Watts calls it, "the
watercourse way." The general premise is that all things in life,
time included, work as a stream. Water, one of the "weakest" things
on earth, is also the most powerful when working in a stream. A
river carved the Grand Canyon from rock over millennia. Water works
within its banks, for there is no strength without direction and no
power in trying to stay in one place or leaping ahead. Change
occurs when working with where we are, in the present. It's all we
truly can do. We must work within our stream.
gave us a reality check during our last lecture in Business and
Marketing. He reminded us that we only have four trimesters left at
NUHS. He implored us to get out there, meet doctors, and discover
the practices that will work best for us. Graduation is coming
quickly, and trying to tackle everything at once can be paralyzing.
The best way to meet goals is to work in the moment, but don't try
to force things, see where the stream takes you and work with that,
moment by moment.
The world is changing, especially in westernized societies, and
medicine is changing with it. For all the flak we millennials take
concerning our perceived threat to all the glorious capitalist
aspects of everyday American life, the housing market, our under
consumption, and our disregard for "tried-and-true" dating methods,
we are spearheading a truly productive and wonderful revolution in
the arenas of health and natural conservation.
We are investors in life experience, vitality, health, and
environment. We consume less, need fewer traditional status
symbols, and use the surplus to invest in making memories and
nurturing our unique individuality. If society is an organism,
which in many ways it is, one can view the millennial revolution as
a natural compensatory mechanism aimed to stymy the vast
over-consumption and inequality driven by superficial
We are ardent researchers of things important to us, so I have
found it no surprise that almost all millennials I sit down and
talk with about the approach to health that we are taught here at
NUHS, not only understand it, but also they are passionate about
what we have to offer.
Travel: True Millennial Currency
Even in lieu of an intimate knowledge of Chiropractic Medicine,
millennials are very open to a form of treatment aimed at restoring
true, natural function, when possible, instead of the illusion of
function provided by many pharmaceuticals. They're questioning the
system that they've become disillusioned with; they're searching
for answers outside the all too common pharmaceutical
prescriptions. They want vitality and we're perfectly poised to do
just that. The allopathic medical community will be slow to adapt,
and big Pharma and their own philosophy on healthcare will limit
Over Thanksgiving, I had the opportunity to speak with many
people about this very subject, most of whom are not millennials.
Most belong to a generation born and raised in the long shadow cast
by an ever-growing pharmaceutical industry in an increasingly
burdened healthcare system. They have felt first-hand the less than
desirable side effects of some of the unnecessary prescriptions,
and the highly processed food that, until recently, hadn't been
thoroughly studied. They, too, are coming around. There is great
growth happening right now in our profession and I'm happy to be on
the right side of it.
It seems the week before Thanksgiving is often busier than
Thanksgiving week itself. There is always a flurry of exams and
get-togethers to be had before the holiday and the subsequent time
demand of finals. This week the exams du jour consisted of Tumors
Radiology (practical and written), Pediatrics and Special
Populations, and Functional Rehabilitation. However, the academic
rigors of the week were just a small aspect of my obligations.
The Friendsgiving Spread
Friendsgiving, one of the most important holidays of the year,
is a celebration of friendship, great food, good wine (and Cat's
bud lite of course), and exquisite conversation. It was held on
Thursday night and the 18 of us, both DC and ND students, ate until
our bellies were bursting at the seams. You may be under the
impression that health nuts like us probably prepare a rather
melancholy feast, and under some circumstances that may definitely
be the case. However, being the millennial foodies that we are, the
creation of a smorgasbord of flavor and variety of gluten free,
dairy free food was practically second nature. Our bellies full,
festivities shifted into lively debates and discussions on the
topics facing the world today. It was a great prelude to a weekend
at the Mohr cabin.
Our routine shenanigans were stymied a bit by the 40º weather
that set in directly after our 70º day. Being the innovators that
we are, we quickly adapted and found more weather appropriate
activities. Jumping in the lake was still high on the list, but
took second place to cheers-ing the trimester and target shooting
with the bow. After the 9pm dip in the lake, festivities shifted
more towards indoor, warm pursuits including euchre and harassing
Blaire. Personally, I can't think of a better way to celebrate exam
success and the beginning of the holiday season. I hope you all
have a wonderful Thanksgiving as well!
The World Series ripped through Wrigleyville in a very physical
way. There was elation roaring through the streets. Complete
strangers came together to celebrate. There was teasing of rival
teams' fans, both on the streets, and a bit more vigorously, on
social media. That's as far as it went. Throughout all the teasing,
there was always a subtle thread of respect and understanding of
those allegiant to their respective teams. There are vast amounts
of reasons why people support a particular team over another, and
those reasons are respected almost universally in the sports world.
There is an understanding that no matter what team you align
yourself with, you have your reasons -- no matter how superfluous
they seem. Support for a team isn't conflated with support for the
actions or views of all the players.
The "election series" just ended and the difference couldn't
have been starker. Hate, blame and condescension was displayed all
over my Facebook news feed and the media. The schism between red
and blue opened a little further, driven by idealistic elitism and
smugness. There's a pervasive and damning attitude in the American
political paradigm characterized by the belief that, "If someone
isn't completely with us, they're completely against us and
everything we stand for."
Sixty million people, on either side of the aisle, don't vote
for a candidate based completely because of their rhetoric or even
their policies. Many voters base their vote on a single issue most
important to them and their beliefs. During any election, people
are always worried things they consider to be intrinsic rights will
be taken away. The point is we, as a country, are bigger than this
behavior. It is possible to respect people's core beliefs and
disagree in a non-toxic way. Many institutions of higher education
prove just that.
National proved to be a haven, free from the buffeting winds of
discontent. It wasn't because this was a single candidate school.
It was because those that attend this school are aware of the fact
that people vote their beliefs. Students knew that a vote for
Hillary didn't mean a vote for continued negligence with classified
information or some of her unfortunate campaign rhetoric, and that
a vote for Trump is not synonymous support for his damning campaign
rhetoric. The support and understanding within the student body
disintegrated any illusion that votes were cast out of bigotry,
elitism, or xenophobia. It was the microcosm of what America should
It's 4 p.m. on a Thursday. I'm sitting slumped in a chair, my
position a product of a slow, inch-by-inch process over the past 30
minutes. I'm too lazy to right myself, despite being acutely aware
of the glut of issues that are consequential to the posture. Not to
mention, I'm quite enthralled by the towering, white-haired
individual poised with a nonchalant confidence behind the podium
delivering one hell of a lecture. At around 6'4", if not taller, he
truly does tower above a seated classroom. Despite his stature, his
tact and unflappable demeanor make him accessible and approachable
-- attributes that make him one of the most beloved professors on
His lectures are often punctuated with bouts of jovial
exasperation, directed not at the students, but rather at a few of
the ridiculous pharmacological practices that exist "out there."
His vast knowledge is instantly apparent as words and concepts roll
smoothly from mind to tongue and questions are answered
instantaneously without pause. He takes teaching seriously, as
displayed by his dedication to stepping away from the podium when
he wishes to make a comment based off years of experience or
insight, but isn't overtly taught in the main textbooks.
Daniel Richardson, a brilliant mind in the field of
Pharmacology and Pharmacognosy, is our professor of Pharmacology.
He received his PhD from Loyola Stritch School of Medicine and
since then has been a dean at a few schools and a faculty member at
even more. Entire pharmacology programs have been written into
existence by his hand. He has taught at NUHS for many years and
these days, lucky for us, we have him all to ourselves...for the
most part. He may not drink Dos Equis, but he may just be the most
interesting man in the world.
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