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Let’s Take a Ride and Commit

by Feb 14, 2020

Home » Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Student Blog » Let’s Take a Ride and Commit

Life is like a roller coaster of ups and downs. First, it goes up climb-by-climb, step-by-step and just at the peak of the ride, you can look at it two ways: we either free fall and enjoy the ride, or hang on for dear life!

Then come the twists and turns, bumps and jolts that keep you craving more. Or, just until you decide that enough is enough. It’s how one perceives the situation. Go on the journey and learn from it, or be fearful of all the sudden movements before it even starts.


When you were a high school junior, you had to begin figuring out which career path to start. I would say maybe about 20 percent of us would have a career path and execute it to perfection, focused on what they want to be… “a doctor”. The other 80 percent are either undecided or many times change their major about three times before saying, “let’s commit”. It’s like a discussion of how long does it take to “date” before making it official. Some say three months is enough testing the waters, or decide “let’s get to know one another”. Nowadays many do not have time to date, and we have all become very superficial. Judging a person by his or her appearance happens, let’s just be real, we all do that. Then it comes to feeling the vibe or the connection. Or, it’s love at first sight, and all the feelings of just knowing that this is “the ONE”.

I’ve changed my career path multiple times, but it was always within the medical field. First, a physical therapist, because I loved all the learning about body movement therapy exercise with rehabilitation, and relearning the body mechanisms. Then it was nursing, as I have been working within the medical field for over a decade. I wanted to assist with saving lives and make a difference with teams of other health care professionals. Becoming a physician’s assistant is a “compact” version of medical school, taking half the time to pursue that position vs. becoming a doctor.

Whichever career path you choose, choose it for yourself. As my time with National is getting closer to the end, so is my roller coaster ride. The relationship that I decided to commit to with National was bumpy, and at times scary, but it will be unforgettable. My decision exactly two years ago before stepping onto campus was a safe decision; it looked nice and serene. I had all the clearing and acceptance of my transcripts, classes registered and all evening classes scheduled with other classmates that I met in the same car of the roller coaster–students dedicated to becoming chiropractors, naturopaths and acupuncturists.

Here and there were jolts of surprises, such as I knew that I needed to put work into studying and not assume all my work was just cut and laid out for me. It’s just like before the roller coaster car starts to move forward: the tracks need to be checked.

The first trimester was the first three months of my relationship, deciding if this was what I was going to commit to. I still held onto the “safety handle” with guidance and support from several academic chairs, professors and classmates. I knew right away it felt “right” sitting in on that first day of class. But when the next trimester ended, I finally let go and took it track by track. Just like the first drop. And then the ups and downs and twists. I don’t know what happened, or how I made it to this, my 7th and last trimester of my acupuncture journey. I have to laugh at this one and shake my head, but here I am. I did it. Acupuncture was the one. Acupuncture is the one. I know it in my heart.

No matter which path I considered, physical therapy, nursing, or physician’s assistant, my calling as an acupuncturist is the one. I fell in love with the first needle I touched. I explored and learned more as I signed off on each patient I saw and worked with. I am able to teach and learn from my patients, advising exercises for calming their minds from stress for mental well-being. Addressing physical pains with Tui Na massage, cupping, or take-home stretches. Collaborating and supporting other colleagues who are chiropractors, naturopaths and acupuncturists. It didn’t matter the time it took me to finish this career path. We all need to remember to set our own pace and welcome the surprises that come with it, no matter the speed, or drop of the ride.

We made a commitment. We put in the work. We need to be patient. Patient with others and ourselves. There are two sides to everything and whichever side you choose, we all will eventually come to the end of the journey.

Relationships are not one-sided. They are a partnership of giving and receiving. So, we can look back and be proud that we took the first step, hopped in, held on and learned. I gave it my all and I know this will be my forever happily ever after.

: )

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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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