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The Blur That Finally Stopped

by Oct 19, 2018

Home » Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Student Blog » The Blur That Finally Stopped

Yes, it can be such a whirlwind that you forget which day it is.

Especially on days when you have “off”.  You wonder why the alarm didn’t go off and do the squint to peek at the phone, realizing you’re late, but in the end you have the day off: yup, slept in until 6 a.m. But, that doesn’t last too long when you try to go back to sleep and your body is like, nope, you’re up. So you study. This week, even month, has been a blur. Studying for first exams–8 to be exact.


This time it’s a little bit easier, since all 8 exams were not in the same week, but sporadic over two weeks. As for just taking one major, at NUHS you have the opportunity to dual (major). Which means one student takes two majors simultaneously. One of my fellow bloggers in the DC (doctor of chiropractic) program is a dual major in DC and AOM (acupuncture and oriental medicine) program. I alone have around 21 credits this trimester, and my friend has roughly 32 credits. But, let’s not get into that. 

It’s manageable to do dual majors. Would I consider doing it? Yes. Would I do it? No. My reasoning is different from that of others. I already have other plans lined up for me. I attend additional seminars and training outside of school to incorporate into my career path. A few weeks ago, I participated in a certification workshop for cosmetic acupuncture. Last weekend, I went to a mental health certification program. This weekend was pretty amazing: doula training. Many people ask me why am I doing all of this, my answer is simple: so I have more resources for my future patients. As one goes through any program, the university allows and encourages students to have additions to their program. This opportunity allows more connections or networking resources. 

As I continue to go through my everyday school schedule of Monday through Friday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., plus working this trimester, the months of September and October have been dedicated to weekend seminars and training. I had the chance to catch up with previous graduates at my cosmetic acupuncture certification. The weekend for the mental health training allowed me to meet Korean doctors who flew in from Korea to share their ideas about, and passion for, mental health. One interesting process was communicating through a human translator; however, the enthusiasm they have for their work still stands out through their inflections and animated hand gestures. This weekend was my doula training; I miscalculated that part a little bit. I didn’t finish my training, for I did a small thing and forgot to do self-care. 

With all the hoopla on studying for all my exams, long weekends of traveling to and from seminars, the little time I have left cramming for my studies, managing the AOMSA club, working, and the stress of taking exams…I overextended myself. This weekend, in a huge circle of 25 doulas in training, was the first time my body went…STOP! That evening when I got home at 1 a.m., I was abruptly awoken with the room spinning, my blood pressure higher than normal, my heart rate in the 40s and my blood sugar in the 50s.

What did I do? It’s more about what did I NOT do. Self-care should be the number one thing. What I learned from all of this was in order to care of others, I must first care for myself. I am the one who usually reminds people this, but I didn’t heed my own teachings. Lesson learned: eat on time, stay hydrated, sleep more, mediate, and breathe. Seminars and certifications can be taken and done at other times; not everything has to be done all at once. We have a lifetime to learn and do things. Just trust that all will work out, according to when it needs to be done.

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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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