Planning for the future

Is Florida in my future?

Is Florida in my future?

I wrote this on the second day of classes of my 8th trimester here at Palmer. It seems hard to believe. My schedule this tri is also a little unbelievable.

Most days we’re done by noon. Tuesdays and Thursdays, we’re done at about 3 p.m., and Monday I only have one class. I was told this time would come where we wouldn’t be in class from 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. straight, but as I got further into the program, I got less and less hopeful that I would see it. But, alas, I have reached it and it’s beautiful.

The first half of the trimester we’re still in the CHC (Campus Health Center, the student clinic), so we can’t get into clinic until later in the day. So we are still in clinic until about 7 p.m., but it seems we’ll have a little more time to do other things this trimester. We clear for the AHC (Academic Health Center, where our outpatient clinic is located) in mid December. Then, whenever I’m in not in class, I will be over in the outpatient clinic, but I still get a couple months of smooth sailing.

Being in clinic is enjoyable and doesn’t feel like school, so I don’t mind being there. It’s also only the second day, so I really have no idea how the trimester is going to go. All I know is we are transitioning into clinic phase, and I am excited for that. We also have to start thinking seriously about precepting and finding doctors that are willing to host an intern.

I am Florida bound! I emailed several doctors yesterday in Pasco County. I’m just waiting to hear back, and if I have no success I shall look around Orlando. I’m excited to be able to start looking and talking with potential doctors in that area. I feel like I don’t have much time to get it done, though.

Trying to find time to get to Florida to meet with doctors has become an issue, since over our next break I’ll be in Bequia for the Clinic Abroad Program! That’s okay, though. I’ll get it all figured out, and I’m excited about it all. There are a lot of good things coming along in the next year and I can’t wait to see where my chiropractic journey takes me!


Flip! I’m going to be in clinic more than classrooms

We went on a clinic tour of the Academic Health Center (better known as the AHC) with our new staff doctors. This gave us an opportunity to meet our staff doctor and ask them a few questions. It’s a little weird already going into Level One clinic. Most days I forget I’m not in first trimester anymore. It’s weird saying I’m going into eight tri when people ask.

The great news is my schedule for next trimester is beautiful. Most days I’m done by noon except on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I have class until 2:45, which is still way better than 3:40 like the last seven trimesters! On Mondays, I only have one class and it’s a lab! It’s going to be sooo nice not having to be in class all day then go to clinic for four hours after eight hours of sitting in a classroom. This is the trimester where it flips. We’re in clinic more than we’re in class, which is definitely preferred.

So anyway we got a tour of the outpatient clinic and saw where we were going to be spending most of our time. It was really helpful, even though I’m sure when it comes time, I’m still going to have no idea where to find anything. So if you see me running around frantically, I’m probably lost. I usually am.

It was really cool getting a glimpse of what is to come. There is a lot to be excited about within the next year!


To use a tablet or not to use a tablet …

Take notes or play on the Internet? Decisions, decisions ...

Take notes or play on the Internet? Decisions, decisions …

I got a question from one of the readers, and instead of privately addressing it, I thought I would just write a post about it since it was a pretty good question and it could help out future students as well.

Blayne asked, “Are there any things/technology (iPad, recording devices to listen to lectures, etc) that you would consider helpful or even crucial to getting everything out of a lecture that you possibly can? Anything that you use yourself or wish you did have to utilize?”

I’m going to address this mainly with my personal opinions and how I went about this process. I currently use an iPad equiped with a keyboard for note taking. This has many benefitsm butt there are also things you have to be careful with. I started my first trimester just using printed notes and the notesets we were required to have from the Bookstore. Most of the professors will make their note sets available online so you can download them onto a tablet or you can print them. I started out printing.

The thing to keep in mind is we have a lot of notes so printing started to get expensive and then I had papers to keep track of and it started to get messy. I envied the people with tablets. I ended up only getting one because I had someone selling one for a good pricem but even if that hadn’t happened I would have probably caved shortly after.

What I like about having a tablet is everything is in one place. I am able to type onto the documents and I am still able to print them after I have made extra notes on them. I use an app called iAnnotate. I think it runs about $10 in the Appstore, but I know there are a few others that people use. I really like iAnnotate, but I know other people really like other ones, too. I suggest if you’re considering going this route find someone who has the app and play around with it ask questions so you can see if it will do everything you need. It also has a search files  sections, so you when you want to reference stuff from other classes it’s easier to find the topic you’re question as opposed to flipping through piles of papers and binders. Also, know your study habits well. If you study better off of paper and not a screen, this probably isn’t the best option.

With the tablet, it’s also really nice to have the Internet at your disposal if you need to look something up on the portal (this is where professors post notes and updates) or if you want to Google something you need more understanding on.

Overall, I am very happy I got a tablet and probably would have gone crazy if I hadn’t. I wouldn’t be surprized if costs of printing and paper didn’t cost more than the tablet in the end. As for recorders and things, the school has a policy where you are not allowed to record in the classroom without prior permission from the professor. So if you get permission to do so, that could be very helpful. If you already have the tablet, usually they come with that feature.

The downfall of having a tablet in class: It’s extremely distracting. It’s really hard to stay focused when the Internet is right there. You’re able to use the Internet, check social media and play games. This is evidently leads to a crisis when it comes to test time and you’re reteaching yourself everything that went over in class because you got distracted by Pinterest and quit paying attention! Believe me, I suffer from this.

Another problem I have experienced is technology isn’t perfect, so sometimes my tablet freezes, isn’t working correctly or dies (in this case you’re temporarily out of notes). In the case of the battery dying, most of the class rooms have outlets where you can have the tablet plugged in and still be working on it, but if you forget the charger, it poses a problem.

So there are good and bad from each aspect. Really, it’s up to you and your personal preference. Of course, I don’t want to tell you to go out and spend all that money on a tablet because you’re going to need it, because thats not the case. There are a lot of people that are very successful in classes without tablets and there are some people that are unsuccessful in classes because of them. Just make sure you weigh the pros and cons before you make a big purchase like that. For me it was worth it, but for some people it is not.


My first pelvic adjustment!

(Written Monday)

I got to do my first pelvic adjustment today! It’s so exciting to be in the classroom adjusting this early into the trimester. In Toggle and Cervicals, we weren’t able to adjust until the last couple weeks of the trimester, and here we are a little over a month into the trimester and we’ve been able to adjust in both of our technique classes.

I have said it many times before, adjusting days are just the best, and whether it’s the first adjustment you’re giving or the fourth, it’s still just as exciting.

Sixth trimester is a lot more hands on, so you’re not sitting in the classroom listening to lectures as much throughout the day. It makes the days go quicker. Tonight I have radiology lab at 6 p.m. I’m not sure what we’re doing in tonight’s lab. Then I have a couple exams and quizzes to study for this week.

It’s a short week with the holiday break, so that is always good news. After last week, a long weekend is needed, although I have to go to the dentist on Friday. But regular dental check ups are just as important as regular spinal check ups. Since I get adjusted once a week, the least I can do is have my teeth checked every six months. Overall health is the best kind.


An extremely busy week

Last week was an extremely busy one, but it came to an end and I survived it. I got my picture for my clinic badge taken this week. I’m one step closer to taking care of patients!

We had five exams last week, which was slightly stressful but now that they are all over, it doesn’t seem like it was that bad. I went to zumba again on Tuesday but didn’t make it to step aerobics because I needed to study.

Wednesday was adjusting day in our pelvic class. I was the patient this first time, and it was my adjusting partner’s birthday, so I let her adjust me as a birthday present. 🙂 I will hopefully get my oppportunity on Monday.

Friday we got to do a physical exam on some kids in my OB/peds lab. Which posed to be a lot more difficult than I had originally expected. Kids like to talk and move around a lot, and it’s hard to say (chiropractic) things in a way they can understand. The little girl we were working with was a trooper. It was good practice for realizing how you’re going to deal with these real life situations where people aren’t necessarily going to understand what you’re saying to them. We get so accustomed to talking to our peers that understand our chiropratic language that when we go out and talk to people outside of the Palmer community, we forget we have to change our word choices. Same goes for interactions with children, and I thought it was be easier than it ended up being.

Friday night I went to Board Game Club to wind down from the busy week. And we actually enjoyed some nice (though windy) weather this weekend!


A new tri begins

I'm not the only one who hates getting up early!

I’m not the only one who hates getting up early!

We are a couple days into the trimester and even though we only had about ten days off, I am struggling to get back into the swing of things. I forgot what 7:30 a.m. felt like after that break!

It looks like I am entering yet another really busy trimester, but this is the one where we really start to get prepared for entering clinic, so I imagine it will be exciting and frightening all at the same time.

I had a very productive break. I did a lot of relaxing and went on a mini vacation with a friend from 4th tri. Board review (National Boards) starts at the end of this week, which will make for very long days, but it is nice to catch up with stuff you may have forgotten in the past two years. It is also nice to get ahead on thinking about boards. I don’t take Part II until September, but I am sitting in on the board review now for the first time, so hopefully I will be more prepared for when boards actually come. It will be here sooner than I realize.

SPIZZ Night is on Friday, which is always a good time. They give you dinner and a chance to check out some clubs on campus and various vendors. Then you get the opportunity to listen to some professionals out in the field talk about chiropractic–they get everyone fired up. The event is hosted by the Alumni Office, and there is also a give-away of several prizes, including a portable table. Unfortunately, I have to miss this trimester due to the board review but if you can make it, it is always worth it. It is the perfect thing to get you fired up to start a new trimester.

On Monday some friends and I are going to go to Iowa City (about an hour from the Quad Cities) to hear a lecture Jane Goodall is giving at the University. Though not Chiropractic related, it is science related and should be fascinating.

The first month back is usually a busy time, there is a lot going on and a lot to do try and check out as much as you can!


What it feels like to give an adjustment

Yesterday my Cervicals partner got to do a full work-up on me and adjust me for the first time. She was not able to adjust in Toggle because her partner was not in pattern, which is essential for upper cervical care. Being “in pattern” means that whenever you run a scan on a titron, the results come out the same on more than one day. So this was her very first adjustment, and I was more than happy to be her patient.

Since I wasn’t able to explain my first cervical adjustment to you on Monday, I asked her if she would share with me how she felt while she performed her very first adjustment. She was more than happy to share that experience with you today. Here is what she told me:

So how I felt about giving you an adjustment … all the work leading up to it made me excited and a little nervous. I was really hoping that I did everything right, and that I could accurately motion out a truly subluxated segment.

Then when it came down to which technique to use, I was like, “Oh, crap, I hate cervical chair, especially with the #6 contact point.” Then when I set up on you and you told me I had good contact, it really boosted my confidence! So then I was like, yeah, I can do this! And then when I brought you to tension and was about to thrust, I was like, “Oh, crap (again), I hope I still have good contact.” I was really scared that I was gonna sting you and just make things worse with the subluxation (so I hope you weren’t lying when you said it was fine!). But it was nice to be able to thrust twice, even though I didn’t really get the segment to move.

Afterwards, it was great to have feedback from you and Dr. Hynes. I couldn’t tell during the whole thing how well she thought I was doing, but it was very reassuring at the end when she said I was thorough and did a good job. Now I feel more like a soon-to-be doctor, and it’s fantastic! You were an awesome patient!

She couldn’t have said it any better. I felt just about the same way with my first adjustment. At first you’re really nervous because you’re not sure you’re doing it right. Then you pump yourself up and you’re like, “Yeah, I can totally do this!” Then you get ready to thrust, and you’re right back to thinking, “Oh no! I’m not sure I can this.” In the end you are always able to do it. It’s what we are trained to do and we are trained very well.

You work all trimester to lead up to this point, and it makes the whole trimester and first year leading up to these opportunities worth it. You get fired up and remember why your here. Hopefully I will have another story of adjusting on Wednesday when I will hopefully be able to give it another shot, because after all, that’s what I came here to do and what I enjoy talking about!


Enough with the polar vortex!

The polar vortex has struck again! Monday was cancelled, and today we had a two-hour delay, which on Tuesdays is really a three-hour delay because the 9:20 a.m. hour is club hour (no classes). This would have been the fourth cancellation we’ve had in one trimester. I’m not 100%, but I’d have to say this is a record. (Note to those in year-round warm-weather states: Winters in Iowa may be cold, but these extreme cold temps are not normal.)

At first it was awesome having surprise days off. Now it’s causing more trouble than good. We’re about three weeks from finals, and we’re four days behind in most classes. We’re really having to speed things along in every class so we are prepared going into finals. I’ve heard a lot of people saying they’re worried we aren’t going to get through the necessary material in time. So as awesome as having a surprise day off may seem, it will come back to get you in the end.

Playing catch up in seven or more classes isn’t the most pleasant experience, but we always seem to get through it. Then we get a nice break to relax and do something fun. Which is exactly what I recommend–spend  your breaks doing something fun. Travel, go on mini vacations, go on real vacations, relax, take time for yourself, visit family. Do whatever you can to get away for a little bit. If you don’t take time for yourself while you’re here and get away, you may possibly drive yourself mad.

Roller coasters at Adventureland--they also have a waterpark.

Roller coasters at Adventureland–they also have a waterpark.

A few things I have done on breaks to ground myself are going to Des Moines (we went to the amusement park Adventureland), took the train to Chicago for a weekend, visited my cousin in Ames, and took a weekend trip to St. Louis (all these places are between three and four hours away from campus). During the upcoming break, to celebrate having made it half-way through the program, I am treating myself to a trip to Las Vegas.

There are a lot of cool places to go that are just a few hours away from the Quad Cities to re-group after spending all your time focused on school. I find it very important to take time for yourself so you don’t get burnt out. This is a very demanding program, and some days you’ll just need a break. That way when  you come back your refreshed and ready to jump back in and get back to learning. Whether you believe it or not, the first time I went on summer break, which is our longest break (about three weeks or so), by the end of the break I was ready to get back into my routine and just get back here and start learning again. There will be days you  have no idea why you’re here, then you will leave for a little bit, and you’ll miss it. You’ll be ready to get back at it, because all along you’ll know this is where you really want to be.


Brrrrr … but in a good way! Kinda.

(Note: This post was actually written Thursday, Jan. 23)

Yay! Another too cool for school day! By cool I mean freezing cold (way below zero without factoring in the windchill), not I’m too cool for school and I skipped. Skipping is not good; don’t do it unless absolutely necessary. Luckily, with this freezing weather, the exam, practical and quiz that I had scheduled for today were moved until Monday. Which means I get to use this “snow” day to actually just relax and browse notes at my own leisure! It is 2:03 in the afternoon, and I have not left the comfort of my own bed. It’s too cold, and there’s no better place.

Get to know this guy really well--especially his spine!

Get to know this guy really well–especially his spine!

From my understanding, the second trimester kids got a treat today and had their Spinal Anatomy exam moved. You will hear lots of things about Spinal Anatomy. All I will say is I genuinely enjoyed the class. When I took the class, it was also in the fall trimester and we had an exam the Thursday before one of the breaks. We had the worst blizzard of the year that day, so our exam was pushed back to after break–which also meant having to study spinal over the break. Now most people would be excited for more study time, like in the case of my physical diagnosis exam for Monday. Not when it comes to spinal anatomy, though, after you have already prepared and prepared (and hopefully you have) and you’re just ready to take the exam and be done with it. So I was super disappointed when I had to continue to study and come back and take it. Either way, the experience was non-traumatic, and I obviously made it out okay because in just about a month I will be halfway done with the D.C. curriculum, I still love the profession, I still love this school and I still love what I do everyday.

Once you get  here, you’re going to hear a lot of things and get a lot of advice from other students. My advice on this is be choosy about what you believe. Everyone has their own levels of difficulty. If someone tells you a class is super easy and not to bother studying until a couple days before, take it with a grain of salt and find out for yourself. Never wait until a couple days before to prepare for any exam. Your idea of easy is not the same as someone else’s. You both don’t have the same background or learning style, so what comes easy to them may not come easy to you. When you choose to believe those things, then end up not preparing like you should and not doing as well as you like, then you start to get bummed out because that class was suppose to be easy! Don’t let those things get to you; everyone has a different class that they struggle with.

On the other end, there will be classes that people say are incredibly hard. Spinal II will no doubt be on that list. Those words of advice may freak you out and make you nervous, but just study hard and find out for yourself.

All in all, just try to enjoy your time here. It’s going to be challenging and it’s going to be tough, but it’s also going to be amazing. You’re going to have so many incredible opportunities and meet some fascinating people and make some of the best friends you’ll ever have. Embrace yourself and embrace chiropractic.


2nd tri begins

2nd Trimester:

I’m simply relaxing this morning on the 3rd floor of the campus, studying for quizzes this week. I have to admit, concentrating on the classes that I’ve failed, is definitely paying off not having to stress out over every other class.

I literally have 4 hours of study time before I head off to bio. This is pretty sweet.

BTW – Word of caution! Govern yourself very well with your money you get from aid, as it goes extremely quick if you’re not watching your spending. Get yourself on a budget and stick to your guns.

Also, a quick shout out to my bookstore family, they take good care of you over there.

– Till next time … Be blessed