Archive for tag: career

Do You Believe in Fate

The Event that Changed My Life (and Brought Me Here)

Hey All, 

I was taking a step back and looking at my life the other day. How did I get to this point in my life? Why do I believe certain things? Why do I behave certain ways? I started daydreaming about events that have had major influences on my life. Then I thought about how I got to be here at NUHS studying chiropractic medicine. The story is more fate-like than conscious choice.

When we were younger, we all had dreams and ideas of what we wanted to be when we grew up. After my dreams of becoming a superhero were gone, my ambitions changed to becoming a pro athlete when I got into high school. Then reality hit as my soaking wet, 5', 103 lb. frame made the varsity hockey team. I probably wasn't big enough to be a pro athlete. So, I did the next best thing, and considered becoming a country club pro so I could play golf all day (haha). What I didn't realize is they probably play the LEAST amount of golf. I worked at 5 different courses when I was younger; it was true. I wondered what I would do with the rest of my life.

The pic is of my junior year in high school, about the same time
I got into chiropractic. Look how young I look! Ahah!

Then, as if from a strange chance, during a hockey game junior year in high school I checked this 6'4" kid in a hockey game breaking out of the zone and just destroyed my back into the boards. I usually loved hitting the biggest kid on the other team; this time, it was a bad idea. I tried to bounce right up. My back was not having it. Sharp, radiating pain in my right SI joint (I didn't know what that was at the time lol) kept me down. A few choice words not printable on this blog came out of my mouth as I realized I probably just ended my season. I HATE being hurt. HATE IT.

After the game, I got the medical workup and physical therapy was prescribed. I've been through PT before with a shoulder injury freshman year and I religiously did my rehab with rest, painkillers and ice. Weeks into the treatment I just wasn't getting better. I still walked with a limp, let alone put enough pressure to skate off that leg. Here's where I believe my life path started changing. Out of nowhere, my mom suggested I go to her chiropractor. I agreed and the next day I had an office visit. I got EMS, adjustments and a little soft tissue. Three treatments later that week along with the chiro's recommendation to continue my PT exercises, I felt ready for the ice again. My coach was rather shocked that I had gone from probably a 6-8 week injury to a 3-week injury so quickly. I was just ecstatic that I could play again and could finally sit through class all day without pain.

After that event, I began increasing my relationship with Dr. Jen Belesi as well as increasing my interest in natural therapies and chiropractic medicine. Senior year we were allowed to get an internship instead of going to school the last 2 months. I chose to get an internship with a chiropractor that my aunt went to a few towns over. Everything had been set up for a few weeks and the day before I was supposed to start the doc called me and cancelled my Internship. I was SHOCKED and CRUSHED. A million things were going through my mind, and I thought I was going to have to go to school and be let down by this missed opportunity I had been looking forward to so much.

Chiropractic could have easily slipped by me at this time. That's about the same time my mom gave it to me straight (as parents have a knack for doing). She said, "Well, you can either give in and go back to school, or you can call Dr. Jen (the chiro who treated me for hockey) and see if there's something last minute you can conjure up. The worst thing is she says no and you're still in the same boat. BUT you never know without asking. I would call if I were you, but it's your choice."

I was pretty afraid of the phone at that age in my life and didn't feel comfortable asking adults for things. For some reason, I picked up the phone, shaking on the inside, rang Dr. Jen, and explained the situation. Her remarks, when I think about it now, are probably the reason I'm writing this blog post at NUHS today, "Sure, Christian, I'd love to have you intern! I'll drop off the office keys tonight and see you at 8am in the office!"

Wow. Just wow.

She decided to hire me on for the next couple summers when I came back from college. National, her alma mater, combined with her exceptional clinical skills were the reasons for me only applying here, and why I'm at NUHS studying chiropractic hoping that one day I'll be able to influence someone's life in the same unbelievably positive way Dr. Jen Belesi did for me. With that, I am grateful to her forever. 

As I reflect on these events, I encourage you to take life as it comes. Don't take yourself too seriously, don't except the status quo, ask for what you want, and be willing to look for the silver lining even in the most unfortunate circumstances. You never know when the next event will be the event that changes your life forever.

If I didn't get hurt in a freak hockey check...

If the chiro I went to wasn't a good clinician…

If I didn't get turned down for my internship with another chiropractor...

If I didn't get brave and call Dr. Jen...

If she didn't say YES, or even have the ability to say YES...

I wouldn't be here writing this today. So, do you believe in fate? I do.

Take home exercise: Take 10 minutes and think about the events that got you to where you are in life right now. Be thankful. What are the 2-3 biggest things you can do to change your life in a meaningful way tomorrow. Take action and don't accept mediocrity.


What to Expect Post-Graduation

My Homemade Criteria for Owning Your Own Practice

Hey Cygnets (we seriously need a better school name),

I was contacted over break by a prospective student about what to expect upon graduation with regards to practice or jobs. I have contacted a few of my older friends in practice who are a couple semesters out of school and I'll have some interview-based blogs as they get back to me over the coming weeks with some good information for prospective and current students. With that said, I'll break down my understanding of some different options post-graduation. 

I'd like to start with this: Chiropractic is a WIDE OPEN field. It's as unique as its doctors and you can do whatever you like with it if you hustle and want it enough. For instance, there are chiropractors on cruise lines, in hospitals, working in residencies, sports teams, etc., etc. I don't have enough space (or time or will power) to break down all the different paths one can take post-grad. I will focus my energies on the BIGGEST QUESTION of any chiropractic student. 

Do I start my own practice or work for someone else?  

That's the million-dollar question. Answering it comes down to a couple factors in my brief experience through looking at other doctors/students:

  1. What type of person are you?
  2. Are you good enough to practice on your own?
  3. Are you prepared enough to open by yourself?

1. Let's call a spade a spade here: some people are NOT meant to own their own practice. It's just not in their mindset to be responsible for running the practice, treating patients, marketing, and everything else that comes along with being a BUSINESS OWNER. Some docs will tell you, "I just worry about treating patients. I don't care about business." Well in the real world, you could be the best doctor in the world and if you can't get any patients in your door or pay your bills on time (+student loans) then you're going to chapter 7 (bankruptcy).

I try not to sugar coat anything because I respected my Dad for telling me how it was when I was younger so I wasn't wet behind the ears when the real world stuff started up. Don't fret too much, however. We get some business classes here; there are all sorts of practice management companies out there to help you; you can always shadow lots of doctors and they'll be happy to show you how the office management stuff runs. Point is: If you're a competent physician, you're not socially awkward, and you have even the tiniest bit of passion to own your own office, it's more than doable.

My brother and I playing roller hockey--old mighty ducks style!

Side note on bias: I am opening my own practice upon graduation (unless I get an absurd offer from a sports team or top doctor in an unique area I want to live in for a year or two). I have worked in a chiro office for 4 years and I have a business degree from undergrad. I like doing things my way without having to take orders or be held back from others, so I didn't even have a question in my mind that I was choosing to start my own practice. Sorry for the strong bias. With that said, I've been preparing. I'm not just letting life come; I'm grabbing hold while I'm ahead.

2. The second question is just as sobering. Are you good enough to see patients by yourself in your own office and get them better? The easiest (and cheapest) marketing strategy long-term is your clinical results. Get people better and they will talk. If you're still struggling to help people in 9th and 10th tri (main clinic), maybe you should consider working for another doc for a year or two until you feel confident in your clinical skills.

How do you make sure this doesn't happen? Go to SEMINARS. GO TO SEMINARS. GO TO SEMINARS. GO TO SEMINARS. Oh, yeah? GO TO SEMINARS and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Oh, yeah? And GO TO CLUBS, GO TO CLUBS, GO TO CLUBS. If you get into NUHS and you are not going to clubs, seminars or practicing your "high speed palpations", you are doing yourself and your future patients a disservice, and I did not do my job at this blog.

Adjusting isn't very hard, but it's extremely difficult if you rely only on the few hours a week we are physically adjusting in classes. We cool? I know I'm biased. But that's why I'm blogging and that's why you're reading--it's to decrease your learning curve so you don't wind up in the clinic wondering what the heck you're doing 5 visits into a patient with back pain and no idea what to do next.

Side note: Readers of this blog are statistically proven to become better doctors and are 99% better looking than non-readers. ;) 

3. Last Question: Are you prepared to be in practice by yourself? The obvious answers are have you shadowed docs, gotten a chiro assistant job, talked to teachers with practices and older trimester students? I'll do my part to help out by rounding up the interviews from some recent grads for you to answer some of your questions. If you have a specific question feel free to email me. :)

Until next week...

Peace out Cub Scout,

The Start of Summer


I can't believe we are already back at National and the start of the summer trimester is upon us! I hope you all had a relaxing and fun-filled break with those close to you. My first week of break included tearing up the kitchen with my dad (you know, man things) because my mom found some cool cabinets and wanted to redo the kitchen while I was home (she's an expert interior designer who can do anything with nothing lol). I went to Boston with my best friends from high school and hung around Fenway Park and different parts of Beantown, which I always love. I also got to 'highspeed' palpate some of my friends, which is always fun introducing them to chiropractic. My 24th birthday was indeed over this break, and I always look forward to the family dinner, reflecting on my first 24 years and looking forward to 76+ more (the Centurion Club is on my bucket list, so yeah, I eat healthy).


On the NUHS front, I AM DONE WITH BASIC SCIENCES. I AM DONE WITH BASIC SCIENCES. I AM DONE! (Thank god) After a long road of hard studying in the basic science program that just about bashes your head in, you pop out the other side telling yourself that wasn't so bad (and then you pause and realize it's what you make of it). I would like to thank my friends who became my proverbial NUHS family out here in Chicago. Without great people in my life and exciting seminars on weekends, I wouldn't have made it! Now that I'm in the clinical sciences, I look forward to the next chapter in my education and the refining and betterment of myself as a future doc!

After much deliberation, I'm staying on the full track through clinical sciences, time on the grind for the next year, and then kill it in clinic where all the hard work, practice, practice, practice, and extensive seminars, will pay off. If you don't know me by now, I will be opening my own practice after graduation. By historical numbers, less than 10% of graduates go right out into practice on their own after grabbing their NUHS diplomas.

Which is a perfect segue (I think) for next week's (and maybe the week after) blog on what to expect post graduation, the options, the disadvantages/advantages, and a few interviews with graduates for some lessons that will speed your learning curve and hopefully give you insight into what you might like to do once you're a DOCTOR OF CHIROPRACTIC.

A world of possibilities is at your feet. You game?


After Graduation

Editor's Note: John Cress, DC, formerly appeared in this spot as a student blogger for the DC program. Christian has relinquished his space to his friend John for some words of wisdom from an NUHS grad.

John CressHello again future chiropractic students. For those of you who do not follow the NUHS web logs, I am Dr. John Cress, a past blogger and a December 2010 graduate. Prior to NUHS, I earned a bachelor's degree in sports medicine and was a certified massage therapist.

Let me first say that I had a wonderful and positive experience during my time at National. For a small town guy from the Appalachian Mountains, it was quite the jump moving to Lombard, Illinois. The experience I gained from working as an intern under Drs. Mark Hartsuyker, Anna Jurik, and Bruce Hodges has prepared me very well for my career. 

Currently, I am teaching anatomy, physiology and kinesiology at the Universal Spa Training Academy (USTA), a massage school in Downers Grove, Illinois. As my first teaching position, I have leaned on my experience being a student and have shown the same compassion and integrity that I have learned from the anatomy faculty at NUHS.  

I am also an initial reviewer for CID Management, which provides utilization and peer review services to support a company's workers' compensation organization. As a reviewer, I have capitalized on the training I learned during the Evidence Based Practice class. This training has not only helped me in my position at CIDM, but also helped guide my practice. 

Finally, I am very close to opening Active Care Chiropractic & Rehabilitation in downtown Arlington Heights, Illinois, with co-owner and NUHS alumni Dr. Amanda Karm. You can find us on the web at It has been a very challenging and rewarding journey from first tri student to business owner.

My advice for future students is something I learned from Dr. Sue Darby and that I tell my own students. "It is only 15 weeks. Fifteen weeks for the semester and then you are one step closer to your goal. Practice time management and do your best to stay in the moment. This will not only make you a better student, it will also make you a better doctor." Good Luck!!