No student is an island

No one is an island, but this one wouldn’t be bad for a day.

You may have heard it said that no man (woman) is an island, and I thought that for me. That was never more true than the day I walked through the doors on orientation day at Palmer College back in July of 2010.

I didn’t come from a chiropractic family and had just a sliver of understanding as to what chiropractic truly was and a passion for helping those around me. I felt really alone in a lot of ways, but luckily I had an amazing girlfriend who had made the move with me from Utah. So even though I felt alone, I wasn’t really.

But as 1st trimester began, I quickly found a couple fellow students who lived in the same building with me, and we formed a group that studied together, went to open labs together and stressed out together when exams and practicals came up. We rejoiced with each others successes and shared a shoulder to cry on when things weren’t going our way. Looking back, I really don’t know what I would of done had I not had those close friends.

And as we quickly approach graduation this year, I honestly can tell you that the friendships that I have made will last long beyond graduation on October 18, 2013 (not that I’m counting or anything).

Once you start your chiropractic education, whether it is at Palmer or one of the other schools, I encourage you to find some fellow students and bond together. Forge a friendship to help lighten the load. Becoming a chiropractor is a great journey and will be one of the greatest things you ever do. Best of luck to you in your chiropractic journey and should you have any questions, big or small, please leave a comment.

Take care and have a great day.

-Matt Sharples, 8th trimester, Davenport Campus

Why I chose Campus Guides …

I joined Campus Guides during my third trimester because I felt
something was missing from my Palmer experience. While trying to
think about the things that could make my journey through school more
meaningful than solely taking classes, I looked around campus to see
who I envisioned making the most of their time. During that time of
reflection, I saw several Campus Guides giving tours to prospective
students, and I remembered what type of impact those tours had for me.
Then I realized that all of the Campus Guides I knew were the
students that strived to do well in classes, were generally positive
people, and absolutely loved Palmer’s education and history.

I had led prospective student events at previous institutions and
saw this being a natural fit for me to help engage students and
families with questions, meet the faculty outside of class, and build
connections with our awesome alumni base. Learning about the school’s
history in depth has given me a lot more pride in what I am doing here
and what the school has to offer. Like most things in life, because I
enjoy giving my time and knowledge to others, I actually reap the
benefits, too. Campus Guides was the perfect fit for my desire to
make a bigger impact, and I am glad I accepted the challenge.

– Brian R. Hall

7th tri, check! Reflections on my first two years

Looking back on the last two years of Chiropractic school, I can see how far my classmates and I have come. At the beginning of 7th trimester when I was entering clinic, I could see how much further I still had to go. However, with 7th trimester now almost behind, I can wipe my brow and say, “I did it.”

Of all of the trimesters 1st and 7th are perhaps the most daunting. In first trimester you are wondering not only if you can do it, but if you can put forth the effort for three years. Then in 7th trimester, as you are asked to go from student to clinician, you ask yourself again, “Can I do this?” It’s a big leap from student to intern, from regurgitating information to critical thinking. At the beginning of 6th trimester if you had asked me if I was ready for clinic I would have said, “No way! I don’t know anything yet.” However, in those short four months I feel like I went through a metamorphosis and changed from just a student to a student doctor.

The same thing happened again during 7th trimester. I entered into it with doubt and excitement. Now that its almost over, I realize that it really wasn’t that big of a deal. I was prepared. I just needed to learn to trust in what I had learned in my classes, apply it and have confidence in myself. After all, the root word of education is educere, which means “to draw forth from within.” For success in the clinic, let go of some of that learned knowledge and let your intuition guide you.

It’s amazing to reflect back on the last two years of school. I came to Palmer without a science background. First trimester was like traveling to a different country. I didn’t speak the language, I didn’t know the people, and finding my way around was somewhat difficult. However, now that I am two years into the program with graduation on the horizon, I can’t believe the progress that I have made towards being a doctor of Chiropractic. So what do I know now that I wish I would’ve known then?

I can still remember 1st tri. It was overwhelming, and it took all I had just to keep up with my class load. Every week I would say, “I’ll go to club this week” or “that seminar sounds like fun.” However, I chose to stay focused on school. Now I wish I would have gone to more clubs and invested more time into trying out different techniques. I shyed away from technique clubs because I wanted to wait to learn a technique in the technique classes within our curriculum. I didn’t want to learn them wrong and then have to unlearn them. However, now that I am an upper tri student, I find it hard to make it to clubs due to other obligations. So now I feel as if I’ve missed a great opportunity to take advantage of the some of the extra things that Palmer offers.

On the other hand, I have taken three of the technique electives. Now I run into the challenge of choosing between techniques in the clinic. I also have the challenge of not only practicing and becoming proficient with Palmer Package, but also with the three other techniques that I have taken. Sometimes I wonder if I have spread myself too thin, but then I remember that education is a lifelong process. Once I leave Palmer I’ll be glad that I took these electives because I’ll have the rest of my life to become proficient at them. Learning does not stop the day you walk across the stage and receive your diploma. It really just begins. As inhabitants of the earth, we are life-long students. There is always something new to learn.

Even though I’m not completely through the program yet (only a year to go!), it’s been fun to reflect back on the last two years. I encourage you to do the same because no matter where you are at in the curriculum, it will surprise you how far you have come along.

– Annie Bernstein (Editor, The Beacon student newspaper)

Carpe classes! Take full advantage of your classes

With every new trimester comes a new adventure. It’s always wonderful completing another trimester and getting one step closer towards graduation, but what is even more exciting to me is starting a new trimester with new professors. There is such a wide array of professors, and each has their own experience and specialty. You know that if you truly put the effort in to attend classes and listen to information they are sharing, you will take away a lot of information as well as life’s lessons from that instructor.

We recently had a professor hit home on the importance of coming to class and reminded us of the fact that although the subject may or may not be our favorite, that one class you missed may have pertained to the one fact you really wanted to know about. Our professors make it known they are not here to just read to you from a textbook but to teach how to apply this information now and in your future as a chiropractor.

Share your ‘why’ with the world!

As I mentioned in a previous blog, recently I went to the “Catch the Wave” seminar in San Francisco, hosted by Life West Chiropractic College. (This is their version of a homecoming event.) There are speakers that come in to discuss all sorts of different topics, lots of networking opportunities, and vendors and chiropractic organizations with booths.

One of the speakers I enjoyed—really, every speaker was amazing—was Bill Esteb. He is not a chiropractor, but he is a chiropractic advocate because he loves the profession. His message to us was to relay to the general public our “why,” not our “what.” Basically he said don’t explain what we do. Don’t pull out research to back up what we do, give an anatomy lesson that explains how the chiropractic adjustment works, or try to convince people that they need chiropractic care. Instead, Bill Esteb said, we need to tell our “why.” We need to tell people why we do what we do. And the amazing part is that everyone will have a unique why.

This is a good idea because people respond to emotional stories better than they do to being educated and lectured. Thinking back, do you remember most of your high school or college lectures? Most of us would probably say no. But if you had a teacher that told stories and made you connect emotionally to the information, then you probably will remember those moments. Just like you can remember your first date, wedding, your child’s birth, or the day you were so excited to get your acceptance letter into Palmer! But chances are you don’t remember what you had for dinner last night or even last week. Why? Because you don’t have an emotional connection to it.

I’d like to share my “why” with you! I was called to be a chiropractor in fall of 2009 when I went to a chiropractor as a wellness patient—at least that’s what I thought because I wasn’t having neck or back pain. But after a few adjustments, I was able to get off the stomach medication I had taken most of my life for the acid reflux I was diagnosed with at birth.

This may not seem like much to you, but it was to me. It gave me my life back! I was used to feeling nauseous every day, with severe stomach pains that really interfered with my life.

I now could go out on dates without having to leave early because I didn’t feel good. I could be active without feeling nauseous. I could spend time laughing and having fun rather than lying on the couch, feeling awful. Because of chiropractic, I got to experience life!

Since chiropractic gave me my life back, it’s now my mission to help people experience their full potential in life—especially children! There are so many sick people in the world who don’t realize there is another option other than drugs.

Have fun sharing your “why” with the world! 

Stacia Kampschnieder
7th trimester student, Davenport Campus

Real winners are those who overcome

I am now winding down my 6th trimester here at Palmer, and as I reflect on my time here, it has been full of some great memories as well as some very stressful times. It’s hard to believe that next trimester I will begin seeing student patients. I’m excited and at the same time scared. I’ve spent the past 2 years learning so much information, and I wonder if I will be able to pull it all together and help my patients. Of course I know that I will have the help of a staff doctor as well as my fellow classmates, but I have to be honest and say that I am still a little scared.

During my time here at Palmer, I had the opportunity to re-take a couple classes way back in 2nd trimester. It was during that difficult time that I questioned if this career path was truly right for me. I loved what I was learning, and I knew that I wanted to help people, but could I really make it through this program?

The majority of my classmates hadn’t struggled with the academics—so I wondered if I should just give up and throw in the towel. Well, after a lot of heartfelt thought, and even a prayer or two, I knew that I could make it through. Since that time, I have worked really hard to get to where I am now. Don’t get me wrong, I still have those days of minor self doubt, but I know that I am on the right path. Just the other day I was talking with a fellow classmate and friend of mine. We were discussing how tired we are and in need of a break. I think that she heard a little more in my tone beyond the words I said because later that day she posted this to my Facebook wall: “The number one reason why people give up so fast is because they tend to look at how far they still have to go, instead of how far they have gotten.”

Once I read that, I felt the fire and conviction to succeed come to life with renewed determination. It also reminded me of one of my favorite poems. It’s called, “The Race,” by Dr. D.H. Groberg and I’d like to share it with you.

The Race 

Whenever I start to hang my head in front of failure’s face,
    my downward fall is broken by the memory of a race.
A children’s race, young boys, young men; how I remember well,
    excitement sure, but also fear, it wasn’t hard to tell.
They all lined up so full of hope, each thought to win that race
    or tie for first, or if not that, at least take second place.
Their parents watched from off the side, each cheering for their son,
    and each boy hoped to show his folks that he would be the one.
The whistle blew and off they flew, like chariots of fire,
to win, to be the hero there, was each young boy’s desire.
One boy in particular, whose dad was in the crowd,
    was running in the lead and thought “My dad will be so proud.”
But as he speeded down the field and crossed a shallow dip,
the little boy who thought he’d win, lost his step and slipped.
Trying hard to catch himself, his arms flew everyplace,
and midst the laughter of the crowd he fell flat on his face.
As he fell, his hope fell too; he couldn’t win it now.
Humiliated, he just wished to disappear somehow.
But as he fell his dad stood up and showed his anxious face,
which to the boy so clearly said, “Get up and win that race!”
He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit that’s all,
and ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall.\

So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win,
his mind went faster than his legs. He slipped and fell again.
He wished that he had quit before with only one disgrace.
“I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.”
But through the laughing crowd he searched and found his father’s face
with a steady look that said again, “Get up and win that race!”
So he jumped up to try again, ten yards behind the last.
“If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought, “I’ve got to run real fast!”
Exceeding everything he had, he regained eight, then ten…
but trying hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again.
Defeat! He lay there silently. A tear dropped from his eye.
“There’s no sense running anymore! Three strikes I’m out! Why try?
I’ve lost, so what’s the use?” he thought. “I’ll live with my disgrace.”
But then he thought about his dad, who soon he’d have to face.

“Get up,” an echo sounded low, “you haven’t lost at all,
for all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
Get up!” the echo urged him on, “Get up and take your place!
You were not meant for failure here! Get up and win that race!”
So, up he rose to run once more, refusing to forfeit,
and he resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit.
So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been,
still he gave it all he had and ran like he could win.
Three times he’d fallen stumbling, three times he rose again.
Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.
They cheered another boy who crossed the line and won first place,
head high and proud and happy — no falling, no disgrace.
But, when the fallen youngster crossed the line, in last place,
the crowd gave him a greater cheer for finishing the race.
And even though he came in last with head bowed low, unproud,
you would have thought he’d won the race, to listen to the crowd.
And to his dad he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well.”
“To me, you won,” his father said. “You rose each time you fell.”
And now when things seem dark and bleak and difficult to face,
the memory of that little boy helps me in my own race.
For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all.
And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
And when depression and despair shout loudly in my face,
another voice within me says, “Get up and win that race!” 

I hope that this blog has maybe helped you in some way, and I hope to see you walking the halls of Palmer someday soon. If you have any questions or if I can be of assistance feel free to get in contact with me. Have a great day!

Matt Sharples
6th  trimester student, Davenport Campus

Do yourself a favor: Get organized!

As another trimester of classes starts, it is time to get organized! My biggest advice to current and prospective students is to get organized early and keep it that way! Starting each trimester with all your class and exam schedules makes staying on top of assignments super easy.

I also feel that being organized helps me manage my time so that I can complete all my tasks and be prepared for all exams without stressing out too much. It even helps me be able to fit in some “me” time! 🙂

Organization is almost therapeutic for me, so it has made my first five trimesters at Palmer much easier!

Stephanie Tronnes, 6th Trimester Student
Davenport Campus

Planning for boards? Take this advice

I hope you all had a great break—at least better than mine. I spent most of the time studying for the National Boards Exam part I, and it definitely wasn’t entertaining.

The Part I board exam consists of 6 topics: Spinal and Gross Anatomy, Chemistry, Physiology, Pathology, and Microbiology. It pretty much contains all the things that we have learned throughout 1st to 4th trimesters. This is a good opportunity to review all the materials that we have gone through and to remind ourselves about the “basic” knowledge that we are expected to know as doctors. It is painful to study these all over again, but it sure did help me to go through most of the information that we have been taught at Palmer for 4 trimesters.

I am not taking any review classes but am just studying off from my old notes and a book called “Chiro Essentials” from the Bookstore from Palmer, which I hope to be sufficient. For those of you who have never taken Boards, I would recommend to find out the due dates for registering during your 3rd or the beginning of your 4th trimester—and keep on track on what you need to do to register for the exam.

There are a couple steps that you need to follow in order to successfully register yourself to take the NBCE. You need to take a passport photo, get a money order, register online, and, finally, register on the 4th floor of the Campus Center. Hopefully this information was helpful. I wish all of you the best of luck both for Board exams and this new trimester!

Yoon Mi (Lisa) Kim, 5th Trimester Student
Davenport Campus

How do you do it?

People outside of the Palmer community really don’t have any idea of what kind of coursework we take on each trimester, and I find that their new-found understanding is the result of three typical questions. The first question I usually get asked is, “How long are you in school?” My answer of three solid years isn’t that surprising to most people. They will then follow up with, “How much schooling do you have left?” When I reply with, “I’m in my third trimester,” I am met with confused expressions as the person scans my abdomen assuming I’m talking about pregnancy! I quickly add that Palmer is a ten trimester program. (Sometimes I just play that little trick to mess with people!) The third question is along the lines of, “What is your credit load?” The answer to this question is what really shocks people…The average credit load of a Palmer student is right around 28 credits per trimester. (It makes our 15 credit semester in undergrad seem like a day at the beach!) While the credit load is heavy, it is not impossible. Here is what I have learned along the way to help me be successful and still live a balanced life.

1. Plan ahead: You cannot study for exams at Palmer the night before. Well, you probably could, but I would guess you would not be that happy with your grade, and you will be exhausted for the rest of the week with possible other exams.

2. Use a calendar: You will know at the beginning of each trimester the exact dates of all your exams. Reference this frequently!!! Don’t plan a weekend getaway before a week of three exams.

3. Know when it is time to take a break: There are nights when I know that I just need to take the night off from studying. If I tried to force myself to sit down and study, it wouldn’t be productive anyway, so I might as well relax and get a good nights sleep so that I can feel refreshed to study the next day.

4. Do what you love: Every trimester at Palmer so far, I have managed to get out on my bike, hike a trail or two, visit friends and family on a weekend, and read at least one fiction book apart from my studies. These are things that I love to do, and school should not keep me from them. You have to keep investing in relationships; life doesn’t stop when you come to Palmer.

So with that being said, prepare yourself for some hard work ahead, but keep it all in perspective. And strive to live a full life while you are here at Palmer. It’s an exciting ride!

Leah Hetebrueg, 3rd Trimester Student
Davenport Campus

Part 1 boards are behind me!

Well, I just finished part one of National Boards last month and let me tell you, it is nice to have that behind me.  We all spent long days and late nights trying to cover everything possible that we thought may appear on the board exams.  I started to become anxious a couple of days before and couldn’t tell if I wanted them over with or thought I needed more time.  Friday morning on the way to the exams I put in my Bob Marley CD and, as my four year old would say, “jammed out” on the way to school realizing I was excited to see what this was all about.

As it is with a lot of things the anticipation leading up to a big event is usually more nerve racking than the event itself.  The same held true for boards.  I expected to receive several pages of paper just filled with questions and was prepared to be completely overwhelmed.  That wasn’t the case.  We received plenty of time to finish the exams and it turned out not to be so intimidating after all.

Of course everyone stands around after each exam discussing questions they thought were difficult, hoping that someone else will have answered the same giving you a little piece of mind.  But, when all was said and done, it wasn’t that bad!  The instructors had done a great job at preparing us for these exams!  I was particularly thankful for Mr. Morter, the Spinal Anatomy II teacher, and hope that we make Dr. Weinert proud with our Biochem scores. 🙂

Saturday night, my husband and I had a get together and campfire at our home where we were able to unwind and enjoy time with family and friends.  It is really hard to believe how fast the time has gone by since I started and here we are, planning our half-way party.  I look forward to all that is ahead and can’t wait to share my experiences with more prospective students in the upcoming trimesters!

Erica Boland, 4th Trimester Student
Davenport Campus