Class Personality & Diversity
My class here is like a floodgate. Many speakers and teachers have noted that we are a quiet group. We interpret every mid-lecture question as rhetorical and sit back for the professor to answer his or herself. Yet insist on a response, and a response you shall receive!
Recognizing that every group contains diversity, it can be dangerous to generalize; the NYCC graduating class of Fall 2015 represents great variety among its 122 members. About 60% of the class is 22 or 23 years of age, with a handful of 21-year-olds. A large group of students is in their mid-to-upper twenties, and around a dozen students are in their thirties. Geographically, many students hail from nearby New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and smaller delegations come from New England and the Canadian province of Ontario. However, there are students from as far away as Lousiana, Mississippi, Colorado, and Arizona, and a significant contingent flew in from Puerto Rico. Many students have previously studied biology or kinesiology, but there are also psychologists, EMTs, teachers, and others.
Yet observing the group’s collective personality is fascinating. On Tuesday a speaker, Dr. Rick Rosa, came to our Reflections on Chiropractic class to speak about his experiences in building a booming practice in the Washington, D.C. area. He spoke for a little over an hour about being an associate chiropractor, then starting his own practice, and how he gradually developed a sports specialty with major cycling teams and internationally televised boxers among his patients. Along the way he sowed bits of wisdom, emphasizing bold, hard work. “The most valuable commodity is time… There is no magic, we’ve just out-hustled and out-worked everyone else,” he stated, his downstate NY accent and attitude lending a distinctly matter-of-fact tone to his message.
Upon finishing his presentation, Dr. Rosa turned to us for questions. For a few moments he seemed uncomfortable as nobody moved, but after what must have been a pause to collect thoughts, a dozen hands simultaneously rose. Over the course of the next forty minutes, we explored business strategies, physiology, personal philosophies and values, and experiences with treatment over time, posing questions that surprised even me with the depth of knowledge that they reflected.
In this case, it seems that our class is attentive in lecture, and thoughtful about feedback. This is no surprise; never have I heard “I am excited to learn about…” stated in so many contexts. I am thrilled to report that we also have what seems to be a strong knack for leadership; no class in recent history has had such a contested race for class officers. In a time of medical reform, with everything from politics to education to prevailing practice structures in flux, this is an attribute that should prove especially important. If we hold true to this apparently thoughtful approach to learning and leading, this school’s current students may bring attitudes and approaches which will lend true stability and credibility to health care providers.
Maybe generalizing isn’t all that bad.
Though a decade old, an interesting look at leadership in medicine:
Waldhausen, J. Leadership in Medicine. Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons. March 2001. Available at: http://www.facs.org/fellows_info/bulletin/waldhausen0301.pdf. Accessed September 28, 2012.