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.

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!


Portable table!

My new portable table!

My new portable table!

I finally bought a portable table, and after a ton of hassles, I finally picked it up today. If choosing a table wasn’t hard enough, dealing with the delivery process was even more frustrating!

I was so excited to get my table, and when the day came and went when it was supposed to be delivered, I was pretty sad it was going to be late. But then when it was four days after the delivery date and I still hadn’t heard anything, I finally called to get the tracking number for it.

When I got a hold of someone at the place where I bought it from, they notified me that the delivery company had tried to deliver it to me four times already and if I didn’t answer to sign for it, they would send it back to where it came from. I was a little upset because there had been no door tag left that would let me know they had tried to deliver it and I really wanted to get the table, so I was nervous they would send it back and I would have to wait even longer!

In the end I got a hold of the delivery place and told them to hold it for me there so I could pick it up. I didn’t want to risk trying to plan for them to deliver it, and I wouldn’t be home again to get it.

So I picked it up and set it up at home!

I ordered my table from Astralite. It was a hard choice trying to choose between getting all the bells and whistles and everything a portable table can have on it or going with the simple route. In the end I decided with simple and hassle free. I chose this table because I want to practice A.R.T., and some students I spoke with in upper trimesters who are doing A.R.T. said it would be nice to have a table with adjustable height, and this table has that! It it super light, so when I fly home it won’t be hard to check as baggage, and I can manage bringing it around and setting it up quick when I go to seminars!

I can’t wait to use it for my upcoming seminars and at home!


The pretest

popquizmemeThe other day in our Life Science review class, we had a pretest. This is a test that took somewhere between 5 and 30 questions from each major topic we have covered over the past year and quizzed us to see how well we remember everything. It wasn’t for points and was meant to be a guide as to where we may need to review more and spend our time studying.

It was a bit of a shock getting an exam on the first day of classes when typically we review the syllabus, but in all honesty, for the purpose of the class, I thought it was a fantastic idea. If anything, it was an eye-opener and maybe a small kick in the pants to remind us of what is coming and that we will actually need to review. But, on the other hand, it also showed me how much I know and have learned over this past year!

Although it was tough–and I can’t say I feel very confident that I got many correct–at least the terminology and concepts were familiar to me, and I felt like I could make an educated guess, or that I could narrow down the selections and go from there and make relationships between things.

It gives me hope in that many things, although they are not in the forefront of my memory just now, with some review will come back quickly and I will be just fine!

Hoping for good results.



Talent Show!

Josh and Collin

Josh and Collin

Monday we held a talent show. There were seven acts competing to be sent to Life Wests’ “Chiropractic Has Talent” competition in August. This will be the second year the “Chiropractic Has Talent” competition will run. Last year there were 10 chiropractic schools from all over the country that competed in it. There can only be one representative from each school, so to decide who should represent Palmer’s Davenport Campus we held our own competition.

We had all kinds of different talents from ukulele to guitar, to drums and comedy, poem writing and even a duet. Everyone who competed did a very good job. It was really cool to see another side of your classmates. We had four faculty judges who helped us decide who they thought should go to the big competition, and the votes were unanimous for our winners.

Talent Show group

Talent Show group

The winners of the competition were two singers/guitar players, Josh and Collin, who are super talented! They have previously won the talent competition at Homecoming, and I am sure will be representing Palmer really well in California this August.

I wish I had more musical talents. My mom tried to get me more into music and art when I was a kid, but I was too interested in playing sports to sit down and practice those things.

I wish our winners good luck as they go on to the big competition! They could be winning up to $15,000 if they get first place!

Cheers all,


Club hour

Join the club!

Join the club!

On Tuesdays and Fridays at 9:20 a.m. at Palmer, we have a club hour. This is a time designated for students to attend a club of their choice.  There are probably around 40 clubs that students can attend depending on their interest. Clubs are not mandatory to attend, they are simply an opportunity to learn more about certain techniques and improve your skills as a chiropractor!

On Tuesdays, I have Student Council meetings where we meet with all the representatives from each class and the executive council at the school to discuss events, bring up issues or ideas for improvement at Palmer. And sometimes we have guest speakers that let us know about what is going on in their club and if they need funding, or certain departments come in to share things with us they would like to pass on to the student body.

On Friday’s, I attend Motion Palpation Club. In this club, we get the opportunity to do some hands-on work, feeling for certain landmarks (regarding the spine) and practicing feeling those landmarks throughout a motion. This club has really helped me get some confidence in actually feeling for something and knowing what I am feeling. At first you have no idea what you are doing and you don’t really feel anything, and then as you learn how to touch the landmark properly and put it through the correct type of motion, you start to feel it and how it approximates or moves in regards to the things around it.

What clubs do you attend? And if you haven’t tried out any yet, give them a try! I personally think the more you expose yourself to, the more you will learn and figure out what you like or don’t like and see what works for you! Why not give them all a try while they are free and fun!



Motivation Monday!

I think I can, I think I can! (from

I think I can, I think I can! (from

What motivates you? Sometimes people (outside of this program) ask me how I stay motivated or comment on how “they don’t know how you do it” when I tell them about how much studying I have to do or how many exams I have coming up or maybe they just catch a glimpse inside my planner and notice all the lists and sticky notes and that each hour of the day is filled with something that needs to be done.

So I thought I would talk about some of the things that motivate me, because, who knows, they might even just help motivate you!

First of all, I am a competitive person so sometimes I can’t control my want to perform and succeed on even small things like filling the blanks in in my note set before the person sitting next to me–WHAT!? Haha. This being said, I feel some of the smaller wins are a part of me that wants to be at the top of my class. I have accepted the challenges that come with this program, and I am now in competition with myself to keep up the 4.0 I earned in undergrad.

Next, is my peers. I am constantly reminded by those around me that there are people who have it tougher than I do. So when I complain about how tired I am or how I need more time to study, all I have to do is look around at those people who are all in the same program as me with the same responsibilities and are not complaining. Reality check for sure. Many of my friends have families or are just starting them. My hat is off to them. I can’t imagine having that added responsibility and time requirement to this busy schedule.

Although there are many more, I will make this my last one. My future. I think wanting to be a great doctor with a successful practice motivates me a lot. I want to be able versatile and knowledgeable in practice, and that is what I am here for. To learn how to treat people and help them live a better life. So I could say it is my future self (A Doctor! Yay!) and my future patients that make me want to apply myself and soak in as much information as I can so that I can be successful once I leave this place!

I hope you can find something that motivated you today! The end of the trimester is near!



Get to the gym!

19184225.thbEven though we just had a break, it only takes one day back into actual learning to make it feel like you never left! Today was back to routine, which for me means up early for a morning run before a long day of sitting on my Ischial Tubes.

At first I thought I would hate getting up in the morning, and I would get so worn down, but now that I have started doing it I feel like it really helps me get through the day. On the days I don’t run, usually by about the fourth or fifth class in a row of that day, I’m feeling antsy and basically vibrating in my seat. This is usually the class right before lunch, so it comes at a good time but just not soon enough!

I truly think a little exercise will help keep you sane here. With all of the sitting and studying we do, it is so good to have a mental break, lift some of that stress off and feel accomplished! Palmer has a great gym with everything you would need. I was impressed actually by the different areas they provide.

There is an area for all the Crossfit fanatics with rowers and kettle bells and a jungle gym, and then there is a class area with all of the video classes you could imagine provided to play on the big screen, and then there is a weight room and a cardio area, and in between it all there are two basketball courts where people are always setting up some kind of game, whether it is volleyball, pickle, soccer or basketball.

So for those current students that haven’t made it down, give it a try if your feeling bogged down and for those of you coming in, I highly recommend planning on getting involved there and finding something fun to add in to all this structure and work. And for everyone else I hope you can find a good physical activity to help reduce stress in your daily life!

Get to the gym everyone  🙂