International student woes

Canada-passportWell, this one goes out to my fellow international students. Before traveling, check your travel documents! I have had a very interesting summer break dealing with an expired passport and an I-20 that needs to be signed.

Living and going to school abroad is awesome! You get to see a new place and a new culture and meet a ton of new people. I truly think traveling away from home for school has been one of the best decisions in my life, helping me to grow and learn in huge ways I may not have had I stayed at home. The opportunities are endless, and the more you chase them. the more of them seem to pop up. So don’t be afraid!

The process to go to school abroad is a bit of a task though. First you have to apply to the schools and get in, then you have to apply for financial aid to prove you can afford to go to school there, and then you have to get a special visa that allows you to stay in the country for long periods of time. Not to mention all the banking, phone and other small things that come along with moving to another country and away from home.

But once you have all these things figured out, you’re on your way! The only thing left to do now is remember that each year you have to get your I-20 signed at some point before you travel and also check to make sure your passport isn’t going to expire anytime soon. Otherwise you might run into the problems that I did trying to travel home to Canada.

I want to make a note that school is very busy, and I just got busy and didn’t even think to look at the date of expiry on my passport before traveling. So the night before trying to fly home, I noticed and the airline wouldn’t let me fly across the border. So I had to rebook my flights within the USA to get close to home, thinking I could drive across the border. At this specific crossing, you can drive across with an expired passport, at least in Canada. You just need to have your birth certificate. Well, I don’t usually travel with it, so I had to have someone mail it to me from my house at school. Then when it finally came and I got back into the country and went up as soon as possible to renew my passport (so I would have it in time to get back to school), they tell me I need to have proof I’m traveling within 24 hours to have it done express service. So there I was stuck up here, waiting to get my new passport so I could fly back to school.

Learn from my mistakes, guys, this one was a big hassle. I will for sure be setting reminders in my phone for when my documents need to be renewed from here on out!

Cheers all and welcome back to school!


The After Boards Fog

Well Boards are over, and now it’s time to get back to reality. The trimester is moving full steam ahead, whether we are ready for it to or not.

This week has felt a little like slamming into a brick wall where all of the things I was ignoring or putting off to focus on Boards and study need to get done, and I am unprepared for them. This weekend is going to be a much-needed reset. I need to actually look at my calendar and figure out all of the assignments and exams and practicals I have and when they are, do laundry, get groceries and maybe even sleep in a bit.

It has been hard to focus in classes this week. I feel pretty exhausted from studying all the time and like I just want a break to relax and not spend every minute studying. But, on the other hand, I also feel like I have so much spare time on my hands. When school is done and I don’t have to spend the next six hours in a study room cramming information into my brain and I can just spend an hour or two going over things, it feels pretty good.

I think by next week things will be back to normal, but it’s definitely been a bit of a crazy week, feeling like I don’t know what is going on and like my brain isn’t working all the way, resisting putting more information into it.

A Reflection on Part 1 Boards

National Boards is about studying, studying, studying.

National Boards is about studying, studying, studying.

The weeks before Part 1 Boards were pretty crazy. Fifth trimester was just starting up, and our class load that tri was fairly substantial. At the same time as this, we were all feeling pressure to review everything we have learned over the past year here at Palmer so as to prepare for Boards.

The days were long. I would be up at 5 or 6 a.m. to get ready for the day, sometimes going for a run or heading to the gym to clear my head before a long day of school and studying. Classes this trimester start at 7:30 a.m. and go until 4 p.m., so the day was long already and then after all this I would find a study room and start reading through review material until about 10 p.m. each night. This was a pattern for the first three weeks of the trimester.

It felt like there were so many concepts and details to go through, and the more you dove in to learn something, the more information there seemed to be and it was almost overwhelming to think of all the questions they could ask.

It is a bit of a game studying for Boards. There are things you focus on because professors and other students and even review classes will tell you certain things that boards will focus on and that you should know a certain thing really well. So the entire time you are studying, you’re trying to learn all the exceptions and rules and trying to guess what things seems more important to know that they would ask.

The stress was high for sure, but I think it’s good to be a little stressed about doing well, I think this means you care about it. You want to do well, and it’s important to you, so you worry and you stress, which helps you to focus and move through all the review material.

Overall the studying was good. Going over some things made me feel really smart, and it helped me to start putting things into a bigger picture instead of just small details. It has proved to me how much I have learned and how far I have come in a year and made me really proud of myself.

I hope all my classmates feel that way after taking Part 1 Boards. And if you haven’t yet, I hope you feel like that when your time comes.




Part 1 Boards – The Exam Process

National Boards security is serious business ... well, not this serious, but serious enough!

National Boards security is serious business … well, not this serious, but serious enough!

So a lot of people were right–they tell you Boards aren’t that bad and that you are going to be fine and that you are a good student and you know more than you think, so you will survive. They were right.

When you arrive at the school in the morning, you need to make sure you aren’t wearing or holding or have in your pockets anything that the NBCE has on their “not allowed in” list, which includes everything except the clothes your wearing, two pieces of ID and a key (but the clothes can’t have hoods or baggy pockets, and the keys can’t have a key fob on them).

You come to the test zone and go through a security checkpoint, and then you find the room where you are supposed to be writing the exam. Once you go into the room you check in by showing your two pieces of ID, and they give you a lanyard with your picture on it, which you are expected to wear all the time. The seats are assigned, so you go find your seat at which there is a name card, a mechanical pencil and some ear-plugs.

Once everyone has checked in and found their seats, the proctors hand out the exam (which is sealed) and you are not allowed to open it until they have read through the entire instructions and allowed you to open the exam. They read through these same instructions before each exam so you get used to the process pretty quickly. Once the instructions have been read through and you have filled out your exam scorecard, you wait until the proctor says you may begin the exam.

Once the exam has begun (90 questions to be completed in 75 minutes), they will only allow you to leave the room during scheduled breaks or escorted by a proctor. If you have finished your exam by the time there is 30 minutes remaining, you may leave but if you haven’t, you must stay and wait until the 15-minute remaining mark at the next allowed break.

When you have been let out of the room, you can go do whatever it is you want to until the next exam start time. Then you have to go through the entire process again, starting with going through security.

It was a pretty crazy few days!


Part 1 Boards – The Exams

test timeSome were hard and some were not. There were definitely questions that I knew on all the exams, but there were also questions that I didn’t know on the exams, too. I was really surprised by spinal and general anatomy at how straightforward and easy the questions were. These exams were the ones we had on the first day. And I felt really good after finishing that day. I was thinking to myself, “If only they were all that straightforward. I can’t believe I spent so much time stressing out about a lot of little details!” But the next day was a little harder.

I thought general anatomy and spinal anatomy were going to be the hardest exams because they cover the most material and seem the most pertinent to being a chiropractor. But they were, in my opinion, by far the easiest exams, and it was physiology and microbiology that seemed to ask the most random information instead of the big concepts.

That was the most frustrating part about the exams. You would think that they would ask you questions relating to the things that are the most important to know or that will be information you will use every day. For example, plexus information or cranial nerve information or even facet orientation and receptors in the skin. But none of that stuff was heavily tested. One or two questions were asked about things that I thought were going to be a large portion of the exams.

But the end of the day on Sunday, I was definitely burnt out, and I could tell as I was writing the exam that I was being a little impulsive. They would have questions about things that I didn’t review or that I didn’t remember anything about, so I would just choose an answer I thought sounded right by breaking down the word or going with my “guess letter,” which is a letter we all decided we would pick if we didn’t know the answer.

But looking back on the day, I think it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be, And it was a bit of a relief to see others felt the same way that I did or that I did know some things in the exams.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens when the scores come out in a month, because there is nothing we can do now!


Headed home

It's true, there's no place like home.

It’s true, there’s no place like home.

So I unexpectedly headed home to Canada for the break. On these short breaks that are only about a week, I don’t usually try to get home because the idea of traveling and having to meet with everyone at home and flying seem too stressful. Usually all I want to do is just get outside and get fresh air with my pooch or lay on the couch and watch Netflix. But this break, since I hadn’t been home for a pretty long time, my parent’s both really wanted me to come home. So it was last minute, and we were booking flights and organizing to get me home.

I knew I would have to be disciplined and use a lot of the day to study and not get too caught up in meeting with friends and relaxing because I needed to review for Boards. But I was excited to see my family, and knew I’d get a chance to watch my brother play some hockey, do some wedding planning and pick up some new contacts. So I figured it would be a great break, but it would go by too fast.

Every time I go home I feel like I have to plan to get all my chores done, see the doctor and the dentist, go to the bank, pick up more contacts and visit with friends. But these things definitely needed to get done. They’re hard to do over the phone or when I am living out of the country.

I hope everyone had a great break and that some of you got some much needed family time like I did.



40 percent a doctor!

I'm almost half-way there!

I’m almost half-way there!

Well, everyone, I made it this far! I successfully completed my fourth trimester at Palmer, and can say I am 40 percent of the way done. Saying it this way really puts into perspective how fast the time has gone. With National Boards testing right around the corner at the beginning of 5th trimester, I am really looking back and realizing just how much I have learned in such a short amount of time here.

I am looking forward to moving into 5th trimester where we will have cervical technique class and will get to start learning more about technique and putting everything we have learned over the past year here together. All the small details and facts that we have learned are finally coming together to form pathologies and patient complaints and things we can use to actually solve the puzzle.

I have heard 5th trimester is a lot of people’s favorite trimester because of that mental switch that begins–going from cramming in information to applying it and using it.

The only thing to dread is Part I Boards. But that’s unavoidable, and I will be using each day of my break to study for it and review everything we have learned over the past year. So I’m ready!

Congrats to everyone completing another trimester! One more down, one more step to being doctors!




Davenport graduation

Sad and glad during graduation day

This is a special time of the trimester. It’s always a little bittersweet because we are saying goodbye to so many great friends that we have made family over the past three years. But we are also celebrating such huge accomplishments for each student and the communities in which they are going to go out and contribute to.

This graduation hit close to home for me, as some of my very best friends here were walking across that stage. I am so proud of them, and I can’t wait to see where their lives will take them because I know each one of them is going to be a fantastic doctor and they will all help so many people. But I am going to miss each of them dearly. I know we will still talk, and I am going to have to call them breaking down a few times with anxiety attacks for Boards coming up or from looking at my bank statements. But the best part is that we made lasting friendships that will stay with us no matter how far apart we are, and we can always reach out to each other.

One of my favorite things about Palmer is definitely the family atmosphere we have here and that everyone is willing to help each other out. There is opportunity to meet people who will change your life and stay in it forever after our time here.

Congrats to all of Class 151. You guys have a great class and you will be missed a lot around the halls of Palmer. But get out there and heal somebody!

Love you all.


Campus Guides Banquet

Palmer Campus Guide Banquet, winter 2015

Palmer Campus Guide Banquet, winter 2015

It is that time of year again where we’re getting to the end of the trimester and the Campus Guides are preparing to say goodbye to some great friends and fellow Guides and welcome in the new ones.

Each trimester students who are interested go through an application process if they are interested in becoming a Campus Guide. If they’re selected, they go through a training program where they learn how to walk the walk and talk the talk. They spend late nights at the school and long hours learning all about Palmer’s history and the ins and outs of the school so they can share their knowledge with those who visit us. And when they have finally completed their training, we all get together to celebrate and share some good stories about the training and the newcomers to our group!

This year we had some awesome speakers with Dr. Alana Callender and Julie Knaak, who work in the Palmer Family Residence (known to most alumni as the Palmer Mansion), and they shared with us some great songs about chiropractic, including songs about Palmer! We had a great time and lots of laughs listening to the old tunes and dancing in our seats!

We also had the pleasure of getting some “words of wisdom” from Dr. Michelle Barber, which was full of random and funny things to help us get through life!

We don’t get together as a group to hang out as much as we should due to our busy schedules, but I thoroughly enjoy spending time and sharing a meal with such great people! I love my fellow Guides, and I’m so happy I got involved in such an awesome organization! It has really helped me to get a better grasp on the history of chiropractic and an understanding of where this profession has come from and why there is so much SPIZZ and so much excitement about where it is going. On top of that, it has helped me to be able to share this with other students and visitors on campus while I polish my philosophy and delivery when speaking to a group.

I even won myself an award this trimester–the “Above and Beyond” award for my efforts towards the group! It really isn’t hard to put time into something you truly enjoy doing, but, nonetheless, I am honored to be recognized!



My Favorite Trimester

Snow angel

Snow angel

I have to say that the winter trimester is my favorite one. This is the trimester I started in, and I think it is the best one to start in because of the winter recess for Christmas.

Not only is everyone in such a good mood because of the holidays coming up, but having a break right in the middle of the trimester allows you to catch up if you were feeling behind and unprepared. Our program is pretty intense, so having the break will allow you to spend some time catching up or even getting organized and ahead for the exams and things coming up right after the break.

Then if you took some time over the break to catch up and prepare for that stuff, finals is only about a month away and you are a little more prepared for the because you took the time to study properly instead of cramming for everything.

This Christmas break I will be spending a lot of time going over things for National Boards. I have Boards in March, so this break comes at a great time for me to be able to go back and study older material without having to be in class and studying for new material at the same time.

Then again, I will be in Sweden visiting my fiancé for the holidays, so it’s probably going to be pretty hard to study!