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Midterm Thoughts

By Amy Nielsen

It’s midterm. I’m stuffed full to the brim of new materials and I need a break. One of my classes is done for the term, it only ran half the time but with double the work. It was one of those classes that makes you stop and rethink everything you thought you wanted to do with your career. It almost makes me wish it were continuing for the rest of the term – almost.

I thought I would just go on to a bigger fish pond once I moved up to graduate school. I had no idea the new pond came with grander and more dangerous weeds and some really big barracuda.

I had a chance to connect with a small segment of my class working together on a collaborative paper. We were then asked to consider how our specialty could contribute to the healthcare system.

I had never really thought much about how my little business was going to change the world. I mean I know from all of the classes I have taken up to this point that the teachers I worked with thought they could change the world or they wouldn’t be teaching.

But I had yet to really see how I was in this for the greater good rather than my own pocketbook.

The answer came when I was yet again asked to accept a post-dated check for payment for services rendered that I realized that perhaps I needed to think about my nonexistent P&L statement. My business is ostensibly set up as a for-profit entity because I just don’t have the ability to fund a 501c3 right now.

I have always envisioned this path as a means to a small business. What I have discovered is that there is a whole other side to this industry I was completely unaware of. In parts of this country there are large organizations doing exactly what I want to establish in my little rural neck of the woods. I am so not a reinvent the wheel kind of gal, so it now behooves me to take a step back and reevaluate where I want to go by studying those that have gone before me.

As I have very little business right now, I could let it putter along doing a few events a month as I am and really take the next bit of school time here to explore all of the avenues out there. I can take the time now while I am still in graduate school, and while my business is still tiny, to go visit larger organizations, meet with other practitioners, and really expand my thinking about what I can do with this.

I’m a graduate student, this is my chance to take the time to delve deeply into topics I wouldn’t have presented to me otherwise. It is the time to check out every left turn on the journey. When you run out of lefts start going around to the right. What I mean is that it is the time to challenge myself and what I think it means to be an integrative health and wellness professional.

I’ll be the first to admit I fell into this master’s program half by accident and half by dint of manic panic and shear boredom. When I started the first week, I was already behind the eight ball because I thought it would be a cakewalk. I was sadly mistaken and quickly dissuaded of that opinion. Then I had to play catch up and save face if not grades.

So when this class in current perspectives and practices in the industry ended up as one of my first classes, I had quite the eye opening experience. I had no idea the depth and breadth of this field. I had no concept of what I could do and how much I could change the world as we know it. I thought I was going to be a better health coach, not decide that I need to change the whole healthcare system from the ground up.

I have said before that this program put new wind beneath my wings, but it is more than that. Not only am I carried along with the currents of new knowledge, but I am forced higher and wider in my thinking and my vision of my place within a whole system I was unaware existed.

I have found a community within which I have a place and standing. It’s now my job as a student to make sure I understand where I fit and what my strength is and how to share it with this greater community so that we can accomplish the changes we need to in order to shift the tide of disease in our country.

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