Archive for tag: studying

Projects and Papers and Presentations - Oh My

As I started eighth trimester here at NUHS, my fellow students who had just completed eighth would pat those of us on the shoulder beginning this course load with empathy (or was it sympathy?) and mumble a few words of encouragement. Well, after completing midterms week and surviving (albeit with a few bumps and bruises), I felt pretty good and as though I had accomplished traversing exactly half of eighth trimester! Only 6 more weeks to go from here and it's all downhill right? Nope! 

I found that the work had only really started. I generally am pretty happy with my organizational skills. I tend to fill my schedule's deadlines at the start of each trimester and check in from week to week so I know what class to concentrate my efforts toward to maximize time. In other words, I'm not a procrastinator and that has helped with completing various tasks I need to successfully navigate the naturopathic medicine program's workload. This trimester is different however. 

Here's a breakdown of upcoming projects, papers, presentations that are due over the coming weeks (not counting finals week). So, over the next three weeks I have the following work to complete for each listed class: 

Doctor Patient Relationship

  • Referenced Paper - The Nature of Patient Interaction when Suffering 


  • 20 Minute Presentation - What is Naturopathic Medicine?
  • Naturopathic Practice - Fact Sheet on a practice/doctor/therapies
  • Naturopathic Practice - Patient Handout on a specific condition
  • Update Hypothetical Practice Website with assigned information

Advanced Botanical Prescribing

  • 20 Minute Presentation (with handouts) on botanicals utilized for Cardio-Vascular Conditions
  • Personal Study Plan for the NPLEX Part II Botanical Section 

Internal Medicine/Emergency Medicine

  • 20 Minute Presentation (with handouts) - Autoimmune Diseases and vaccines (including adjuvants for the vaccines) 

Functional Medicine

  • 20 Minute Presentation (with handouts) - Testing for Foreign Materials in Dental Appliances and Fillings; Explore for cross-reactions with oral microbes and dental work based upon recent research 

This list doesn't count Dermatology and Special Populations classes with their content and workload! This may seem like a lot of work with the addition of time in class, quizzes (both in class and online), cases assigned as well as work. Yet, at the same time, having been in the working world with multiple project deadlines, these fixed concrete dates allow me to plan and take care of the work that needs to be done, even if time does seem to contract as deadlines approach. This is absolutely the busiest, most task filled, time constrictive trimester I have had here at National, especially with the new work hours. At the same time, the classes are engaging, challenging and building upon previous concepts so the work doesn't seem as tedious and making progress is an enriching feeling! 

No food pics this week.  I'll do my best to whip up a new recipe or rehash something into an appetizing tidbit. 


Here's a pic of the campus during the transition to spring! Just a little snow left on the ground in mid-March with warmer weather on its way!  Hoping for an easy transition this year and many outdoor adventures in April! 

Until next week, may your deadlines be extended and you have plenty of time to do the best work ever seen!


Midterm week(s) is the time of the trimester devoid of reflection. Midterms is the time to hunker down, rehash covered concepts, make sure the latest lectures are covered, and the first round of papers have been completed and turned in either electronically or as hard copies. 

This past week or so has consisted of a combination of study, online quizzes, classroom quizzes, papers and now...midterms! That being said, this week's entry will be a bit abbreviated as I have just finished a paper on the style of practice I plan to exercise with my patients, and whether that style is informative, collaborative, deliberative, or paternalistic. Once I have turned that paper in electronically (very convenient), I will complete my "mop up" studying for a dermatology midterm tomorrow.

I define mop up studying as covering the concepts that I don't have a firm grasp upon as an exam approaches. While I study for exams, as I feel I have mastered a topic or concept, I move away from that concept and take on another topic. While I review as exam day approaches, I take the concepts that I'm not as comfortable with and spend a bit more time with them to help reinforce any "weak spots" in my learning for that exam. Takes a little more preparation ahead of time, yet I can spread out my study and not feel as compelled to cram for exams.

Once I complete the final study for Dermatology, I will move to Advanced Botanical Prescribing and study the botanicals suited for the respiratory tract in preparation for that midterm later this week. This is a busy time over the next couple of weeks and at the same time, whether from three years of practice at this point, the joining of the concepts and improvement in efficiency, or pure enjoyment of my classes, studying just doesn't seem like the chore it was back in the fall of 2010. The light is at the end of the tunnel, and I'm pretty sure it's not a train.

2013-02-27_rootveggieguyUntil next week, I'll leave you with a handy and easy recipe for making a nice root veggie side dish for the week. This dish provides plenty of carotenoids, minerals and fiber! Root Veggie Guy gives it the thumbs up!

Roasted Root Veggies 


  • 3 Organic Parsnips
  • 3 Organic Carrots (Large)
  • 1 Large Organic Beet


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Slice the Parsnips and Carrots (1/8 inch thick).
  • Dice the Beet (1/4 cubes).
  • Add to a large cooking sheet or casserole dish.
  • Cook for 60 minutes, turning every 15 minutes.

Makes about 5 servings (enough for lunch Mon-Fri).

Fall is Here--and So is Tons of Homework

Hi, everyone!

This week I am absolutely covered in homework! So far, three quizzes (two scheduled, one unscheduled), two cases and a paper! I have times during the day that I wonder what day it is as well as which class is next. Sounds funny and it is, yet I thought this stuff was supposed to 'even out' a bit as we continued through the program. Well, I guess not!

Coming up, I have a group presentation to turn in this week for presenting next week to the class, two more cases...wait, check that...three cases for next week, and start midterms the week following.


Gathering Update

On another note, planning is going well for the Gathering in November! The website is getting updated almost daily with new activities, speakers' topics and information. The opening and closing ceremony team had our first practice session last week and more to come this week (hope to have a pic of that for you next week). The banquet and band are coming together nicely for Saturday night to entertain our guests! That's only my portion of the responsibilities.

The team met today to make a short video about the Gathering, thanks to Shaon's efforts on scripting and reserving the studio. The promotion team is charged up with getting the word out to the other six schools and building a display in our bookstore window, thanks to Alison's efforts. We will have an all-organic and gluten-sensitive menu for the entire weekend thanks to the work put in by Kristen and her team. Our speakers are lined up and reserved thanks to Aubrey, John, Thor, and Erica! Also, thanks to the other teams of volunteers who are stepping up and getting all of the nitty-gritty taken care of on a daily basis as the countdown continues to the 2012 Naturopathic Gathering! A great team putting together an incredible event!

Have a great week everyone!

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!

The Home Stretch

This week, I send prayers and healing thoughts to the victims, families and friends of those impacted in Aurora, Colorado. May happy memories of their loved ones remain strong and may healing be swift and complete for those affected by this heinous crime.

This past week has been a lesson in perseverance. The coming three weeks will be a matter of academic survival! The past week has seen success, failure, moments full of a feeling of achievement followed quickly by a humbling bumble.

Many times over the past week, I just wanted take a break, catch a movie, nap by the pond, or in other words, lounge around resting my brain and doing nothing. Thoughts ran through my head such as, "What's the use?! This isn't going to matter in 4 weeks anyway! I study my tail off only to see a score like this?! I may as well just study a little; it's not going to change my score that much anyway." Well, that plan didn't hold an ounce of water.

As I pondered the inevitable case write-up, study for whichever test in one of my classes/labs happened to be the one that was next on the calendar vs. taking a nice break, I thought about my future patients. If I went to see a doctor about a health concern and was seeking advice, counsel and expertise, I would want that person to be fully engaged with our conversation. While I know that the doctor cannot know everything, I would expect him to listen, get a good understanding of why I was coming to consult him, and use every tool in his kit to do his best to get to the bottom of the matter.


While that thought crossed my mind, I took a deep breath, hunkered down and finished up the work that I needed to accomplish, as aggravating as that was at the time. This is the ethic I want to carry forward with me. Understanding that I cannot know everything and I will fail sometimes. In those times, I must understand the learning opportunity presented while we are still in the "safety zone" as students. I must carry the experience forward to have the best understanding that I can muster to be the best doctor I can be for my fellow human beings.

I am building a strong tool kit here at NUHS that, used properly, will help me as a doctor to better understand the maladies of my patients. This tool kit will help with researching the problems I need to have a better knowledge about. and consulting with colleagues who may have worked with a condition such as this before. Finally, this tool kit will help with putting together a solid, healing treatment plan to help patients return to a basis for health where that is possible.

All the talk about "sticking to work" aside, I did take a break Saturday night to enjoy a movie and a relaxing dinner. Remember, "Vitamin R" (rest, relaxation, rejuvenation) is one of the "Determinants of Health"!!!  That being said, Sunday morning daybreak at the garden was a nice recharge. This week's pic is of one of the sunflowers. By the way, the garden is coming along nicely!  Looks like we will have a bumper crop this year!

I'm thankful this week for Albert Einstein's words, "It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer." This is a man who was considered one of the smartest folks to set foot upon this planet and he described his success through perseverance. Thanks for the encouragement Al, I'll take it! See you next week!