Winter has finally arrived! We got our first accumulating
snowfall on campus of about six inches. It was a lot more than the
one-two inch prediction! The snow was dense, moist, and perfect for
making snowmen. Too bad I've been stuck inside studying!
December feels real now. The snow outside helps sets the mood,
dedicated students and nervous energy fill the library, and holiday
music and decorations are everywhere.
Students are counting down the days until winter break! Winter
break is special because it's the longest break we get, about three
and one-half weeks (depending on when your last final is) and
almost everyone goes home for part or all of it.
This is my final blog post for this trimester, but I will be
back again blogging for you in mid-January. In the meantime, please
email me at email@example.com
if you have questions about anything NUHS-related. I enjoy
communicating with prospective students, and it also gives me ideas
for future blog posts.
Be safe this holiday season, and have a happy new year!
Over Thanksgiving, my husband and I returned to his home country
of Peru. We had a wonderful stay with his mom in the Miraflores
neighborhood of Lima, the capital of Peru.
Reunited at last!
Peru has nearly all of the microclimates in the world -- desert,
jungle, mountainous, subtropical, tropical, and more. I thoroughly
enjoyed eating a wide variety of fresh fruit including papaya,
pineapple, cherimoya, passionfruit, and mango. Peru is considered
to be the gastronomic capital of the Americas, and we took full
advantage of eating delicious seafood at a few restaurants.
Since the first time I came to Peru five years ago, the organic
movement has really picked up. Peru is one of the countries where
GMOs are banned, and now it's common to also find certified organic
products at markets. There were two organic markets close by where
we purchased our fruits, vegetables, chicken, and goat cheese.
Fresh fruits sold at market
I'm exploring the possibility of having a satellite practice in
Peru once I graduate. Initial visits would be in-person when I
visit 2-4 times per year, and when I'm in Chicago, I could continue
to treat patients via Skype. The next time we go to Peru, I'm going
to look into having my degree recognized there, and what the legal
processes would be. Many people in Lima suffer from allergies
because of the air pollution, and naturopathic medicine can
definitely help address that problem!
Watching the sunset
Now that I've returned from vacation, I came to the harsh
realization that every school day through the rest of the
trimester, I have an exam, quiz, practical, or assignment due! My
first priority was to set up an organized calendar
that I talked about in August so that I stay on top of everything
and successfully complete the tri.
I've been living on campus since starting the ND program nearly
three years ago. Recently, my husband and I moved from a
one-bedroom unit to a two-bedroom unit. It was quite a process, as
this was the longest we had ever lived in one place, not to mention
it being a crazy time with midterms! Here's a glimpse inside our
Campus housing has efficiencies, studios, one- and
two-bedroom units. For two people, I'd suggest at least a
one-bedroom unit. It was a snug fit for the two of us, but we made
it work. The main reason we decided to transfer into a two-bedroom
unit was to have extra space for when family members
The main things I love about living on campus are:
Thinking back to before I started the program, my name was on
the campus housing wait list for several months. I found out about
a month (or a little less) prior to the start of the trimester that
there was a unit for us. If you've been accepted into any program
at NUHS and if there's the slightest possibility that you'd like to
live on campus, contact Marilyn in the housing department
sooner rather than later, because the wait list tends to be
I recently endured my first broken bone in a way that I least
expected it! I was wearing slippers when I went to take a 5-pound
frozen whole chicken out of the freezer. The plastic bag it was in
ripped, and the chicken fell on my foot! Initially, I thought at
least three toes were injured, but miraculously only one was. As an
ND student, I decided to put my money where my mouth is and use all
the natural healing methods that I've been learning about.
Within two minutes of the accident, I took my first dose of
homeopathic Arnica (the go-to remedy for any bruising and trauma).
I took a dose every 10 minutes for the first hour, elevated my
foot, and put ice packs on it. The rest of the day I continued
taking arnica every 15 minutes, and for another week, 2 doses
daily. The bruising and swelling were minimal, and I didn't have to
take any painkillers.
On day 2, I spoke with one of my professors who suggested I do
hydrotherapy on it. For 4 days, I was persistent with my immersion
hydrotherapy treatments doing them three times daily (3 minutes hot
water, 1-minute ice cold, for three cycles). I ended the treatments
by massaging the toe with comfrey cream to help with the lymphatic
return and bruising respectively. The discoloration peaked on day
3, and completely subsided by day 5.
On day 7, I was still limping and I told my chiropractic intern
at the clinic what had happened and she suggested we take an X-ray.
All students at NUHS, no matter what program they're in, are able
to receive free chiropractic, naturopathic, and acupuncture care at
Health Center. Sure enough, the X-ray showed a fracture just
under the nail bed. Everyone involved in my care was surprised that
my nail didn't fall off. Although there's no way to prove it, I bet
it's because of all the natural treatments I was doing!
Upon learning of the fracture, I started taking homeopathic
comfrey, known as Symphytum, which is the key remedy for bone
repair. I haven't had a follow-up X-ray yet, but I'm able to walk
normally without pain. Additionally, I was drinking a cup of
traditional bone broth, which is full of collagen, glycine,
proline, and minerals necessary for bone repair. Three times weekly
for two weeks, I received cold laser therapy to enhance fracture
Although slightly embarrassing, I couldn't keep this story to
myself because natural medicine is powerful and never ceases to
Recently I've received a few emails from prospective students
asking about finances and loans. Marc Yambao, the director of
Financial Aid, shared with me that 89% of students borrow some form
of a federal loan and that the average and median debt respectively
from the most recent graduating ND class was $160,804 and
I honestly feel like one of the best steps a student can take is
to invest in learning opportunities and seminars about
business/marketing when they are in school. A few business and
marketing classes are included in the curriculum and they provide a
structured opportunity to get a head start on making a business
plan. Having a plan, knowing what you're worth, and not being
afraid to charge that number is essential in my opinion. Working
through any unhealthy relationships with money while you're in
school will remove a barrier for when you're in practice. I
attended this free seminar to help me with that
It's really important for students to understand their financial
situation in order to have a solid plan for repayment. It's best to
borrow the least amount that you need rather than taking all the
loans that are offered to you. I want to walk you through a
hypothetical scenario about a single person (not married and
without children) graduating with debt and how repayment would work
using a student loan calculator.
Crunching the Numbers
Let's say you end up borrowing more than average, $200,000, at
an interest rate of 6.5%.
To pay back the loan in 10 years, your monthly payment would be
just under $2,300/month.
For the sake of the numbers game, let's say living expenses
(insurance, saving for retirement, car, housing, food, spending
money, etc.) will be $3,200/month once you're in practice, so you
need to bring in a net of $5,500/month.
Considering malpractice insurance, business rent, marking costs,
taxes, and overhead fees, double that number just to be safe...so,
you need a gross income of $11,000/month.
Multiplying that number by 12 months makes an annual gross
income of $132,000.
There are 52 weeks in a year, but assuming you'd like to have 6
weeks off for holidays, vacations, and sick days, plan on working
only 46 weeks/year.
$132,000 divided by 46 equals about $2,870/week of net
From what I've researched, the going rate for a naturopathic
physician in many areas is $125/hour. Dividing $2,750 by $125
equals 23 billable hours of patient care per week. This may be
considered as nearly full-time when adding in time spent
researching cases, marketing, and clerical work, during which you
aren't getting paid.
To reiterate, this is a hypothetical scenario and all factors
are variable. If you work while you're in school or if you're
married and/or have children, your loan amount may be more or less.
Interest rates constantly change (they've been between 6-7% for the
last three years). The cost of living varies depending on where you
go. The lifestyle you want to live will impact your monthly
There are also different repayment options available such as
stretching out the repayment length, using an income-based
repayment plan, starting with slow payments and increasing them as
time goes on, and more. Therefore, I encourage you to play with the
numbers based on your individual situation, and reach out to the
Financial Aid Office if you have any questions.
As our hypothetical scenario shows, paying back your student
loans on a standard 10-year repayment plan is possible.
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