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If I Could Turn Back Time, Would I?

by Aug 16, 2019

Home » Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Student Blog » If I Could Turn Back Time, Would I?

Here it went: Week 15. This has been finals week for many and for me, coming to the end of my fifth trimester for the Master of Acupuncture program! The decision wasn’t that easy for me to transition from the Master of Oriental Medicine program to solely the Master of Acupuncture program, but the support from my deans, professors, and classmates have given me hope. Instead of finishing nine trimesters at National, it will shorten my studies to only seven trimesters. Not many things that we would like to have in life will go the way we planned. In any part or aspect of life, there will be ups and downs, but in the end, making the right choices is what’s best for your highest good.


What is my coping mechanism for finals week? Grounding and centering through mediations and yoga to center my mind in toleration of sitting and studying for long hours. At the end of each final exam, I either go for a run and continue my training for the St. Jude’s marathon that I signed up for this coming December, or the usual outing consisting of kicks and punches of kickboxing. The physical release provides time and space where I can physically exert myself after many hours of mental exertion. We all have our modalities of an “outing”. You would think a person like me would do more modalities of Zen-ing myself out through Tai Chi or Qi Gong. Naaaaah, I’ll keep that for my patients and pass as the master Zen-like Kung Fu Panda, who in reality, loves to eat!

The decision to choose to focus only on acupuncture for me is time. Time can be an enemy, or it can be your best friend. There are many moments when we wish we could turn back time. Yet if we had that chance, we would never learn the lessons we are intended to learn. It’s much like having an eraser at the end of a pencil. If we keep erasing the mistakes we make, how many times will we keep going back through the same lessons again and again?

So, life has a timeline of its own that is permanent. We cannot go back to change our “mistakes” or the decisions we have made. The chance not to turn back time provides the opportunity to do better the next time “learning moments” come around. In the end, you learn something. Just like academically, once we take an exam for a particular class, there is no turning back. Once the exam is finished, the scantron bubbles tediously filled in, hands shaking as the work is turned in, praying to Jesus that you did your best, and letting it go.

Whatever your grade, if you pass with an “A” then bravo! Yet if you are not happy with the grade, try not to be so hard on yourself. Check to see what you got wrong, learn from that, and move onto the next exam. Whether it is people, places or events–good or bad outcomes–take a moment to pause and honor the space you have just experienced.

As there is a beginning to any timeline, there will eventually be an end. Good luck on finals and do your best, for the journey will be worth it!

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About the Author

Rina Sem

Rina Sem

Rina Sem is a student at the Lombard, Illinois campus studying in the Master of Science-Oriental Medicine program. Though working in the medical field for 10 years, she is keeping the promise she made to her father to complete her master’s degree. Rina is a first-generation American of Cambodian heritage, and passionate about her studies in the field of complementary and alternative medicine.


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