Learning to be Great Doctors in Naturopathic Medical School

When I first saw the schedule of classes for my first semester, I was filled with excitement, joy, and … anxiety. Naturopathic medical school is not like undergrad with its five or six fairly rigorous classes. Oh, no. When I carefully looked at the schedule I was given at orientation at the beginning of last month, there were ELEVEN classes for this semester … count them … 11! We are mostly in class for eight hours a day with some breaks in between.

This is the list of our classes for this semester:

  • Botanical medicine 1
  • Anatomy 1 (3 times a week)
  • Clinical Physiology 1 (2 times a week)
  • Naturopathic History, Philosophy, and Principles
  • Homeopathic Medicine 1
  • Clinic 1
  • Principles in research
  • Anatomy 1 lab
  • Health psychology
  • Asian medicine 1
  • Biochemistry

Sounds amazing and fun, right?! It truly is. I have learned so much in the past month and am continuing to learn new things every day. Right now we are learning all of the vertebrae with their unique markings in Anatomy, sharpening our analytical skills in our research class, and cracking open the Synthesis Repertorium Homeopathicum Syntheticum or as we fondly call it, “Synthesis” to find a fitting remedy and symptom profile in Homeopathy.

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A drawing from Dr. Terzic showing us the ligaments of the cervical vertebrae.

In many of our classes, we are also learning the soft skills — the skills that will make us incredible naturopathic doctors. I honestly didn’t expect to learn these soft skills so quickly from the first week of classes but they are beginning to enrich my life as a person and future ND. We have been learning how to self-reflect after a patient interview, how to truly listen to the patient, acknowledge them and understand them — to truly make them feel heard. This is an incredible gift that I cannot wait to give to my future patients!

Some of us have begun shadowing the clinic supervisor at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic located here at the school. During our shadowing, we are able to see how the supervisor interacts with the staff, observes patient cases, and helps to solidify the treatment plan that each intern forms. I also bought my stethoscope and lab coat and am very excited for my first clinic shift later this month.

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Some of our first year naturopathic medical school books.

I have also been making it a priority to practice self-care every day. I have been making time for working out, meditating, and spending time with my amazing fiancé and friends. I love the hashtag #Selfcareishealthcare! If we keep ourselves healthy, we will be able to be there for those around us, as well as oxygenate our blood and support our brain function! I definitely don’t want to lose my health while studying health so I make it a point each day to practice self-care.

Overall, it’s been an intense schedule but I wouldn’t trade this experience in for the world. My fellow 79 classmates are the most incredible, amazing, emotionally intelligent, and beautiful people I have ever met. I am so excited to get to know them more during the next four years and look forward to becoming incredible NDs! It’s great that we all go through this program together. I am also so excited and proud to be the co-academic representative for my class. We truly embody our theme of Forging the Future!

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THE room where we spend all of our classes and time together for year 1. Also known as the menopause room because of drastic changes in temperature.

We are currently preparing for our six midterms that we will have in two weeks. Although this is a busy time, I am so happy I am able to share what it’s been like during the first month of naturopathic medical school!

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