As I started eighth trimester here at NUHS, my fellow students
who had just completed eighth would pat those of us on the shoulder
beginning this course load with empathy (or was it sympathy?) and
mumble a few words of encouragement. Well, after completing
midterms week and surviving (albeit with a few bumps and bruises),
I felt pretty good and as though I had accomplished traversing
exactly half of eighth trimester! Only 6 more weeks to go from here
and it's all downhill right? Nope!
I found that the work had only really started. I generally am
pretty happy with my organizational skills. I tend to fill my
schedule's deadlines at the start of each trimester and check in
from week to week so I know what class to concentrate my efforts
toward to maximize time. In other words, I'm not a procrastinator
and that has helped with completing various tasks I need to
successfully navigate the naturopathic medicine program's workload.
This trimester is different however.
Here's a breakdown of upcoming projects, papers, presentations
that are due over the coming weeks (not counting finals week). So,
over the next three weeks I have the following work to complete for
each listed class:
Doctor Patient Relationship
Advanced Botanical Prescribing
Internal Medicine/Emergency Medicine
This list doesn't count Dermatology and Special Populations
classes with their content and workload! This may seem like a lot
of work with the addition of time in class, quizzes (both in class
and online), cases assigned as well as work. Yet, at the same time,
having been in the working world with multiple project deadlines,
these fixed concrete dates allow me to plan and take care of the
work that needs to be done, even if time does seem to contract as
deadlines approach. This is absolutely the busiest, most task
filled, time constrictive trimester I have had here at National,
especially with the new work hours. At the same time, the classes
are engaging, challenging and building upon previous concepts so
the work doesn't seem as tedious and making progress is an
No food pics this week. I'll do my best to whip up a new
recipe or rehash something into an appetizing tidbit.
Here's a pic of the campus during the transition to spring! Just
a little snow left on the ground in mid-March with warmer weather
on its way! Hoping for an easy transition this year and many
outdoor adventures in April!
Until next week, may your deadlines be extended and you have
plenty of time to do the best work ever seen!
Midterm week(s) is the time of the trimester devoid of
reflection. Midterms is the time to hunker down, rehash covered
concepts, make sure the latest lectures are covered, and the first
round of papers have been completed and turned in either
electronically or as hard copies.
This past week or so has consisted of a combination of study,
online quizzes, classroom quizzes, papers and now...midterms! That
being said, this week's entry will be a bit abbreviated as I have
just finished a paper on the style of practice I plan to exercise
with my patients, and whether that style is informative,
collaborative, deliberative, or paternalistic. Once I have turned
that paper in electronically (very convenient), I will complete my
"mop up" studying for a dermatology midterm tomorrow.
I define mop up studying as covering the concepts that I don't
have a firm grasp upon as an exam approaches. While I study for
exams, as I feel I have mastered a topic or concept, I move away
from that concept and take on another topic. While I review as exam
day approaches, I take the concepts that I'm not as comfortable
with and spend a bit more time with them to help reinforce any
"weak spots" in my learning for that exam. Takes a little more
preparation ahead of time, yet I can spread out my study and not
feel as compelled to cram for exams.
Once I complete the final study for Dermatology, I will move to
Advanced Botanical Prescribing and study the botanicals suited for
the respiratory tract in preparation for that midterm later this
week. This is a busy time over the next couple of weeks and at the
same time, whether from three years of practice at this point, the
joining of the concepts and improvement in efficiency, or pure
enjoyment of my classes, studying just doesn't seem like the chore
it was back in the fall of 2010. The light is at the end of the
tunnel, and I'm pretty sure it's not a train.
next week, I'll leave you with a handy and easy recipe for making a
nice root veggie side dish for the week. This dish provides plenty
of carotenoids, minerals and fiber! Root Veggie Guy gives it the
Roasted Root Veggies
Makes about 5 servings (enough for lunch Mon-Fri).
This week I am absolutely covered in homework! So far, three
quizzes (two scheduled, one unscheduled), two cases and a paper! I
have times during the day that I wonder what day it is as well as
which class is next. Sounds funny and it is, yet I thought this
stuff was supposed to 'even out' a bit as we continued through the
program. Well, I guess not!
Coming up, I have a group presentation to turn in this week for
presenting next week to the class, two more cases...wait, check
that...three cases for next week, and start midterms the week
On another note, planning is going well for the Gathering in
November! The website is getting updated almost daily
with new activities, speakers' topics and information. The opening
and closing ceremony team had our first practice session last week
and more to come this week (hope to have a pic of that for you next
week). The banquet and band are coming together nicely for Saturday
night to entertain our guests! That's only my portion of the
The team met today to make a short video about the Gathering,
thanks to Shaon's efforts on scripting and reserving the studio.
The promotion team is charged up with getting the word out to the
other six schools and building a display in our bookstore window,
thanks to Alison's efforts. We will have an all-organic and
gluten-sensitive menu for the entire weekend thanks to the work put
in by Kristen and her team. Our speakers are lined up and reserved
thanks to Aubrey, John, Thor, and Erica! Also, thanks to the other
teams of volunteers who are stepping up and getting all of the
nitty-gritty taken care of on a daily basis as the countdown
continues to the 2012 Naturopathic Gathering! A great team putting
together an incredible event!
Have a great week everyone!
Well, finals are finished (see the rainbow after the storm), my
brain is pretty tired and my body feels like it needs a bit of a
The sharing of the past four months has been fun. I wasn't quite
sure that I was ready or even wanted to open up my studies,
thoughts, challenges, successes--essentially my academic life for
all to see--yet at the end of the trimester the first thought that
comes to mind is one of gratitude.
The theme this trimester has been tending one's garden. Through
the process of blogging I have found many areas I thought were
tended, yet only to discover many weeds that need to be "rooted
out" so that my garden, life, classes, health, whatever needs
attention, may thrive.
This past trimester was perhaps the busiest with the heaviest
class load that I have attempted to this point in my studies. I had
a hard time getting into the groove for the first four or five
weeks, and the results showed in my grades on my midterms. So, for
the second half of the trimester, I needed to redouble my efforts,
find a more productive study strategy, and at the same time
continue prepping for boards (another story for another time),
which fell on Week 14 (week before finals) of the trimester.
Joe and Christine studying for their Homeopathy III
Sometimes the calendar just turns out this way, so no use
overstressing, complaining or procrastinating; just set a schedule
and stick to it. Combine that with recognizing one's limits,
pushing them a bit, knowing when to stop to recharge, and
relentlessly do one's best. Sometimes the best is not an 'A' on a
test when one has 5 finals in three days. Other times, the best is
straight As; the situation varies. At this point in study,
sometimes a 'C' on the last final of the last day of finals week is
the best, happiest grade one receives!
I'm not saying that straight Cs are something to set as an
achievement goal. I believe that the difficulty of carrying a full
load at NUHS is such that even the best students, on what might be
their best effort at the end of a trimester on their last final
exam may only have enough 'mental gas' to garner a C. This is the
reality for most of us here. I believe this process--the mental
marathon of medical school--takes its toll. I believe that part of
the medical school process is to prove to those who are high
achievers, expect perfection and for the better part of their lives
have achieved perfection in academic pursuits, that failure will
happen. Better to learn to deal with some minor setbacks while in
school than to graduate as a Doctor, step into the role of Healer
with other human beings' lives in one's hand, and not be able to
deal with a difficult pathology that may require some time, problem
solving and flexible thinking to solve.
One must have the attribute of "dogged determination" to pursue
medicine along with passion for improving the health of others. At
the same time, caring for one's self, knowing one's own limits and
how to expand those limits mentally, physically and emotionally is
key to understanding the effort needed to complete this course of
study--this journey that only takes us students to the edge of the
true school, the real world with real patients with real and
debilitating sicknesses. This is where we will truly learn, and
that learning will never cease until our final heartbeat.
Alrighty! I think I'm off my soapbox now! I extend
congratulations to our August 2012 naturopathic and chiropractic
graduates! May your journey of learning, healing and growing never
end! I'm ready for a relaxing couple of weeks of catching up on
reading some history books, prepping materials for the opening and
closing ceremonies for the Naturopathic Student Gathering coming up in
November 2012 at NUHS and even a cleanse after a steady diet
of caffeine and carbs for the past three weeks!
I will be entering clinic as an observer next trimester so I'm
super excited about this opportunity! This is the essence of
naturopathic medical school, sitting with the patient, learning
about their history, ailment and attempts to remedy it. My plan is
to introduce you to some of my classmates who are interns in clinic
and their motivations for becoming a doctor, share some more of my
experience along with successes and failures, and have a bit of fun
along the way!
I'm thankful that you chose to accept my offer of sharing a bit
of my journey and hope you will continue along with me as I finish
up the last year and a half of my studies! This trimester, during a
very challenging time about halfway through, a quote came back to
me from Dr. Seuss. It helped me to get back on track. I'm thankful
for Dr. Seuss and my folks for teaching me read with Dr. Seuss
"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You
can steer yourself anywhere you choose."
See you in a couple of weeks!
This week, I send prayers and healing thoughts to the victims,
families and friends of those impacted in Aurora, Colorado. May
happy memories of their loved ones remain strong and may healing be
swift and complete for those affected by this heinous crime.
This past week has been a lesson in perseverance. The coming
three weeks will be a matter of academic survival! The past week
has seen success, failure, moments full of a feeling of achievement
followed quickly by a humbling bumble.
Many times over the past week, I just wanted take a break, catch
a movie, nap by the pond, or in other words, lounge around resting
my brain and doing nothing. Thoughts ran through my head such as,
"What's the use?! This isn't going to matter in 4 weeks anyway! I
study my tail off only to see a score like this?! I may as well
just study a little; it's not going to change my score that much
anyway." Well, that plan didn't hold an ounce of water.
As I pondered the inevitable case write-up, study for whichever
test in one of my classes/labs happened to be the one that was next
on the calendar vs. taking a nice break, I thought about my future
patients. If I went to see a doctor about a health concern and was
seeking advice, counsel and expertise, I would want that person to
be fully engaged with our conversation. While I know that the
doctor cannot know everything, I would expect him to listen, get a
good understanding of why I was coming to consult him, and use
every tool in his kit to do his best to get to the bottom of the
While that thought crossed my mind, I took a deep breath,
hunkered down and finished up the work that I needed to accomplish,
as aggravating as that was at the time. This is the ethic I want to
carry forward with me. Understanding that I cannot know everything
and I will fail sometimes. In those times, I must understand the
learning opportunity presented while we are still in the "safety
zone" as students. I must carry the experience forward to have the
best understanding that I can muster to be the best doctor I can be
for my fellow human beings.
I am building a strong tool kit here at NUHS that, used
properly, will help me as a doctor to better understand the
maladies of my patients. This tool kit will help with researching
the problems I need to have a better knowledge about. and
consulting with colleagues who may have worked with a condition
such as this before. Finally, this tool kit will help with putting
together a solid, healing treatment plan to help patients return to
a basis for health where that is possible.
All the talk about "sticking to work" aside, I did take a break
Saturday night to enjoy a movie and a relaxing dinner. Remember,
"Vitamin R" (rest, relaxation, rejuvenation) is one of the
"Determinants of Health"!!! That being said, Sunday morning
daybreak at the garden was a nice recharge. This week's pic is of
one of the sunflowers. By the way, the garden is coming along
nicely! Looks like we will have a bumper crop this year!
I'm thankful this week for Albert Einstein's words, "It's not
that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems
longer." This is a man who was considered one of the smartest
folks to set foot upon this planet and he described his success
through perseverance. Thanks for the encouragement Al, I'll take
it! See you next week!
• Combined Classes
• Observing in Clinic
• Botanical Medicine
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