If you will recall, we've had a chiropractic student giving us his thoughts since just prior to starting his doctoral education at Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic in South Carolina. I think it important that you understood what a chiropractic student goes through. It's quite a journey and I wish I'd written it all down. So, I'll be back next week, but without further ado let's turn our attention to (3 years away from being Dr.) Josh...
Pre 3rd-quarter journal
Well, another quarter down. I am probably going to say this after every quarter when I write these blogs, but ďTime really flies.Ē Six months ago, I was laying out by the pool everyday and hanging out with my best friends. Now, I am two quarters through chiropractic school and less than three years from graduation! Not a lot has changed between first quarter and second quarter. The classes and material were definitely harder this time around. However, by the end of the first quarter, you learn the ropes and how to study in order to be successful. Second quarter and eighth quarter are the two heaviest quarters in the Sherman College curriculum, as we logged in 396 total hours in a span of one quarter in classes and labs. The following is the list of classes that my classmates and I completed right before Christmas.
Anatomy II with Lab Ė This 9 hour per week anatomy course was strictly on the head and neck. Can you imagine going to class for 9 hours studying just the head and neck while not even covering the brain and spinal cord? All of the cranial nerves, venous/arterial routes, duras, cranial/facial bones, and anatomy of the skull, eye, face, mouth, pharynx, larynx, trachea, and thyroid cartilage was covered.
Microbiology I- This course was devoted to the study of bacteria in ecological and biological cycles and how they affect healthy and diseased bodies. Immunological concepts involving the different bacterias are covered. We had to learn approximately 40 different bacterias, their symptoms they cause, scientific name, nickname, and ways to treat the bacteria condition throughout the quarter.
Biochemistry II- This class was about the anabolic and catabolic pathways of the cells in our bodies. Talk about memorization. We had to memorize over 20 different complex cycles while knowing every intermediate and enzyme in biological processes such as glycolysis, Krebís cycle, Electron Transport Chain, Fatty Oxidation, Fatty Synthesis, Glycogenolysis, Urea Cycle, Nucleotide Synthesis, and many, many more.
History of Chiropractic- This course is designed to provide historical information about the scientific, philosophical, clinical, political, sociological, and educational development of the chiropractic profession. Students also had to do a thorough research project on a specific technique in the chiropractic field and present it in a powerpoint presentation.
Philosophy II- This course is simply a continuation of Philosophy I. All 33 chiropractic principles are thoroughly discussed and debated in class. Students also develop their own worldview by both deductive and inductive reasoning. The role of the chiropractor in the healthcare field was also discussed.
Spinal Biodynamics I Ė This was a very challenging course. The students learned the ins and outs of the entire human spine. How it moves, how itís connected, and what itís attached to was covered in excruciating detail. The student learns the details of the classification of joints in the spine, their respective articular surfaces, and related ligaments and muscles that will help benefit the student in further classes such as palpation, x-ray, and technique courses. Spinal musculature and an in-depth look at spinal embryology was also covered.
Toggle/Palpation II- Toggle/Palpation I was the static palpation of the human spine. This past quarter, we put the spine into motion and learned how to detect for restriction in joints of the spine with very specific movements. These restrictions, along with other findings such as pattern analysis, and x-rays, help the chiropractor to locate, analyze, and correct vertebral subluxation. The toggle mechanism is also practiced two-three times per week in order to develop the proper motor skills for the toggle adjustment.
That seemed like a mouthful. In chiropractic school, there are different moods and feelings that cross your mind on a daily basis. The days seem sooo long, but the weeks go by so fast, if that makes any sense at all. Throughout most of the days, you feel like you are just constantly going through the motions as the teachers spit out as much information as they possibly can in the allotted time. However, on the other side of things, I feel like I grow a little more and become more confident each and every day. The students kind of get bogged down with all of the bookwork and constant late nights studying. But, when we have our palpation class and work with the spine and listen to visiting speakers; it puts everything in perspective and reminds us why we want to be chiropractors.
My favorite part of chiropractic school has been the experience of being with my classmates. Sherman College prides themselves on the small class sizes. We started in July with a total of 15 students in our class. Heading into this quarter, we have 12 in our class. The other three left for various reasons such as transferring to another school, grades, and transportation problems.
However, as I explained the busy schedule above, we are in class basically from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm everyday of the week. Then, we have to go home and study and prepare for the next day of 8 hours of lecture material. By being with each other over 30 hours per week, we have become a very close family. Everyone gets along and we have a great time outside of class together on the weekends. Every other week, we meet at one of our classmatesí house for Taco Thursdays. Everyone brings a certain food item or ingredient, the women cook the meal and the guys play with the dogs. Then, we all eat together and either watch a movie or just hang out and talk with one another away from the confinement of a classroom. I have a difficult time describing the friendships we have made. We constantly have to depend on each other and be held accountable for the heavy course load. We all work together in trying to help everyone succeed. Unlike medical school, we are not competing for any spots. In medical or law school, you want to beat out the guy sitting next to you so you can get the top residency or get the big law firm promotion. However, in chiropractic, we for the most part all have the same motive in helping people be healthy and well by removing subluxations. Why not help the guy sitting next to you if their main intention is to help make this world a better, and more healthier place?
During the school-wide 11:00 breaks, there are club days. Numerous clubs are offered by students and faculty to help bring certain interests of students together during the breaks. On Mondays, I have been a member of the palpation club where students fine-tune their palpation skills under the supervision of faculty and upper-quarter students already in the health clinic. On Tuesdays, I participate in the Upper Cervical Club where we have many speakers come in and give their testimonies on how Upper Cervical Care changed their lives. We also discuss the philosophy and science of the upper cervical subluxation, and go over certain setups for different techniques. On Fridays, I was voted as the new Secretary/Co-Vice President for the Christian Chiropractic Club for the 2011 school year. Every Friday morning, we either have a guest speaker come in and give a testimony or talk about a Christian topic that can either relate to Chiropractic or not. We also do bible studies, prayer groups, and other functions that involve the entire school such as the school-wide cookout to welcome the new students every quarter. Itís just a great club to have fellowship and be with other Christian chiropractic students who share the same faith.
I also was really busy this past quarter as I enjoyed playing on the Sherman Menís Softball Team. We compete in an open league with a lot of competitive teams. This was by far my favorite experience thus far at Sherman College outside of the actual campus. As I mentioned above, you spend 30 plus hours in the same classroom with the same 12 people every day of the week. Therefore, itís somewhat difficult to get to know the other students in the lower and higher quarters. By playing on the softball team, I built many great relationships with several of the higher quarter students, the majority of them already being in clinic. The advice they give you about the program, board exams, their individual techniques, and the clinic experience itself are phenomenal. It was really fun getting to know and hang out with other Sherman students besides the same 12 you see every hour of the day. Being a third baseman in high school, I immediately fit right into the lineup when they didnít have a steady third baseman going into the season. We started out real rough, and ended the season 4-8 overall.
We got put in the Spartanburg County Lower Division Tournament (which is kind of like a consolation tournament or a bowl game for teams that did not have that great of years). There, we got on fire. We won 3 straight games in a convincing fashion and advanced to the championship game. Our shortstop had an anniversary dinner to attend on the night of the championship game, so I was moved over to Shortstop for the championship game. I canít remember the last time I had that much fun on a diamond. We blew them out and finished the year with a 4 game winning streak and won the tournament. The league gave us a trophy that is almost taller than me, and it has been displayed in the front atrium of the school since. It was a great time, and we are going to start practice in March to get prepared to have an even more successful season for the Spring League.
So, thatís what is new with me for this last quarter. There really isnít much free time during the weeks. You wake up before the sun is up, and you get home an hour before the sun sets. Youíll do a workout, or have a softball game twice a week and thatís basically it. Every other night, youíre constantly studying for the next quiz or the next exam in what seems like a never-ending cycle. However, on the weekends it is what you make of it. Some of the students donít do any studying over the weekend and just take time to themselves and recuperate from the long week. Many students take the weekend to study what they have learned all week. I believe with chiropractic school, itís not really how much you do during the week; I believe the difference in grades are really reflected on how you spend your weekends. Thereís simply not enough time in the week to learn and master all of the material.
Time sure does fly. In everything we do, that second-hand seems to just go faster as we age. I canít wait until the end of this quarter to update everyone as my journey through chiropractic school continues. No matter what endeavors or trials or tribulations one experiences in their life, always remain positive and keep your head up. My girlfriend gave me a gift this past year that I keep on my desk to remind to keep my priorities straight when I get too bogged down or stressed out about school. The gift is a cross that has the following bible verse on it: ďHave I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.Ē Joshua 1:9. If you always remember that, how can you life ever bring you down?