Year 1 and me

The end of my first year of naturopathic medical school is looming, and I realize I’ve been remiss in keeping any kind of journal of updates. Where to even begin! So much this year. Science though, always the science.

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Personal growth has been more of a major theme this year, and while it may not yet seem apparent on the outside, there have been some big shifts on the inside that are likely to take awhile to integrate. I have been extraordinarily lucky to have free counseling services provided by my school, AT my school. (For me, this made all the difference.) I’ve never sought counseling before, but becoming a doctor is starting to feel like a big deal at the grand ol’ age of 29, and I have professors and doctors echoing the same. Coming into the program at a run, straight off the boat quite literally, and after a nice piece of “life experience” I felt like it was time to check in with myself and see if I couldn’t come up with some new insights on patterns and stumbling blocks. I drew an ace and got paired up with someone amazing, who always remembered my story, drew parallels I’ve never noticed, and offered support in a way I don’t know if I’ve ever had. I feel empowered, but in a loose-trucks-with-my-helmet-on sort of way. Trying to figure how to carry on with the work on my own, and also how to use the illumination to move forward into who I will become.

Being a doctor. And a woman. And a feminist. And spontaneous. Too much. Not enough. Converging non congruent ideas.

I can write you a list of courses, or concepts. It will in no way describe to you the value of this education. I am so enamored with the human organism. The numerous pathways and systems, checks and balances, safeguards and rogue deviations. There is nothing about this body that is simple. What we think we know is ever changing. Having studied anatomy twice prior, a form that wouldn’t expect changes once we’ve seen the cadaver… so much new info, changed names, altered understandings, better magnification, theories gone bust! My mind sparkles at the concept, the change, the vastness. With such dynamic in anatomy, you can imagine what that means for biochemistry, GI, neuro, endocrine, etc!

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Another genre I’ve explored this year is space. Solar systems, super nova, dark matter, and the universe. So much of what I learn about the human form reminds me of something I heard on How the Universe Works. The recursive pattern of nature. Mind blowing! I highly recommend a venture when you have the time and attention span. There have been more breakthroughs in recents months/years than in the past several decades, and it is inspiring and humbling to visualize my place in the world. A self-aware consciousness in the goldilocks zone of a holographic universe… Thank my lucky stars there are physicists willing to talk slow in small words so I can begin to comprehend these things!  (If you’re an inspiration junkie, I also highly recommend Shots of Awe by Jason Silva)

One of the greatest gifts I’ve been given this year is friendships. So many wonderful people have come into my world, as friends, study partners, adventurers, seekers, future colleagues. Walking into my first day of orientation I could already feel it. This is my family. These people get me. We are sharing an amazing journey towards something we all believe in. Last weekend we all went on a retreat together to practice our medicine, on ourselves and each other, in nature, of nature. And in the end as we were reflecting, I heard my same worries, my same struggles, my same gratitudes, my same achievements, in the voices of my cohort. Nothing feels like belonging to a purpose quite like that does. Reiteration that I’m in the right place. That I’m on my path.

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This year has been full of study and science and hard work. But the memories that stand out are of people and growth, of change and inspiration. This is not the scary medical school of legend. This is my future, started already, and my cultivation as a naturopath. This is my life, and I am blessed.

Starting to settle

So much is happening in my life right now, it’s hard to know what to put on a page.

Starting week six of the program, already more than halfway through the first term! It’s incredible what they can teach you in that amount of time, the information just comes hurtling in on a daily basis. Two tests already this week, thank heavens I studied anatomy in undergrad!

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A few stats:

Courses: 10 (5 lecture, 5 lab)

Credits: 21.75

Classes per day: 2-3

Distance from home: 1.8 miles

Exams completed: 7

Exams looming: 10

Avg class size: 18 or 100

 

This past weekend I got to move into my new home. Two helpers and three trips to storage. Now I have more of my things and a bedroom of my own, to organize in the coming weeks. Besides a desk and a dog, I think I have basically all I need.

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A Brief Update

Dear Friends,

I am touched by how many of you remembered me today and sent a word of support on my first day of medical school. It was a sweet day all around. We had a welcome from the NCNM community, complete with drums, clapping, and a show of many faces in our first lecture. I had more opportunities to connect with fellow students. I even got to have dinner with my little bro. There will be a lot of work to do, but I am confident that I’m in a supportive community, surrounded by resources, and with an auspicious bent.

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Where have I been since April? Primarily Southeast Alaska! Frederick Sound. Chatham Strait. Stephen’s Passage. Juneau. Sitka. Hoonah. Kake. Petersburg!

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What a summer it was too. Having been hired on a 67′ charter cruise, I flew up to spend some time with friends I love. After  a week of R&R, it was time to board the vessel and heave to. My summer was spent in a continuous cycle of 7 days out, 2 days in, viewing the wildlife, the scenery, eating fresh fish, and enjoying diverse company, followed by two days of recovery! And what wildlife, spectacular! Whales and mountain goats, seals and seal lions, otters, birds, and bears, oh my!

Tracy Arm Goats

I plan to write a more detailed account, but I wanted to thank you for visiting in my absence! Much more to come in the weeks ahead!

Yachats, OR

After we made it back home to Eugene it was time to reset, regroup, repack. We finally got to put down our luggage, what a relief! After jet-setting with 3 very large bags plus carry-ons, the difference was dramatic. We spent a week doing laundry, sorting, resting, and visiting. Then we packed up small packs and moved out to the coast house. Thanks LL!

    

The spring weather was cooler than I anticipated, but after the tropics, sitting home with a fire in the wood stove, watching the rain fall with a bowl of popcorn and a book was a good way to go. We got several breaks with crisp, clear weather to walk the short amble to the beach. The photos are from the nearest beach, where the water has carved out large spaces beneath the rocks, and as the tide comes in shoots water into the air. The view was great, and I even saw a seal lion one day!

The rocky beaches always feel like home. Nothing reminds me quite so much of my paternal grandparents. As a kid we spent time with them every summer, and usually at the coast. Lincoln City, Tillamook, Newport. And I’m sure we drove through Yachats more than once. Digging holes to China. Dipping our toes, my sister holding me back and reminding me that waves can sweep you out at any moment.  Happy meals in the backseat of their Honda. Golden days.

We spent a good deal of our indoor time browsing used cars online. After a couple of days and narrowing it down to a shortlist, I quickly discovered just how unpleasant banking from across an ocean can be. I spent the next 10 days regularly visiting an ATM and making midnight calls to the UK. Ultimately things got sorted and an addition was made to the family: Varys, a shiny blue 2-door Yaris!

During the week we stayed there was a supermoon. It was also Cinco de Mayo. We decided the best place to be was at the top of Cape Perpetua, looking out over 180° view of coastline, watching ships pass the setting sun, and then the moon rise over the Cascades. It was a stunning view. I only wish I could have captured it clearer to share with you. I hope you saw it from where you were.

Dollars, pounds, and other currency…

I’m starting to get some serious butterflies about my looming move and the approaching deadlines. I’m waiting for a housing/classmate list in July, a reply from the U of Greenwich regarding financial aid and what my next step is to find my US government aid amount, which precedes visa applications, which precedes plane-ticket-buying, etc etc. I feel like it’s all going to be a cascade effect, but I’m still stuck at step one.

The European School of Osteopathy (http://www.eso.ac.uk/home.html) is a partner school Continue reading