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St. Patrick’s Day Weekend in Chicago

by Mar 22, 2019

Home » Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Student Blog » St. Patrick’s Day Weekend in Chicago

Another blur in my life at NUHS, but a good reminder that I am in medical school. The past couple of weeks were busy preparing for midterms. Along with papers and projects, many of us had to take boards or entrance exams to prepare for the next step for advancement in the program. Being in school is go…go…go non-stop; but, all of us continue to have each other’s backs!

Rinas Pics

This past weekend was St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Though I was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, for the first time ever I ventured in to the city on a train! As I took a seat blending in with hundreds of people dressed in green, it was energizing to see and feel all the excitement and support for the holiday. As we zigzagged our way through the train to find seats, I could see there were only three seats in all of the six cars we walked through.

After sitting down, I started a conversation with a lady next to me; I soon found out that she was a practitioner of integrative medicine! I didn’t expect to sit next to a woman who is successful in her practice, yet through all those mobs of green people, I felt called to sit next to this lady. She was very supportive, and shared her successful business path with me. We had a wonderful conversation throughout the train ride as I shared my experiences as an NUHS student, and how each of us was going through different programs. In return, she shared her view on how medicine has migrated together, where everyone is more welcoming to integrative medicine.

With my experience in the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine program, I have been feeling lately it’s time to not only go through academically, but prepare myself to learn to work with others and network. As the train was starting to get close to our stop in the city, we exchanged contact information. I am reaffirmed in how strongly God orchestrates the universe, and for how He wants us to meet and be in the places for the highest good of all. 

Except for my boyfriend and I, the group of us who took the Metra went to an all-you-can-eat brunch filled with eating and drinking. We both became tourists for the next eight hours. My boyfriend, who is from Michigan, and I took advantage of experiencing the annual Chicago River dyeing. For 56+ years, the Chicago River has run green, a St. Patrick’s Day ritual in the Windy City–and for the first time, it was great to see the event in person!

There is so much history in Chicago, yet at the same time, the city offers the promise of a bright future. We didn’t go throughout all of the city in one day, but we got to experience all the hustle and bustle of city life; how crowded and loud it was! Chicago’s architecture makes it stand tall and beautiful. This weekend, we only skimmed the surface of some of what the city offers by visiting the Alder Planetarium, experiencing the life of an astronaut. We ended the evening by walking to Millennium Park to view “the Bean” and then back to the train station. We did a lot of walking, but it was worth it to see and experience the breathtaking waves of Lake Michigan, and to be reminded of how nature’s beauty is still present in city life.

I am blessed in so many ways! I am reminded every day of how lucky I am to be in medical school, and that I have family and friends to support and love me. But most of all–for knowing what I need to find balance–what I need to prioritize the details of my life to continue to grow and become my very best “me”.

Now…back to reality after boards, entrance exams, and midterms…and to continue remakes of midterms, papers, and projects. Alright Buttercup, back to the grind!

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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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