Originally from Jonesboro, Arkansas, Courtney Middleton is a third-year naturopathic medical student at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM). She shares her path to naturopathic medicine, how she balances life as a mother and ND student, and advice for future students.
Why did you choose naturopathic medicine?
“After nearly completing the pre-pharmacy program at Arkansas State University, I realized that a career in pharmacy was not a good fit for me. By that time, I had worked nearly four years at the Arkansas Bioscience Institute studying neuroscience, developing an interest for innovation, and an appreciation for the concept of healing a person and not just their disease.”
Inspired to educate people to maintain their health on a daily basis, Courtney finished her undergraduate program and pursued her calling in naturopathic medicine.
How did you prepare for ND school?
“Being an exceptional student, shadowing doctors, practicing mental stamina…but what really prepared me was my drive and assigning a purpose to myself. This is what naturopathic medicine is to me; it is purposeful, inspiring and effective. Hundreds of years of medical knowledge being used for today’s illness in an innovative way. You have to be passionate about that to be successful not only in the program, but afterwards in your practice as a physician.”
Why did you choose SCNM?
“Once I visited SCNM, I knew it was where I wanted to be. I really enjoy the sense of community I feel through being surrounded by intelligent and motivated doctors in training who are passionate about healing the whole patient instead of just the patient’s symptoms. Allopathic medicine is changing its direction, and physicians are taking more of a naturopathic approach. I am so excited and passionate about this, and I enjoy being around so many others share that same passion.”
How do you maintain a school/life balance?
“I did not expect that I would have a child and be a single mother while in the program. Is it hard? Absolutely! But this experience has been crucial to my growth not only as a woman, but as a future physician. I have allowed this experience to shape and mature me. I have become more time-efficient, more organized, and more inspired to do my absolute best.
Recognizing her extroverted nature, Courtney makes time for social interaction with family, friends and hobbies. By prioritizing self-care, she is able to focus on the present and be fully engaged with her loved ones and school work which helps to manage anxiety.
What advice do you have for future ND students?
“You do not have to be compassionate and love humanity to be a mediocre physician, but you have to be compassionate and loving in order to be a GREAT physician. That is what we do, we help humans no matter their sex, race, religious preference or political ideologies. I ask that all future students and doctors look within themselves, and heal whatever it is that could block them from wanting to extend compassion. Let’s be more than mediocre, let’s be great!
Also, ask for help when you need it. Do not wait until it is too late into the academic cycle if you are having a hard time understanding the material. There is nothing wrong with taking on a different perspective if that means you can process the information.”
Click here to learn about other naturopathic doctors’ paths to naturopathic medicine.