My time had finally arrived. Nearly 5 months after receiving my acceptance letter, it was time to start my journey at Life Chiropractic College West.
I had planned and dreamed about going to chiropractic college since before graduating high school. The late nights of studying and the endless undergrad exams had finally ceased, and my body was vibrating as I finished packing my car for the drive down to California. It took almost 20 hours of driving and about 10 Starbucks stops, but eventually my family and I made it to Hayward, California to help me settle in to my new life.
As I drove up to my new home, I was immediately greeted by my new roommate, Surdeep. A fellow Canadian, he was also excited and nervous about starting this chiropractic journey. Eventually Landon and Jordan would also show up to the townhouse to join our chiro roommate team. We all had very different backgrounds coming in to the program, including biology, psychology, business, and kinesiology. All of these things would be included in our chiropractic education, so we were fortunate in knowing we could rely on each other in different classes.
Before we knew it, orientation day was upon us. The four of us all bundled in to Jordan’s Prius and made our way over to our new school – where we would quickly realize we would spend more time at than our actual home. Dozens of new faces walked past us through the hallways as we funnelled our way into the school’s café and eating area. We were greeted by the head of the student life department, affectionately known as Mama Jackie. She had us introduce ourselves – where we were from, what our background was, and why we wanted to be chiropractors. It was interesting to hear everyone’s story and what their experience with chiropractic was – some people were “chiro kids” (they’d been adjusted since birth), and some people had yet to experience their first adjustment. This was the start of a 3+ year journey, and it was also our first introduction to our future colleagues.
The quarter started with a storm of classes and higher expectations of passing – minimum passing grade for a lecture class was 70%, and 75% for a lab class. Classes included Systemic Histology, Cell Physiology, Chiropractic Philosophy, Skeletal Anatomy, Palpation, Chiropractic History, and Spinal Anatomy. Every Friday, we would also meet as an entire school for a single seminar hour, where a different speaker would be brought in each week to discuss something they were passionate about. Classes went quickly and information poured out of our instructors. In a ten week period, we learned the names and landmarks of every single bone in the body, all cell types and their functions, all of the components of the spine, how to find a specific vertebrae on a person’s body, how chiropractic was founded, and why we do what we do. It was the quickest and slowest 10 weeks of our lives. It seemed like we had a test every other day, but we were so excited to learn more.
At the beginning of the quarter each student was paired up with an intern – a higher-level student who was working in the health center. My intern, who went by Emsy, was a super sweet girl who was excited to share her knowledge with me about school up until this point. She ordered my first set of x rays, and created a care plan for me so that my body would be able to function the way I needed it to while I was in chiropractic school. I learned that there was more than one technique in chiropractic school. In fact, there are thousands of techniques, but the school offered 15 more commonly-known ones. Emsy adjusted me using Drop Table technique, which I responded really well to.
I was fortunate enough to find a dance school during my first quarter of classes – I found an adult ballet group who had an abundance of passion and were excited to invite me into their group. It was great to have an outlet that was mine alone – while I love seeing my school friends, it’s nice to have something just for you.
Along with all of the classes going on around campus, there was a multitude of clubs to try out – clubs for techniques, business, philosophy, and general fun. I ended up going to a bunch of clubs throughout the quarter, but I really stuck with the Adjusting Ninjas club (now Kairos Training Culture), which was a group that met at 6am (yes, AM) to train, practice, and focus on becoming the best chiropractors possible. We focused on getting our bodies into proper posture so that we would not injure ourselves while serving others. I loved the community in this group, as well as the dedicated time to train. I also joined the Canada Club, which was a group for all Canadians at the school, as well as anyone interested in moving to Canada to practice. My first quarter landed during Canadian Thanksgiving, so the club hosted an amazing potluck Thanksgiving dinner so we could get to know each other. Landon and Jordan also came as honourary Canadians, and Landon complained that he was going into labour after consuming so much delicious food.
We finished the quarter strong – my roommates and I studied for days on end to pass our classes and it paid off. As a final celebration, the school rented out a theatre to watch the premiere of the newest Star Wars film. It was a lot of fun connecting with classmates outside of the classroom, knowing there were no assignments or tests left to worry about. After the film, I packed my bags and headed home for a well-deserved Christmas break. My taste of the chiropractic profession only made me want more, and I was eager to get back the entire break.