Before I started school at CCNM, an ND that I preceptored with said “If there is one piece of advice I can give you it is this – try to get out of the CCNM academic bubble.” But let’s face it! The naturopathic medical program is CHALLENGING!! With all the assignments, exams and preceptoring requirements to fulfill, we rarely have the time to do anything else. However, getting involved, either at CCNM or elsewhere, can actually benefit you as much as the academic learning. Here’s five reasons why:
It helps build leadership & teamwork skills – Some say you can either be a leader or a team player. But, NDs must be both. Whether you open your own
clinic or work in someone else’s, it takes teamwork to run a clinic smoothly. As an ND you will also have to take initiative to formulate treatment plans and guide your patients to better health. These skills are vital to success in our profession, and while some already have leadership or team based experience, there’s no harm in practicing and perfecting these skills by joining an association or starting a club.
You get to make connections – As a student, it is good to get to know naturopathic doctors with experience building a practice and treating a variety of conditions. It gives you an opportunity to gain mentorship from successful NDs and also get insider tips on how to build your own successful practice. Apart from professional relationships, you also have the opportunity to build lifelong friendships with your colleagues. There’s no better way to bond over things you have in common or time that you have spent organizing an event or committee.
It helps to build your patient base – Meeting new people outside of your CCNM class is a great way to spread the word about naturopathic medicine. It is also a good way to learn about your community and do some community outreach. This helps build a patient base for when you are and intern and starting your practice. If you are getting involved in CCNM, it helps you reach out to students and the CCNM community who may want to become your patient!
Take a break from school work – Having to study for 13 exams and submitting several assignments can be daunting. Participating in extracurricular activities helps you take your mind off studying while engaging in activities that will benefit you in the short and long term. After all, keeping your sanity is very important.
You learn things CCNM can’t teach you – We have an exceptional program at CCNM that is designed to help us succeed as naturopathic doctors. However, it is still important to supplement our education with real life experiences. Attending conferences outside of school is a great way to stay plugged in to the current undertakings of our profession. Several workshops and programs can help us build our business skills that will be vital when we graduate. Moreover, there are several continuing education courses that we can take if we want to focus in a certain area of medicine. This can help us meet like-minded people that may help our future career.
With these things in mind, get out there, start a club, join a committee or volunteer. It will benefit you and your future practice.