You have made it through your first couple of terms, with those pesky basic science classes, and you are itching to get to more “real chiropractic” and find out what the secret of adjusting is all about. Now it is time to begin working to gather information about chiropractic in general and specific chiropractic techniques in particular. It’s also a great time to get out and start looking at chiropractic offices.
First, explore chiropractic. If you are like many other students, you may have limited knowledge of chiropractic. Some students come to chiropractic school without ever having been adjusted. When the dust clears from your first few classes, go to your school’s clinic and ask to be a patient. If you have a friend or relative who is already a clinic student, ask if you can be his or her patient (it’s a safe bet they will be glad to take you!). While you are being cared for, ask lots of questions: “Why are you doing that?” “What does that mean?” “What’s on that x-ray?” If you can, switch interns (student doctors) so you can be under different techniques. If one technique works for you, put that into your list of possibilities, but don’t assume it will work for everyone. The more techniques you can observe now, the better.
Second, explore student clubs and activities. Get a list of student clubs, find out when they meet, and start attending. It’s tempting to go where your friends go, but avoid the temptation to follow the pack. Go on your own and watch and listen. If you like what you see, stay; if you don’t, move on. Each club will probably try to get you to sign up to join. It’s probably too soon to lock yourself into one club right now; take a “wait and see” attitude.
You don’t have to restrict yourself only to technique-related clubs. (See Issue 6 for more information on how to select a technique.) Other club opportunities are available at most schools. For example, many schools have practice management clubs, alumni clubs, and special-interest clubs like sports and pediatrics clubs. Again, think carefully about which clubs are most appealing to you and which you want to spend more time in.
Third, explore chiropractic offices. One of the best ways to learn about chiropractic is to visit chiropractic offices and talk to chiropractors. On breaks, visit offices wherever you are. Even if you’re on vacation, take an afternoon and check out a local chiropractor. If you can find an alumnus of your school, that’s even better. Ask your alumni office if there is a grad where you’re going to be.
You may want to ask about possible preceptor opportunities or associate positions, or you might just want to get a feeling about the office. Use our practice visit checklists when you’re visiting offices. Don’t forget to take notes.
This second six months is a time to explore, get to know more about the profession you’re going into, and about the opportunities on your campus for involvement in that profession.