Trimester 6 Comes to a Close

Well, finals are finished (see the rainbow after the storm), my brain is pretty tired and my body feels like it needs a bit of a reboot.


The sharing of the past four months has been fun. I wasn't quite sure that I was ready or even wanted to open up my studies, thoughts, challenges, successes--essentially my academic life for all to see--yet at the end of the trimester the first thought that comes to mind is one of gratitude. 

The theme this trimester has been tending one's garden. Through the process of blogging I have found many areas I thought were tended, yet only to discover many weeds that need to be "rooted out" so that my garden, life, classes, health, whatever needs attention, may thrive.

This past trimester was perhaps the busiest with the heaviest class load that I have attempted to this point in my studies. I had a hard time getting into the groove for the first four or five weeks, and the results showed in my grades on my midterms. So, for the second half of the trimester, I needed to redouble my efforts, find a more productive study strategy, and at the same time continue prepping for boards (another story for another time), which fell on Week 14 (week before finals) of the trimester.

Joe and Christine studying for their Homeopathy III Final

Sometimes the calendar just turns out this way, so no use overstressing, complaining or procrastinating; just set a schedule and stick to it. Combine that with recognizing one's limits, pushing them a bit, knowing when to stop to recharge, and relentlessly do one's best. Sometimes the best is not an 'A' on a test when one has 5 finals in three days. Other times, the best is straight As; the situation varies. At this point in study, sometimes a 'C' on the last final of the last day of finals week is the best, happiest grade one receives!

I'm not saying that straight Cs are something to set as an achievement goal. I believe that the difficulty of carrying a full load at NUHS is such that even the best students, on what might be their best effort at the end of a trimester on their last final exam may only have enough 'mental gas' to garner a C. This is the reality for most of us here. I believe this process--the mental marathon of medical school--takes its toll. I believe that part of the medical school process is to prove to those who are high achievers, expect perfection and for the better part of their lives have achieved perfection in academic pursuits, that failure will happen. Better to learn to deal with some minor setbacks while in school than to graduate as a Doctor, step into the role of Healer with other human beings' lives in one's hand, and not be able to deal with a difficult pathology that may require some time, problem solving and flexible thinking to solve.

One must have the attribute of "dogged determination" to pursue medicine along with passion for improving the health of others. At the same time, caring for one's self, knowing one's own limits and how to expand those limits mentally, physically and emotionally is key to understanding the effort needed to complete this course of study--this journey that only takes us students to the edge of the true school, the real world with real patients with real and debilitating sicknesses. This is where we will truly learn, and that learning will never cease until our final heartbeat.

Alrighty! I think I'm off my soapbox now! I extend congratulations to our August 2012 naturopathic and chiropractic graduates! May your journey of learning, healing and growing never end! I'm ready for a relaxing couple of weeks of catching up on reading some history books, prepping materials for the opening and closing ceremonies for the Naturopathic Student Gathering coming up in November 2012 at NUHS and even a cleanse after a steady diet of caffeine and carbs for the past three weeks!

I will be entering clinic as an observer next trimester so I'm super excited about this opportunity! This is the essence of naturopathic medical school, sitting with the patient, learning about their history, ailment and attempts to remedy it. My plan is to introduce you to some of my classmates who are interns in clinic and their motivations for becoming a doctor, share some more of my experience along with successes and failures, and have a bit of fun along the way!

I'm thankful that you chose to accept my offer of sharing a bit of my journey and hope you will continue along with me as I finish up the last year and a half of my studies! This trimester, during a very challenging time about halfway through, a quote came back to me from Dr. Seuss. It helped me to get back on track. I'm thankful for Dr. Seuss and my folks for teaching me read with Dr. Seuss books! 

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself anywhere you choose."

See you in a couple of weeks!