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In the Middle of a Hurricane

by Jul 5, 2019

Home » Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Student Blog » In the Middle of a Hurricane

I am nearing the halfway point! In about a year, I will be done with the MSOM program at NUHS. Honest truth: it wasn’t easy to get this far, and many times I have wanted to give up and go back to the hospital working at my old job. Even though there are other programs at National everyone says are more difficult (the Doctorate of Chiropractic, or Doctor of Naturopathic medicine), I can both agree and disagree.

Chinese Herbs 2

I agree that at times it can be easier, as not all courses are 100% Western medicine. (The curriculum of the OM program does have many Western classes, just not an overload of them). An example of this would be that in the DC and ND programs students are required to take three to four radiology classes. As AOM students, we take one. However, that one class is condensed, compared to the three to four on the DC and ND sides that are spread out. On top of that, we also have to learn another language: Chinese!

I do laugh at myself, because I didn’t realize that essentially, I was signing up to take Chinese as a fourth language (eyes rolling)! Many of the herbs we learn are tested on the exams in Chinese, and of course Latin/English. However, I will admit that many times I use Google to find herbs that have a Latin or English equivalent in order to help me remember them more easily.

There are 361 classical acupuncture points organized according to the 14 meridians, eight extra meridians, 48 extra points, and scalp acupuncture points. The coolest thing yet is that some points–which are hard to pronounce–have the most beautiful meanings. For example, groups of points called “Window of the Sky points” are of classical function, and basically treat the imbalanced flow of qi and blood. The following table summarizes the function for each point.


National is a very diverse school with opportunities to grow and learn, and I truly appreciate my professors of all backgrounds–those who are Chinese, Korean, Indian and of course American. I am thankful to have many friends with whom I can study, grow, learn, collaborate, and cry as we encourage one another through the ups-and-downs of the trimesters.

In just a few more weeks, there will be a new group of AOMs, DCs, NDs, massage therapists, and biomedical science undergrads who are going to leave campus with their degrees. We have all learned so much since we first began! I remember my first day in the spring of 2018 when I met so many other new students who are now my classmates. We have grown to be very good friends, even I would say, as close as a family. At times we whine and cry, but of course share the excitement of successful exam results. As an intern in the clinic, I am not only able to use my knowledge from lectures, but seeing patients actually makes it feel more real.

At this moment, I am halfway through the program and anticipating graduation in four trimesters. It does get easier, and clinic makes it so much fun–I guess I am doing something right!

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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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