Why I Didn’t Write this Trimester
I am now half way through my second year of chiropractic school. Since fourth trimester started on September 11, I published a mere two blog posts. This was certainly not for a lack of interesting experiences, but rather because I spent so much time on real pursuits that there was little time left over to reflect and retell. Now I am on our short break between semesters, and it is time to come clean with some stories.
Our second year of school introduced some more clinically practical classes, which incorporated incredibly cool material. Granted, that does not make life any easier. Rather than a full load of familiar sciences like neuro, anatomy, and biochemistry, our classes now have unruly names like Musculoskeletal Physiopathology, Visceral Pathology and Patient Assessment Methods I (ok, fine, that last one is plain English). Man, these things have the potential to academically kick your butt. However, they also begin the transition from learning how things work according to a textbook to learning how things work when a patient walks into your office.
Pathology and assessment classes begin to build a base of knowledge used in diagnosis of patients. So over the course of the semester, doing well on an exam or quiz kind of felt like having a successful appointment with a patient: given a whole bunch of raw information, seeking out patterns, and then identifying the most likely mechanism at work, hopefully accurately. Visceral pathology built an understanding of how disease manifests, Musculoskeletal pathology labs worked with radiographic imagery (x-rays) to identify the features of different diseases of genetic, cancerous, traumatic, metabolic or other origins. Patient Assessment began to teach us the many aspects of a thorough patient physical exam, including a wide variety of tests for issues ranging from IT band syndrome to nerve entrapment to when a patient is faking illness. Fun stuff, important stuff.
Even beyond changes in classes, I made other changes this semester that were good life decisions, but really time consuming.
- Organizational studying. I really don’t like tedious activities, but here’s one I finally caved to, and I highly recommend. I did all my studying by creating class material outlines, which condensed the information into more quickly reviewable format. Note that this is much different from just copying notes, because teachers do not necessarily put things in an order most logical for my own purposes. [Sidenote: these outlines will be worth gold when National Board Chiropractic Exams start this March.]
- Deep involvement with the Student American Chiropractic Association. Regardless of profession or school of thought, I strongly support the collaborative efforts that come from professional organizations. The progress of this organization and other student activities on campus inspired one of my posts this semester, and my experience with this blog earned me the role of Communications Chair for the organization nationally.
- Cooking for myself more. The dining hall became more expensive (meal plans are required), so I packed lunches and cooked my own dinners midweek more often. The result was fewer food comas in my early afternoon classes, and a lot more vegetables at dinner time.
One of my initial motivations for starting a blog was to record my thoughts through time so that I can see how I have changed by the time I graduate. It will not only be an interesting look, but also can keep me true to the motivations that brought me into chiropractic to begin with. Little changes like my study habits are the bits that I hope can pay off for other readers as well!
Our new semester begins January 8th. Reports are that between Boards and certain classes, Fifth Trimester is the hardest in the curriculum… I’ll let you know.