My Road to Naturopathic Medicine

I suppose the best way to start my tenure on this naturopathic student blog is to tell you how I got here. Naturopathic medicine found me during my senior year at St. Lawrence University in upstate New York as I sat in a course called Cross-Cultural Healing. Our professor told us we would not, in fact, be having a lecture on the topic of naturopathic medicine. We could cross it off the syllabus. Somehow, the phrase "naturopathic medicine" stayed with me, floating on my conscience over the next 3 years while I carried on about wanting to be a writer or a marine scientist (or both) and buried that intimidating notion that I really was supposed to be a doctor.


In the years between graduating from St. Lawrence and starting at NUHS, I moved from home in Newton, Massachusetts, to Dubois, Wyoming, to Seattle, Washington, to Truckee, California, and finally to Oak Park, Illinois, where I live now. Along the way I have been influenced by my experiences working for my mother's Integrative Dermatology practice, a dude ranch, an MD who specialized in exercise science and metabolic conditions, a yoga studio, a chiropractor, an acupuncturist, an environmental conservation group, a wellness spa, a ski resort, and finally, an actual naturopathic doctor.

Finally, my decision to pursue naturopathic medicine came about one breezy, sunny California day as I sat struggling to articulate to my boyfriend why I wanted to go live on a remote tropical island to study fish, and why he should come with me. In the middle of my treatise, my wise friend told me, "But you love people, Mackie. Do you really want to live on a remote island and study things that can't talk back?" Stunned, I conceded right then and there that this was true; I was just going to have to become a naturopathic doctor.

My very first class at NUHS at 8am on a Monday morning was practically heaven. Our professor, Dr. Louise Edwards, welcomed our class by describing naturopathic doctors and students of the medicine as "intelligent, powerful, eclectic black sheep with big hearts." This introduction and the rest of Foundations of Naturopathic Medicine class erased any doubts I had about leaving the easy life of a ski bum and moving to this big city to study.

So, here I am, studying away! I may be far from the mountains, woods, rocks, and rivers that help make me feel most whole, but I have found my purpose and look forward to sharing more of this experience with you through this blog! Please do come again.