As Naturopathic students and future physicians, we have big dreams, and with big dreams, significant responsibilities, and expectations come. In 2021 I began my journey as a naturopathic medical student, and I learned quickly that I would have to adapt in order to succeed. At the end of my first trimester, I understood that changes would have to occur in my life so that I could chase my dream. Therefore, as I embarked on this journey, I found that it would take work and challenges would arise. Thus, these are the three things you must remember to succeed: discipline, persistence, and gratitude.
Discipline is built upon consistently working hard and creating the necessary habits to succeed. Medical school can be challenging and draining at times; as a result, we may feel burned out or with the desire to give up. However, as medical students, we must develop habits to help us achieve desired results. Among those habits you can develop are self-care, family time, time management, and your study/review sessions over the week and weekend. Habits are formed upon the repetitive action we intentionally commit to doing until it becomes something similar to second nature. These habits will enhance our ability to fulfill all our objectives, responsibilities, and commitments to become the greatest naturopathic physicians. As a result, discipline is developed, and suddenly we are able to navigate medical school much better.
Persistence is the capacity to remain working hard in spite of obstacles. Think about yourselves being a sailor that decided to cross the sea. As you get halfway through the journey, you find multiple storms. There you will have three options, turn back and return, stay in the middle of the sea, or persist and go through the storms until you reach your destination. This short illustration represents our lives as medical students; we sometimes have ups and downs, challenges, and despair. Therefore, I define persistence as a skill we develop little by little as we continue fighting to chase our dream.
Being grateful is the third concept we must remember, which can be understood as the ability to have a deep appreciation for what we have and have been able to accomplish up to this point. There might be self-doubt, uncertainty, or even challenges that make us feel academically or personally broken. Yet, we must learn how to remain grateful for all of those problematic times since these are the ones that make us grow. Difficult times push us to get out of our comfort zone, which is never easy, yet they will push us to become the best version of ourselves.
Last fall, I read Think Like A Monk, and one quote remains in my life, “As soon as you label something as bad, our mind starts to believe it. Instead, be grateful for setbacks. Allow the journey of life to progress at its own pace and in its own roundabout way.” Therefore, I learned that it is not about us understanding whether something is bad or not. Still, it is about shifting all the energy into accepting the challenge and knowing that you may not feel ready, but the challenge will prepare you to be ready.
Lastly, it is about more than having everything figured out already but learning in the training process while developing the ability to remain disciplined, persist, and be grateful. Ultimately, we all have made it farther than the version of ourselves four years ago. We have reached the highest point of ourselves today, and tomorrow we will be farther from today. Be disciplined day by day, persist during difficult times, and be grateful that you have gone far. Therefore, let’s ensure we enjoy this journey as we chase the dream; thus, one day, we can rejoice in our final achievements and look back at how much we have grown. Do not stop chasing the dream!
Jorge Luis Morales
NUHS Chapter President