As I’m about to graduate chiropractic college and jump into the real world as a doctor, I reflect on these past 3 and a half years as some of the best of my life. Chiropractic college taught me so many things – not only about human physiology and adjusting, but about life and relationships.
Since starting chiropractic college, I have made countless lifelong friends, become a complete coffee addict, travelled the world, visited 12 new states, binge watched too many shows on Netflix, given over 3 dozen public speeches, planned a 250 person wedding remotely, married my high school sweetheart, filled in hundreds of scantron bubbles, asked “are you going to seminar” way too many times, adjusted thousands of people, and seen the lives of millions be changed forever by the power of chiropractic.
THE FIRST 2 YEARS
During the first 2 years of chiropractic college, you’re drowning in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, renal/pulmonary, central nervous system, radiology, embryology, and all the other -ologies you can possibly think of. I’m not going to sugar coat it – it’s a tough 2 years. The sheer amount of information that is thrown at you in a small amount of time is overwhelming and can honestly seem impossible at times.
I remember when I first started school thinking, “How in the world am I supposed to retain all this information?” It’s definitely daunting, but absolutely doable. There is so much repetition in the information since the classes are made to build upon each other, and with a plethora of resources at your fingertips and your fellow drowning classmates to study with, you have everything you need to be successful.
By the end of your first 2 years, you take part one of the chiropractic national boards exams. To learn more about what this test entails and how to survive it, check out my post How To Survive Part One Chiropractic Boards.
THE NEXT 6 MONTHS
After you conquer part one boards and finish up your 8th quarter, you enter what every chiro student looks forward to: clinic. You finally get to start doing what you’ve been practicing and waiting for what feels like an eternity, but with that comes the pressure of major practical exams, sorting through and figuring out an absurd amount of paperwork, and managing real life patients.
The first 6 months of your career in clinic is spent in student clinic – managing fellow students and adjusting them. This is where you learn the nitty gritty about how the Health Center runs. There is a huuuuuuge learning curve for things that can only be taught through experience. This is where leaning on upper quarter students to show you the ropes is vital. These 6 months are really hard, mainly because of the learning gap. But everyone gets through it.
THE LAST YEAR
The last year and a half of classes are mainly focused on diagnosis and business. The good news is that the closer you get to graduation, the further you get from the classroom. For the past 3 years you’ve had class everyday from 7:30-5. In your last year, the class load gets lighter and lighter while your clinic load gets heavier and heavier.
Once you finish your requirements in the student health center, pass the dreaded clinic entrance exam, and get drafted into a mentor group, you’re all set to start seeing outpatients!
Every chiropractic college has different clinic requirements of hours completed, number of adjustments given, and number of cases managed. This can be a stressful time, but don’t let it get the best of you. Clinic is what you’ve been waiting and working so hard for! It definitely gets frustrating with all the rules and paperwork, but you are practicing in an office with your best friends – how great is that?!
To add to this stress, within the last few months of graduation is when you’ll take parts 2, 3, 4, and the physiotherapy section of the chiropractic national boards exams. It’s a lot to juggle. I’ve definitely had my fair share of mental breakdowns from this crazy program, mainly all during the times where clinic and national boards meet.
WAS IT WORTH IT?
When I first started, a professor told me, “Going to chiropractic college is about the least healthy thing you could do for yourself.” Now being (almost) on the other end, I completely understand. It’s stressful, exhausting, and extremely challenging. But more importantly, it’s the craziest journey where you get to experience the deepest of friendships, the most rewarding successes (and failures), and grow into the doctor you were made to be.
And I wouldn’t change it for anything.