Please list your name and your hometown.
Glen Ellyn, IL
What year are you in ND school?
4th year (Graduating August 20, 2021)
Why do you want to be a naturopathic doctor?
In retrospect, I came to naturopathic medical school seeking solutions to my own health issues. Today I hope to inspire and educate those seeking additional therapies to treat their illnesses as illness can often be cured when one creates the conditions for health.
How did you prepare to be a strong candidate for ND school?
A career in healthcare wasn’t on my radar until two decades after I completed my undergraduate education in advertising and marketing, so I wouldn’t necessarily say “I prepared to attend medical school.”
I started my 2nd career journey at a local community college earning degrees in personal training and wellness coaching. Not feeling fulfilled in the positions these degrees prepared me for, I continued searching and incidentally landed in a Student of the Day tour for the Chiropractor Doctorate program at NUHS. Upon sitting in a laboratory science class and discussing the program with student guides over lunch, I enrolled in NUHS’s preparatory science bridge program the very next trimester…but in the Naturopathic program, not Chiropractic.
What was important to you in selecting a school?
Location! I am originally from the area and it was important to me to stay close to my family. It was a decision I have never regretted.
Now that you are in school, what have you learned/experienced that you didn’t expect?
Where do I begin?! Having primarily a business background after committing to a 20 year career in restaurant marketing, the educational experience has been unexpectedly transformational on many different levels. It was important to me to utilize the modalities and skills I was learning, so I began incorporating them into my healthcare routine. I unexpectedly evolved spiritually, physically, emotionally and educationally by using naturopathic medicine in my own life. In retrospect this has afforded me a greater depth of knowledge and understanding of the medicine, not to mention, a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life! As I created the conditions for health and utilized the naturopathic principles in my own life, my well being, my relationships, my physique and my overall perception of life became vastly different than when I entered into the bridge program in 2013. A wise elder told me my first year of study, that if I took the time to heal myself along the educational journey, my waiting room would never be bare. Now that I’m a few months away from opening my clinic, it seems that he was right!
What is your favorite thing about school so far?
Meeting so many like minded comrades not just inside the classroom but at professional conferences such as Naturopathic Medical Student Association (NMSA) and American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. As my mentor Dr. Louis Edwards always says, we are black sheep with big hearts – finding others ‘like me’ has been refreshing and fulfilling.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, I also especially enjoyed attending various NUHS club events such as yoga, NMSA hikes, volunteering as a student ambassador and tending to the botanical garden. By participating in on campus activities between classes, it allowed me to have a more balanced, educational experience amidst the expected medical school demands.
What advice do you have to offer future students?
Don’t just learn the medicine, explore the philosophy and history while utilizing them at your local clinic. Not only will it afford you a greater depth of understanding of the naturopathic principles and modalities, it will give you a ‘leg up’ when entering the clinical portion of the program where the environment is fast paced and quick recall is key.
Be easy on yourself, medical school is meant to be challenging!
Create balance in your personal and school life, while investing in self care. Your body and mind will thank you for it!
How did you learn about naturopathic medicine?
I did not know naturopathic medicine existed until I attended a class during a guided Student of the Day tour at NUHS.
What steps did you take to ensure naturopathic medicine was the right fit for you? Did you attend an AANMC virtual fair, watch a webinar, visit school(s), or shadow an ND?
How do you maintain school/life balance? Please note other activities you may be involved with on campus or in the community.
By being organized (to do lists are fantastic!) while loosely scheduling my time each week. Instead of a structured study schedule, I would schedule several hour blocks and hop from topic to topic as needed based on assignment priorities and exam dates. This allowed me to dedicate more time to materials as needed but still complete all my tasks by the weeks’ end.
During my studies at NUHS, I was very active in the on campus clubs and organizations. I sat as the Naturopathic Medical Student Association (NMSA) Global Health Chair in 2014 and was honored to be elected President of the Chicago Chapter from 2015-17.
Anything else you wish to share?
As an older student without a science background, my medical school journey has taken me far longer than most – 7 years to be exact. Although it’s not traditional (and some schools may not allow this), I would not change it for anything. Remember, this is your journey and your book to write – do what you need to do to be a successful physician, and if that includes taking less classes or a summer off to recharge, don’t be ashamed, in the end the only person you have to answer to is yourself.
Personal FB page: https://www.facebook.com/karahkruse
Business FB page: https://www.facebook.com/healthfulllivingwithkarah