How I Decided on Chiropractic College
It may be a strange way to mark time, but last week as my roommates were watching Monster Week on Animal Planet, I realized that I had a pretty strong temporal association with their absurd show Mermaids: The Evidence.
As I write this post, it has been one year since I decided to attend New York Chiropractic College.
It was not easy deciding what to do with myself following my graduation from the University of New Hampshire in May 2011. I had an impending internship, as a fitness trainer at Riverwoods retirement community, which I completed by the end of the year. Then I began 2012 in a job as an event planner at the UNH Institute on Disability. That led to a second job working as a project manager with a local IT startup. Neither of them really was in my line of training- I graduated with a degree in Exercise Science.
Exercise Science is a great course of study, but it does not lead directly to a specific career. I have classmates working as personal trainers, strength coaches, and laboratory researchers, and others pursuing advanced degrees in physical therapy, nursing, nutrition, physician assistantship, or (of course) Exercise Science. It is great not to be pigeonholed into a career, but it definitely requires deciding where your passion and interests lie. And I have a lot of interests.
So out went the applications. Round one included health reporter for NPR and technology coordinator for the Harvard Medical School. Each of these, I decided, built on my passion for health, communication, and technology. My plan for round two included pursuing biomedical engineering and health IT. In the midst of all of this, I received an acceptance letter from a certain chiropractic college, adding one more thing to my crazy list of decisions. All this opportunity was exciting, but I was just about ready to pop with all of the indecision.
Fortunately, mom and dad came to the rescue with a family vacation. As summer break began for my younger siblings, we would be spending a full week among the surreal vistas and endless hiking trails of Red Rocks State Park in Sedona, Arizona. On the plane ride over, I mentally packed up all of the chaos and decided to entirely set it aside for the week. I would fully separate myself from work and the future, and simply enjoy the spectacular environment, my family, and our (loaned) luxury condo. For one week.
Ironically, nothing could have made my decision easier. I hiked, visited ancient ruins, took photos, ate out, saw the Grand Canyon, went rock climbing, and thoroughly enjoyed uncomplicated time with my parents and siblings. I slept well at night, my head no longer swimming with a thousand plans for my future. (Though maybe the deep sleep was from the king-sized bed which I claimed using oldest child privilege.)
Finally, on a solo run one year ago today, I made a decision. I would accept that offer of enrollment at New York Chiropractic College. Maybe I realized that any path I took would have opportunities and challenges. Maybe I realized that at 23 years old, choosing to follow one path did not mean casting all others aside. Maybe the encouragement from family, friends, and college professors finally sunk in. Maybe with all the noise of my life quieted for a week, I could hear the plan that had been there all along.
When I got home, feeling quite relaxed, I lined up one last summer job, and in September 2012 I moved to Seneca Falls, NY to begin classes. I am writing to you now from a house of four great guys, all chiropractic students. My bedroom is populated with study materials that excite me. I know more about the human body than I thought possible. I am deeply involved with the Student American Chiropractic Association, and by meeting professionals in the field through this organization, I see ways that these doctors have played their other passions- surely once career options for them, too- into their work. That decision one year ago was a good one.
I wonder what nostalgic thoughts Shark Week will bring…
Are you a chiropractic student, med student, or a doctor of any type? Heck, are you any person who has faced a similar time of decision? I’d love to hear your story in the comments below!