This may be late, but better late than never. To be frank, this took so long to write and decide to publish because I found it difficult to articulate just how spectacular this experience was because I have never experienced anything remotely similar to it. I almost considered just keeping the feelings to myself, but I finally decided to share them.
The American Black Chiropractic Association hosted their annual regional conference at Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington, Minnesota earlier this year. This conference brought many black doctors, future black doctors, and allies all together in one room and such an event, I think, was absolutely beautiful. I learned about much more than chiropractic throughout this weekend. I learned about life. I learned about love. And I learned about family.
Starting with the conference itself, I was given a lot of advice about how to run a practice. I won’t name the doctors because I haven’t asked for their permission to do so, but I took pages of notes on various things like what to look for in contracts, what to wager when deciding if something is an adequate salary, and how to assure that you find yourself experiencing personal development on a daily basis. While much of what was said consisted of things that I knew, they were not things that I was thinking of. I know that my time at Palmer is going to go by fast and preparations for the future should start now and being reminded and told that by professionals focused my mind. I am all about living in the moment, but I am also a believer in realizing that the choices you make today influence your tomorrow even though it’s not promised. There are many things that need to be considered. Thinking about the type of business you want to have, whether you want to work for someone or have people work for you or even a combination of both. Where you want to work or even the type of place you wish to live in when you get a job. There are many, many decisions that need to take place and to make life less stressful, why not start thinking about those decisions now? This advice was given by excellent chiropractors whom I could tell have put a lot of time and effort in themselves and their career. I was inspired by their words and I will be forever grateful for their time and passion shown towards all that were at the conference. The speakers honestly made the future look that much more exciting.
Another thing that happened that past weekend is that the group of students that went all grew very close. Most of the students I went with I already knew of, but I never had a real, heart-to-heart conversation with them before. It was good to have the chance to get to know some of the other students in a way other than a chiropractic school student. I was given good advice about how to survive such a rigorous graduate program, not from an academic level but from a personal and mental level. Everyone is always eager to give out study tips, but studying is the least important part about surviving school or any challenging adventure for that matter. I realized how not alone I am at school that weekend too. Even though I am not the most talkative person, I didn’t realize how many people I could turn to if I truly needed some help. While all of us may be in different trimesters and even different parts of our lives, we are all one and are all in this together. I guess that this was such a revitalizing time for me because I have never really been around so many people that share not only my passion for the art and philosophy of chiropractic, but my passion for being the best chiropractor I possibly can.
To put the weekend into words is challenging, but if I could summarize it into one phrase I would simply say that it saved me at a time when I needed it most. I had just had my first unprovoked tonic-clonic or grand mal seizure and my body and mind felt depressed and wiped out. I was stressed and I was not in a good place. I needed this experience for my soul and the universe delivered. When I look back now, especially with everything that is currently being highlighted in the media, I am glad to be a part of a beautiful association and profession. I have started to form a great network and even if I am just friends with someone on Facebook or LinkedIn, to have that connection means something to me. I can already tell that my time at Palmer and my lifelong membership with ABCA will constantly humble me and help me grow into a beautiful, intelligent professional. This is only the beginning.