So yep, I’m a DC. Graduated ‘Class 971’ from Palmer Chiropractic in Davenport, IA in 1997.
Damn it’s gone by fast. Gotten my ass kicked a lot in real life since then and learned a ton. Looking back I would do things differently while I was in the trenches of school.
I’m gonna share a few with you and perhaps some will resonate.
“In your thirst for knowledge, be sure not to drown in all the information.”
– Anthony J. D’Angelo
- Get your hands on people ASAP
I just went to classes the first year. Not healthy! Get involved quick, fast, and in a hurry with motion palpation and technique clubs as soon as you can. Don’t wait until you take the classes. You can learn so much from observing and your peers will teach you valuable lessons. You will also make deep contacts that will help you when it’s time to enter clinic and you need to reach required numbers for graduation.
The first year of school will feel overwhelming with the basic courses and it’s gonna kick your ass no doubt. You are going to say to yourself, ‘it’s just too much to do the clubs as well as study.’ Remember this, you are there to grind it out. The clubs and camaraderie will keep you from burning out because it will remind you why you are there in the first place.
- Take seminars on campus whenever possible
Weekends I just wanted to relax and veg out. Bad move! This is sponge time when learning. Take all different types of courses. You get student discount rates too which is really sweet. Many students discover a new path they want to take as a specialty after graduation. You get so much better when you study and learn outside of school. Education never ends. Pursue it with ardor and fervor.
- Attend as many alumni functions you can while in school
I did’t relate to Alumni until I was one. That’s too late! Volunteer to help at events or for the association. You will meet so many connections that will come in handy when you graduate and are looking for an associate position or practice to join. The first rule of business applies in healthcare too; it’s who you know and who knows you!
- Not obsessing about my GPA. Grades don’t matter in the real world
It’s the people that matter most in the journey. The end goal is NOT to just get your diploma. Having a 4.0 doesn’t mean anything outside those doors. Many great students don’t become great doctors. Two different things. Become people smart, not just book smart. If you can do both that’s awesome. But if you had to choose one, people skills always trump GPA. Newsflash: People in the real world already assume you are good enough. You are the doctor. Now prove it by being the best person you can.
- Go to the anatomy lab whenever possible
Love the human body to help others understand it . Even before you are in upper trimesters get to the lab. Volunteer to help in the lab. Knowing your anatomy will do wonders for your clinical knowledge. When you are so focused on passing anatomy class you forget how amazing the human body is. Pay attention to how it’s all connected. If you can’t get to the lab in school take an anatomy dissection class outside of school. There are many offered you can attend or watch the hell out of them on YouTube.
- Find a technique and/or body part and master the shit out of it
Find your ONE THING! Set your sites in becoming the ‘…….’ Guru. It could be the ‘shoulder’ Guru, ‘knee’ Guru, ‘Activator’ Guru. You must separate yourself from the herd. How will you stand out? When they mention that specialty your name better show up. That will become your signature outside of school. First rule of marketing is, market to everyone and you market to no one. You are gonna market to what you mastered.
- Public speaking in school
Teaching others is how you learn most. I waited until I opened a practice. Too late! Take a public speaking course while in school. This will do wonders for your communication skills. Use this knowledge to become a powerhouse in your community after graduation. And also use it to start teaching courses of your own on the technique or body part you mastered the shit out of in school. Who says you can’t start educating people when you are in school. Organize your own public speaking course.
3 Quickie additions for today’s world:
- Start a podcast in school and interview doctors from all walks of life. I would listen. :)
- Start a chiro blog tracking your education journey from day one. People love stories. And it will keep you motivated.
- Study the notes you took in class everyday when you get home. Simply read them once. Then the next class read the notes from that day and the previous notes. Just once. When you are reading with no pressure to know the material for a test it will stick better. Like glue. When the exam approaches you will have read material at least a dozen times. This drives understanding not memorization. Got this little tip from my Endocrinology teacher at Palmer. Damn if it didn’t help. :)
Have fun in school and don’t forget the legacy you are in charge of carrying on. Respect it.