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The Journey

by Dec 13, 2019

Time marches on. In a week it will be the end of another trimester. In a few weeks, the end to another month, and shortly after to that, another whole year. The end of this year will be an end to a decade. While much in life does not depend on deadlines and specific dates, at the end of the spring 2020 trimester, I will be with the many students ending their journey at National with commencement.


When you start something, there is often the assumption that the hardest part was just getting started. Many of us procrastinate. Obstacles come up, or something just didn’t work out. It’s much like putting together an application for college/university especially medical school, double-checking the list a few times, being focused on having the necessary prerequisites finished and having a strong enough GPA. Then you get that phone call and officiated acceptance letter that you got it…whew! You think the hard part was done: but it wasn’t. 

The next step is starting the program and surviving a grueling (at times) curriculum each trimester. My fellow classmates and I agree the programs are brutal for the DC, ND and AOM programs. But did you realize that if the programs were easy, National would not be called a medical school? WE are future physicians/clinicians who attend this school. WE hold the reputation of this school. WE had to be hard and discipline ourselves in order to go through these programs. WE hold the honor and status of great health care professionals for ourselves. WE have loved and honored ourselves through this journey so WE can make a difference.

At the end of this week, many of my classmates are walking across the stage, on to one of life’s great journeys as a health care practitioner. The journey is not just starting and getting to the finish line, but experiencing the stepping stones, speedbumps, lessons, tears and laughter, and the people and the situations through which we supported and healed one another physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”

Happy studying, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, Happy New Decade and Happy celebrations to the graduates; I’ll meet you on the other side of the stage next trimester!

: )

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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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