I am now in 9th tri and just a few short months away from being unleashed upon the world as a doctor of chiropractic.  Amidst the seemingly endless lessons I have learned at Palmer, one unspoken principle has been demonstrated and reinforced over and over since the beginning of my journey in Davenport is this: Balance.

The first year of the PCC-Davenport curriculum is packed with the basic science classes.  Through classes such as cell physiology, biochemistry, gross and spinal anatomy, I learned the intricacies of balance within each living cell of our bodies.  I learned the balance of energy production and utilization, along with the balance between our neurological system and muscular system.  I learned how important balance is to everything we do in life from the most simple, such as breathing, to the most complex such as conscious thought.  Outside of class, I learned to balance 30+ credit hours, studying, open labs, sleeping, making new friends (part of which involved becoming a member of the world’s oldest chiropractic organization, the Sigma Phi Chi Sorority), and adapting to a new area of the country and a new city.  While I lived in the largest city in Montana during my undergraduate years (about 90,000 people), moving to the quad cities area of about 400,000 people was still an adjustment (pun not intended).  My first Midwest winter was nothing short of a system shock and I think I called home every week with a new eye witness description of weather accounts!  P.S. Freezing rain is something you would never believe until you see it, it is beautiful!

In my second year of Palmer, learning patient assessment became more of the focus with classes in physical diagnosis, radiology, orthopedic testing and chiropractic evaluation/techniques.  Through these, I learned the balance of using knowledge of anatomy and proper function to gain information from the body.  I learned the balance between doing a quick exam and still doing a thorough exam without cutting corners.  I learned how to balance x-ray spinographic analysis and instrumentation with what patients physically present with.  Outside of the classroom I had lessons in balancing relationships and school.  I learned that as rigorous as the curriculum was, I still needed to spend time with the people I love and care for and to make sure they knew they were still an important part of my life.  I learned to balance extra-curricular activities as well.  I joined the Campus Guides organization on campus through which my understanding of the history of chiropractic and the significance of our campus as the fountainhead of chiropractic was deepened and enriched.  Coming from a medical background previously before Palmer, I often had many internal struggles with how my new view on healthcare fit into my definition of healthcare and I had to learn how to let go of my qualms with some of the extreme viewpoints out there in chiropractic and accept that my model of chiropractic is just as valid as anyone else’s.  I learned that while I have been exposed to many different viewpoints on what chiropractic is, what it is not, and how it should be utilized, I do not have to take any of those viewpoints as dogma.  Chiropractic philosophy comes from within just as innate does.  You don’t have to build it, it is already there – you only have to find it within yourself.

The third year is the transition from classroom to clinic.  This portion of the curriculum has been the most eye-opening for me.  Now, I am learning to balance being a technician with being a doctor.  I am learning to connect the dots between my basic science classes (such as anatomy), patient presentation, and how I will treat that patient based upon those two factors.  I am learning when to talk to patients and when to shut my mouth, observe and listen.  I am learning to talk with patients and not at them.  I am learning to think on my feet about what the patient is presenting with as they describe it and how I will narrow down the growing list of differentials in my head while still paying attention to what the patient tells me verbally and physically.  The most impactful lesson I am learning now is to trust the knowledge and skills I have acquired the last two years and to be more confident in myself and my abilities.  Outside of class I am learning to reconnect with the world and get out of student mode.  I am learning to open doors and make opportunities for myself and my future.  And I am learning to balance my ultimate goals and ambitions with the process that is needed to achieve them.

So back to this concept of balance and what I have learned here at Palmer College of Chiropractic…Chiropractic seeks to restore balance within the body so that balance outside of the body may be achieved.  Don’t forget that as you plow through your years at Palmer.  Remember to play, laugh, love and relax; otherwise no matter how “well adjusted” you are, you are wasting the gift your innate is giving you.

Alicia Ruiz, 9th Trimester Student
Davenport Campus

On chiropractic philosophy…

When I sat down to write my new blog I had all intent to write about technique, more specifically what technique I wanted to learn. But this past weekend during Homecoming something was brought to my attention. It all started when I was hanging out in the lobby of Vickie Anne Palmer Hall with some fellow Campus guides. I walked into a conversation that was already in progress when one of my fellow guides (who shall remain nameless 😉 ) asked me what should be a simple question. “What is the chiropractic philosophy, and more importantly what is the teaching philosophy of the school?” Now I think he asked me this question partly because that was the discussion that I walked in on, and partly because I think he likes to be a little obnoxious. Whether he knows it or not he really got me thinking. It’s something that has been in the back of my mind for a while and gets brought up every once in a while when people ask me about philosophy. What is philosophy? And more importantly what is my philosophy?

As I explained in my last blog I did not grow up going to the chiropractor. I really didn’t know what a chiropractor was until my junior year in college. I did not grow up like many of my peers hearing the chiropractic philosophy. I got my first taste of it when I was accepted to Palmer and asked to write what my philosophy was for a scholarship opportunity. Now I was no philosophy major in undergrad at the time I had no idea why they were asking me what my philosophy was. So I did what any tech savvy person of my generation would do. I went to the internet and looked up Palmer’s philosophy and wrote about that. Now I have to ask myself what is Palmer’s philosophy? And is it really mine, or is mine different? To me it’s like the lyrics of a song. I can hear the words. I can know what these words mean, but do I truly understand what the artist is trying to say?

As I started class at Palmer this philosophy thing kept coming up. It came up in my classes and in my Campus Guide application. What is your philosophy? I started to learn how important philosophy really is to Palmer and my education while I am here.  As Dr. Bohgal will ask you in your Toggle class. “Can you really explain chiropractic to your patients? What if you are in the grocery store and someone comes and asks you what chiropractic is, could you answer them?” Something that Palmer is starting to teach me is that it is so much more than just knowing the anatomy and physiology of the body, as well as having good technique. You have to know what chiropractic is and be able to communicate it to anybody that might ask.  It’s about having purpose, intent, passion, and love for what you’re doing. You can’t have one without the other. The hardest part about being a student is finding a balance for all 3: science (anatomy/physiology), art (technique), and philosophy.

Devan Lysen, 4th Trimester Student
Davenport Campus

Get Involved!

Chiropractic school is tough, and many students choose not to get involved with extracurricular activities for a variety of reasons. My experience has been that if you just commit to doing some additional activities, you can do well and in school and get the added personal development sticking your nose in a book just doesn’t get you.

Even for those with families, you can still get involved. I am married and we had our first child just after a year at Palmer. Even with these additional responsibilities, I have found time to be involved in technique clubs, attend campus events, and serve as a campus guide. The personal growth achieved through these activities has been priceless and I still spend plenty of time with my family. I know of other students who have bigger families than I do and are just as involved as I am.

Of course, exercise wisdom and don’t over-do it. You need balance while you’re a student. Just make sure that balance includes some extra-curricular personal development.

Brandon Wilson, 6th Trimester Student
Davenport Campus

Homecoming is here!

Hello! Wow homecoming is here! This will be the first homecoming that I will be attending and I am so excited. With so many amazing chiropractors that will be speaking I don’t know how I will decide which ones to go listen to. But, as a campus guide, the event I am most excited about is the prospective student interactive classroom event! Where I hear there will be 100 plus excited future students and their families. The reason I became a campus guide is because I love talking with new students about why they want to be a chiropractor and see the excitement on their faces.  And there seems to be no better time to bring prospective chiropractors to campus than during homecoming when so many students and alumni will be bustling around campus!

From my personal experience as a past prospective student these events really give people a chance to immerse themselves in what life is like at Palmer as well as providing the opportunity to meet some of their future professors. I remember when I came on the interactive classroom event, it was about a year prior to starting here at Palmer and I had a blast. It really got me pumped up about my chiropractic education and helped me realize that moving across the country was the right thing to do.

My favorite part was the anatomy lab, which was my first experience holding a brain and spinal cord in my hands. However, my dad who accompanied me on the trip was not as excited about this as I was.  He was definitely a trooper – he didn’t say anything about the smell or being grossed out by all the brains spread about the room.  I can’t wait to see what parents are like my dad standing in the background while the excited future chiropractors go to work examining the brains and spinal cords. After all the central nervous system is what we as chiropractors devote our lives to in order to help our patients live healthy lives.

Kaitlin Bowen, 4th Trimester Student
Davenport Campus

Why I love Campus Guides…

Well I have got to level with you all. Being a campus guide at Palmer College of Chiropractic Davenport is the most amazing opportunity that I have had, aside from working towards my DC degree. The reason I feel so strongly about this has to do with what we, as guides, represent. In my mind, the campus guides represent the best of the best that Palmer has to offer. We stand as ambassadors of the college and are always ready to go the extra mile in whatever capacity we are asked to participate. I take great pride in knowing that I was selected to join such a select and elite organization.

One of my favorite activities with the campus guides is to give tours of the college to prospective students. I just recently completed my first year of the DC program, and as I start the second year of the program, I look back and can’t believe how fast time is going by. When I give a tour to prospective students, I often look in their eyes and see so much of what I felt when I was in their shoes. I see excitement, anxiety, a little fear, determination, and most of all passion. I felt all of those feelings as I walked the halls of the college, listening to my campus guide as I was trying to figure out where to obtain my education. I love answering their questions and finding out what has brought them to Palmer. When I meet with these prospective students and their families, my desire is to share with them my passion for chiropractic and help them in any way that I can.

At the conclusion of all my tours I always hand out my business card to anyone who wants it and tell them they can text or call me anytime, day or night. I’ve even created a Twitter profile @kingcampusguide where anyone can ask me questions about anything pertaining to Palmer and life as a student. For me, being a campus guide is all about giving back to Palmer and helping to spread the message of chiropractic to as many people as I can. I love Palmer and I love being a campus guide. If you or anyone you know has a question about Palmer or chiropractic, feel free to drop me a tweet or send me an e-mail. (Put attn: Matt in the subject line.) I promise I’ll get back to you ASAP. Thanks for your time and remember in the words of B.J. Palmer, “Throw away your wishbone, straighten up your backbone, stick out your jawbone and go to it”.

Matt Sharples, 4th Trimester Student
Davenport Campus