Hailing from Provo, UT, Taylor Goodwin is a second-year naturopathic medical student at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM). He shares his experience leading up to starting his journey in naturopathic medicine, and as an ND student.
Why did you choose naturopathic medicine?
Taylor recognized the need for wellness and preventative care and felt a true calling in healthcare. His curiosity in how things work, including all things science, technology, engineering, and mathematics made naturopathic medicine a natural fit.
How did you prepare for ND school?
“I picked up classes outside my major when they interested me, and generally let curiosity be a guide. I participated in extracurricular activities such as being a teacher’s assistant, volunteering at my church, and interning as a doula with midwife Heather Shelley for two months in Utah.
There were four major factors in my consideration of a naturopathic medical school: the level and quality of research on the campus, that the material being taught is not based solely on someone’s opinion or tradition, the feeling/atmosphere of the campus, and the approval of the school by my mentor. After hearing Dr. Jeffrey Langland – SCNM’s Research Department Chair speak, I felt SCNM had everything I was looking for. Dr. Langland played a large role in raising SCNM’s credibility with me, while also remaining open minded and true to the naturopathic principles. I also liked the open atmosphere on campus.”
What is your favorite thing about school? What surprised you?
“One of my favorite things in school has been tutoring. I love to see people make connections, to see their eyes light up with curiosity’s spark, and feeling the desire to learn for the sake of discovery. Seeing that kindles my own spark, and drives me further.
The most surprising thing that I have learned hasn’t been academic, but about myself. I am much more capable in certain areas than I expected. I have also found that I am much more vulnerable to positive peer opinions than I am to negative ones. I’ve learned a new skill set in dealing with that. I also found it surprising how quickly a close ‘family’ vibe formed in our class.”
How do you maintain a school/life balance?
“At first I was doing well and wasn’t stressed about school. Then I allowed myself get sidetracked by personal issues which led to poor academic focus. I had to take a break for a while. However, I have since found that pushing up to my real breaking point, and beyond, has helped my perspective and self-understanding. I am stronger for it.
Several habits have helped: only using high density study methods, making sleep a priority, and finding things that get my mind away from school such as learning to play the guitar and playing games with friends. I have also had to learn when to say ‘no’ to activities and opportunities.”
Taylor’s extracurricular activities include: teaching and participating in religion classes, tutoring (view a tutoring video that he made on reflex physiology), serving as a teacher’s assistant, working on research projects (current topics include kennel cough as well as others), making home botanical medicines, leading local plant identification walks, botanical medicine gathering trips to Colorado, and mission trips with Naturopaths Without Borders to Mexico. He also teaches religion at his church, and participates in a weekly religion class at Arizona State University.
What advice do you have for prospective ND students?
“Learn how to learn before starting naturopathic medical school. I would recommend a free online course – Learning How to Learn by Barbra Oakley. I strongly encourage you to have a solid idea of why you are coming and why you are learning at the school you choose. Figure out how to hold on to it because when it gets hard, you need to be able to remember why you are there and why you are doing what you are doing. Feed that daily, and you’ll have the emotional fortitude and motivation to solve all the more direct problems as they arise.”
Click here to learn about other naturopathic doctors’ paths to naturopathic medicine.