By Valerie A. Kremer, 1st Year Naturopathic Doctoral Medical Student
Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
I sat on the beach in Florida last May, not sure what to do with my life. I watched the gentle crashing waves and felt the soft sand on my toes and heaviness in my heart.
I was working as a traditional naturopath at six physical therapy clinics, in what I thought was my dream job, but something just didn’t feel right. I had already completed a naturopathic doctor program at Trinity School of Natural Health as well as traveled around the U.S. for over a decade completing dozens of natural health and healing certifications. I felt like I was heading in the right direction, but not quite on the right path.
Not sure what the right answer was, I brought my dilemma to the universe. I asked, while looking out onto the beach in front of me, “Ok, if I could leave this earth or do something, what would I do?” (I didn’t have a functional rocket ship so I knew that wasn’t a viable option.) Then out of nowhere, it HIT me! I would go to a four-year accredited naturopathic medical school to become a licensed Naturopathic Doctor (N.D.). But HOW would that happen? WHERE would I go? I left all of the HOWs to the universe and started to take ACTION.
My skills as a journalist and excitement kicked in. I first went to Twitter and searched “ND” and “naturopath” and found a host of NDs and students who were from Toronto. I started reaching out to them and following them on social media.
I was ecstatic to tell my best friend, Laura, about my new epiphany! Meanwhile, I was looking at attending another ND school on the west coast since it was close to a beach. “Who doesn’t want to go to school by the beach?” I thought. Laura knew I needed some guidance and connected me with Dr. Jennifer Karon-Flores, ND, a successful naturopath in Portland, OR, who gave me the best advice and helped put me on my path. I want to share that amazing advice with you!
- Fall in love with the curriculum! You are not going to have a ton of time to be at the beach while in school. Coming to terms with the voice of reason, I started analyzing the curriculums at each accredited naturopathic medical school. I suddenly came across the curriculum at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) and fell in love! I remember I couldn’t sleep that night. I was so excited!
- Interview people who have graduated from or are in the program you are interested in. Looking at the curriculum is a great place to start, however, talk to people who have gone through and experienced the program. I interviewed a CCNM teacher and graduate as well as a few successful NDs in the field.
- Go to the school and take a tour. Once you set foot on the campus, you will have a better idea of how you feel being there. You may be able to envision yourself going to class there. The moment I walked into the doors at CCNM, saw the naturopathic doctor’s oath on the wall near the entrance, and felt the healing energy of the school, I knew it was the place for me.
- Support your adrenals before you start! In order to effectively deal with stress, your adrenals need to be working properly. The high-stress position I left before starting on my ND path left me with adrenal fatigue. (If we don’t have the proper fight or flight hormones and are adrenals are weakened, we won’t be able to handle stress in a healthy way.) Before starting school, I made an appointment with a local ND, had my adrenals evaluated, and started taking a tincture to help support my adrenals. I no longer rely on coffee as an energy source to get me through the day!
- Take ACTION and leave the rest to the universe. You don’t have control over people or how every detail will work out, but you have control over what you can do and your intentions. Once I submitted my application at CCNM, I waited a few weeks and with relief, I was accepted! I also had to apply for a student visa, which was a yearlong process. I didn’t know how my tuition was going to be paid for but I just kept saying, “I am going to the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine to be a naturopathic doctor.” I had faith that it would all work out.
Once I decided to go to CCNM, I started signing up for my pre-requisite courses. I had to take a full year of anatomy and physiology, a full year of biology, intro to organic chemistry, and psychology. The whole process to start ND med school and complete all of my prerequisites was a little nerve-racking but do-able. I often felt alone since I was the only one from my school going to ND school, but its good to stand out from the crowd. You don’t have to be like everyone else and that’s ok.
I am excited for my full week of classes this week at CCNM. All of this preparation was worth it! AND, my adrenals are ready for the challenge!