The first A, the first D, the first B when you thought it was
going to be an F. There are many milestones that all of us at NUHS
experience. They are the turning points that stick in our minds and
mostly serve to boost us when we occasion to remember them.
In the beginning -- my tri 1 lab group
There's the bittersweet end of pathology with Dr. Khan, and the
viscera final aka your last anatomy practical ever! The first
practical in the TAC shaking in your dress shoes and sweating
through both your nice shirt AND your doctor coat. Grading yourself
on that first practice spine and extremities practical and
realizing you failed only to pass it when it comes to the real deal
a week later. The first time you watch Dr. Lou take her shoes and
socks off and not miss a beat in delivering her lecture.
My group & me after our last ever anatomy practical (photo
The first time you've ever thought of J.Lo and a plumber in the
same context, and the first time your head jerks up because Dr.
McRae just SHOUTED in lecture. The moment when you realize that the
3-compartment model actually kind of makes sense (maybe). There's
the first splash or smear of cadaver fat on your lab coat, and the
first time you realize you're actually super hungry in the middle
of dissection lab. Experiencing your first adjustment and then the
first time you get a cavitation when giving someone else an
adjustment, yes! The first exam during which you notice your palms
are not sweaty and you're actually breathing just fine. The first
time you forget to return the markers to the library desk and you
have to pay a silly amount in fines (and decide to buy your own
My nametag milestone
There's the last time you have Dr. Ed for class, and the last
time you sit through one of Dr. Humphreys' neuro-heavy lectures.
The moment you realize that Dr. Richardson's stories just keep
getting better, so you vow to pay attention and you learn tons of
pharmacology in the process. And then you realize that Dr. Ed had
Dr. Christiansen as a professor, too. The day you receive your
official intern nametag to be worn at all times in the clinic. The
first time you tie a tourniquet and choose a vein in phlebotomy
lab, and the first time you see the red flash. The first draw you
mess up that either makes blood squirt, your patient cry out, or
leaves behind a little hematoma (whoops!)
And then there are the things I haven't experienced yet but that
I anticipate -- the first patient in clinic, the last patient in
clinic. The first colonics patient, the first real live
constitutional hydrotherapy you administer in clinic. And before
you get to the clinic, there's the first real live gyn exam and
digital rectal exam on a sym patient. Then, there's the first
actual real patient presenting for a gyn exam, or the patient who
refuses to receive a treatment you really think would help. The
first time a patient cries in the exam room. There will be the
patient who must be told the less-than-favorable results of a blood
test; the patient that keeps you up at night wondering if you said
the wrong thing, or the right thing. There will be the patient who
isn't responding to treatment, and the patient who comes in singing
Officially registered for boards
And then there is this week's milestone; registering for the
NPLEX Part 1 Biomedical Science Examination. I've long been
thinking about February's exam, but registering today made it REAL.
Honestly, it's almost too bad I couldn't have registered several
months ago, as it would've brought that realness to life at the
time when I should have started taking my preparation more
seriously. Oh, and there's another recent milestone; watching that
first video in the board review series and having your eyebrows
permanently raised in anguish as you painstakingly extract basic
biochemistry from the recesses of your brain. You must take several
deep breaths to calm those nerves you thought you were done with
after that exam when you noticed your palms weren't sweaty and your
breathing was even.
I have A LOT of information to retrieve from the depths and
bring back to the forefront of my memory by the first week in
February. I'm totally anxious about it, and every time I sit down
to study, I have to fight the urge to ditch it and do something
else that doesn't make me feel quite so bad about myself. Lately,
I've been reflecting on how far I've come in order to remember that
all the basic science information is there; I DO own it. Writing
this post has helped me continue that affirmation process, and I
hope it's maybe done the same for you in some way... or maybe it
made you smile or laugh, or perhaps it made you curious about what
lies in store.
Whoa, here we are! It's already my last post for the trimester,
a sure sign we have only a handful of days left until we're done!
Week 14 signals the beginning of exams with all the lab practicals
taking place this week. My E&M Extremities practical on Monday
has required me to learn and understand about 60 different types of
orthopedic tests and 44 different types of
mobilizations/manipulations/adjustments. Let's just say this is
prime evidence of how medical school is like drinking from a fire
This trimester has been a significant one for me. I started the
Clinical Sciences portion of my degree, made a decision on when to
take boards, followed my intuition and decided to do a dual degree
in massage, and learned so much from my sim-patients about what the
real experience will be like. It was also the first trimester that
I haven't had any classes with any of my best buddies with whom I
started the program. This is a blessing and a curse because I miss
their company terribly, but I have also made new friends who I
value just as much. During this tri, I traveled to see some of my
favorite people make the promise to spend their lives together, my
best and oldest friend got engaged (I never told you this, ah!), I
wrote a blog post here that elicited tears from an exceptional
friend (the first time my written words have ever inspired such
emotion), and my parents sold my childhood home. All this, and it
still feels that these summer months have absolutely flown by!
If you're not here at NUHS yet, you'll soon learn the value of
our brief breaks between the trimesters. This time I will head
east, and go on a 4-day backpacking/hut trip adventure in the White
Mountains of New Hampshire with my family and Hanzi to celebrate my
Dad's 60th birthday (wish us happy trails, we might need it!).
After that, I plan to visit with some of my best college
girlfriends; one of them just bought a house -- OMG -- grown-up
things! Hopefully, I'll find a day to shadow my Mom at her
Integrative Dermatology practice, and will crack my Boards study
guide at some point (we'll see about that last one). I hope the
rest of my peers also have something fun, and especially something
relaxing, planned for break!
But before we can totally engage with our time off, we have to
give that last major push through finals. WE CAN DO IT! Remember,
it's OK for life to be totally, completely unbeautiful
right now. Also, the world is a whole lot bigger than NUHS
Throughout my post is a series of photos I took around campus on
the Friday before Week 14. I asked students to show me how the
impending last 2 weeks of the tri makes them feel; this is what I
saw. General consensus says we're all a little crazed, a little
worn out, and a little hungry for the sweet stuff...so don't worry,
here's the evidence that if this is how you feel, you're not
Lastly, a little blessing for us all; may our professors ask us
the questions to which we have all the answers! Good luck,
I told you all about me last week, which is good for foundation,
but now I have to catch you up on what actually took place during
my first week of the summer tri!
My first week of classes in the Clinical Sciences phase was
awesome. We are at the point now where we get to apply the
information we've learned about how the body works to clinical
situations; how a patient would present in clinic. So far I think
GI & GU & Reproductive Systems is my favorite class. We
talked about fascinating stuff like where the problem comes from if
a patient in pain vomits or has black stool. I suppose only doctors
and future doctors can be so enthralled with the color of poop and
whether or not someone's going to vomit so as to make it their
favorite discussion of the week. I must be in the right place!
Digging around the NUHS botanical
I ended my first week of the trimester at the garden party on
Friday evening. Those of us who love to dig in the dirt or
who want to learn more about medicinal plants meet at our modest
botanical garden where we gather to pull weeds, laugh, review, and
learn about the plants from our professor, Dr. Lorinda Sorensen.
Thumbs up from my friend John who is as happy as I am to spend his
Friday evenings diggin' in the dirt!
In contrast to our first week, this past week it rained. A lot.
The lacrosse practice I usually coach was cancelled due to the
chilly, wet weather. Despite this, I did manage to commute to
school by train/bike on Thursday, and the rain held off just long
Lilacia Park in full bloom! It's
located next to the train station in downtown
Lombard. I wandered through while
waiting for the train to arrive.
Mostly, I spent this rainy week struggling over whether or not
to take the NPLEX Part I boards this August. I am eligible to sit
for the exam now that I have completed the Basic Sciences phase.
All the other
ND schools have the summer off from classes (as far as I know),
and many of their students study all summer long. Here at National,
I am taking a full course load of 28 credits and the board exam
falls during the week right before final exams. While I don't doubt
that I COULD do it if I HAD to, the prospect of studying every free
moment all summer long is unpleasant and intimidating.
It's decisions like these that make me realize the importance of
walking the walk. As NDs we will advise our patients to optimize
the determinants of health -- adequate sleep, hydration, community
support, and healthy food -- to name a few. It is a true challenge
to live the life of a student and embody naturopathy at the same
time. My conclusion has been to take the board exam in February.
This decision comes after listening to the advice of upper tri
students, and also by listening to my own heart. In doing so, I'm
embracing the reality of what it takes for me to stay happy and
healthy, all the while keeping my eyes on the prize: McKenzie
• Leaves, Flowers, Berries, and Bark
• Farmer's Market
• Should I Study Massage Therapy, Too?
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