Advice for a successful chiropractic education experience from a recent graduate with tips to support students in their journey
Keiser University College of Chiropractic Medicine in West Palm Beach, Fla., in December 2019 graduated its first matriculated cohort. As a member of the first graduating class from Keiser, Casey Rogers passes on his tips to “assist and support young chiropractic students in their arduous journey of achieving their DC degree, all the while finding the greatest success they can as a student.”
Prepare for a challenging process, mentally and physically
Most chiropractic educational institutions require three years or more of coursework. Typically, through the first several semesters or trimesters, a lecture-based curriculum demands students are on campus Monday-Friday and attend lectures starting first thing in the morning through late afternoon.
Lectures are composed of several separate subject matters with varying degrees of difficulty, yet each is as important as the next. These courses include general sciences such as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, microbiology and neurology, to name a few. Additionally, there are courses focused on chiropractic history, theory and technique.
Intermixed with these lectures come lab courses focusing on physical subjects such as manipulation technique, motion palpation and orthopedics. The combination of lectures and lab series congested into a single semester commands that students always remain focused to the work at hand.
Find a balance
Often, subject matter requires what seems like countless hours of study time, review and physically-demanding activity. It is of the utmost importance for students at this stage of their chiropractic education to appropriately allocate time for:
- Study and research
- Personal relationships
- Physical rest
Constructing the greatest balance between study habits, personal time and proper rest can produce successful results for DC students. At this juncture, creating “weekly planners” and prioritizing can also assist in yielding the greatest results for a successful student.
Efficacious DC candidates will also employ:
- Proper diet
- Opportunities to “blow off steam”
As the programs are frequently physically demanding, students must strive to keep their minds and bodies in physically sound condition to accomplish the greatest results. By utilizing “meal preps” and staying hydrated, students can save time and remain healthy and attentive throughout the long, strenuous days of chiropractic education.
Moreover, taking advantage of personal time is a necessity. Whether it is a trip to the beach, a walk in the park, or some casual reading, successful students always take time for themselves. This gives the mind and body an opportunity to decompress and rejuvenate for the difficult road ahead. As well, many student organizations will host social events providing a great occasion to meet fellow students, “blow off some steam,” and take a well-deserved break from studies.
Create a budget
There is no escaping the fact that higher education can be a costly venture. Aside from the chiropractic tuition, housing, transportation and general living expenses quickly add up.
Create a monthly budget to cover the cost of fundamental needs. Leave some extra funds for unexpected expenses. Throughout chiropractic education, there are a vast number of seminars and conferences for professional development. These events are a great opportunity to take advantage of student discounts, but still have associated costs, nonetheless.
While attending these events, take advantage of the free supplies and samples. These can typically be utilized when reaching clinic or in practice to help save costs. Furthermore, take advantage of free publications such as Chiropractic Economics to stay up to date with the profession and research in a cost-efficient way.
By determining regular monthly costs, students can budget accordingly and avoid acquiring increased student loan debt. Remember: Loan repayment begins six months after graduation.
Take a leadership role and be engaged
Within the many organizations affiliated with chiropractic education, there are numerous leadership roles available for students. Taking on a leadership role will help prepare students for life after graduation and remain engaged with current events related to the profession.
These positions can also provide:
- Public speaking skills
- Increased personal confidence
- Networking opportunities
- Professional growth and development
Chiropractic will always need innovative leaders to rise and continue to drive the profession in a positive direction. Frequently, DC leaders began their journey as student leaders at their respective chiropractic alma mater.
Enjoy the ride
For DC candidates, the world that students once knew is surely bound for change. Personal growth and professional development are inevitable. Students are exposed to opportunities they may never have known to even exist prior to matriculation.
The most successful students will “roll with the punches” and adapt to change or any challenges they face during this unique process. Crucially, students must learn from these new experiences and endure the ebbs and flows associated with the extensive progression that is their chiropractic education.
It is normal for students to struggle, stammer and fatigue. Students must approach the ups and downs with resolution. It is through these challenges that personal growth can occur. With the right attitude and tactics, students can reach heights of success they never considered within their chiropractic education.
CASEY ROGERS was a member of the graduating class of December 2019 from Keiser University College of Chiropractic Medicine in West Palm Beach, Fla. He currently serves as a chiropractic clerk at the Miami VA Healthcare System in Florida.