Let's start with orientation. An introvert's worst nightmare, but a necessary experience for all new programs. This year at CCNM, the orientation took place over 2 days, about a week before classes officially began. The first day was a simple introduction to the course, our online learning platform, how to get around the school and the basics of attending a new program. There were also discussions about the expectations from our professors, classamates and the upper year students. We discussed our hopes and dreams for the profession of Naturopathic Medicine, and one point that was discussed in great detail was the idea that our class (114 people) are here to work together. We are no longer in a competitive undergraduate program, but instead we all have a common goal, to become great naturopathic physicans. It doesn't matter if I graduate with a 99% and my classmate graduates with a 68%, we are both naturopathic doctors after graduation and it's not likely that our patients will be asking to see any final marks.
This idea really hit home with me, and I think with a lot of my classmates as well. We have all come from such competitive backgrounds, that finally being able to breathe, share and discuss with our peers is a welcomed change. We have started Facebook groups, study goups and even have a Google Drive that the entire school can access to share documents, images and other study materials.
While days 1 and 2 were filled with presentations, lunches and time to bond with our fellow students, the third day was set out to be a "Unity Summit" which is put on by our student association. This year the day was set up differently, as in the past it was an overnight adventure, however, the day was set up as an Amazing Race with a meal and social gathering at the end of the night. Unfortunatly, I developed a cold on day 1 of orientation and didn't feel up to running around the city, so I didn't attend the day's events, but I did meet up with everyone in the evening and had a wonderful time.
We had an opportunity to meet upperclassmen, ask questions and hear from a successful ND who is finally living out her dream of opening a clinic after working for years, raising a family and putting others first. Overall, it was a great event and a wonderful week of orientation.
This past week was Week 1 of classes.
What a week. This week was an opportunity to meet professors, learn about the courses and even get down to material for some of our lectures! It's an interesting set up at CCNM. Our class spends much of our day in the same lecture theatre (we all take the same classes, unlike an undergrad program where students can choose electives), we don't have a dedicated time for lunch and we take 11 courses at once, having one lecture for most classes each week. There is only once class, Anatomy, for which we have multiple lectures each week.
As you can imaging, having so many different classes, and only having them presented once a week, means that we sit through some VERY long lectures. The majority of our lectures are 2.5 hours long, with a few being shorter. Interestingly, we also don't have any wet labs, everything is done in a classroom. Our classes for first semester include:
Botanical Medicine (herbs, plants, and naturally occuring substances)
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Principles in Research
Clinic (essentially learning the basics of charting and clinic professionality)
Academic and Professional Success
Naturoapthic History, Philosophy, and Principles
So far I'm really enjoying the variety in classes and having fun with learning new material that I haven't seen before. Some of the clas material is a bit...odd and it's been challenging to change my mindset from simply science based learning to more of an emotional and sometimes theory based learning. I'm excited for what week 2 is going to bring and I'm excited to have the first week out of the way and to know what and where I'm going!