Approximately 75% of new grads are unhappy in their first job. That is a staggering statistic, one of which you don’t want to be a part of. So, how do you prepare for life after graduation?
Every minute at chiropractic school is focused on the very next thing that you have to do. You power through that reading assignment, then the tricky research paper, then the written exam. Then repeat. Day after day, month after month, year after year. You keep your head down and work hard. All of your energy is devoted to your course; you don’t have the time or energy to think about what comes after you walk across the stage in cap and gown.
But, walking across that stage will come faster than you think it will. The more you prepare for life after graduation, the more likely you are to be successful and happy in your first position.
As a chiropractic coach and one of the founds of Barcelona Chiropractic College, I have spent 25 years coaching chiropractic students, new grads, and veteran Chiropractors. When it comes to first jobs, I have heard every disaster story out there. I believe that you can avoid so much of this disappointment with adequate planning.
When is the best time to start planning your entry into the chiropractic profession?
As early as the end of your first year of university. If you’ve made it to the end of the first year, you’re probably going to stick with the course. Didn’t get started that early? The second best time to start is now.
Have a notebook that is dedicated to your future chiropractic life, and make sure you are writing in it often. Here are some questions that you should be asking yourself:
- What type of Chiropractor do I want to be? (Vitalistic, wellness, bio-mechanical)
- There are dozens of different techniques, which will I use? (Manual, energetic, other therapies)
- What patients would I love to see? (Families, babies, older people, extremely sick people, athletes, professionals, animals)
- Where do I want to practice? (City, small town, rural area, my country or another)
- What days and hours will I see patients? (Weekdays, weekends, mornings, afternoons, evenings)
- How many patients do I want to see a day? (20, 40, 100, more)
Be sure to date you entries in your notebook, and watch how your thinking evolves as you gain a greater understanding of our profession.
Expanding your knowledge of practice
Do you want to expand your knowledge of practice? Visit as many practices as you possibly can whilst you’re at university. This could be practices around your university, around your hometown, or even when you go on holiday. My husband, Marc Hudson, and I did this. It proved to be a goldmine of information for us.
Make sure you get permission to visit the practice first, and set up a specific time. Arrive on time and be sure to dress professionally. We have students who show up at our practice in shorts and flip-flops – never do that!
Have all your senses on high alert throughout the visit. Once you finish, write up everything about the visit in your notebook.
- What did you like about the location?
- What did you like about the energy?
- What did you like about the colours and decor?
- What did you like about the systems?
- What did you like about the words that were spoken?
- Did the patients seem happy? Bored? What about the CAs? The Chiropractor?
- What did you like about the adjustments?
- What about the visit flow through the office?
Then write down what you didn’t like about all those things. Do this often enough, and you will start to develop a picture of your dream practice. This information is golden and can mean the difference between you having a wonderful career and leaving the profession in two years time and becoming a yoga instructor.
Yes, this happens – sadly, a lot.
Continually hone the image you are creating by talking with your classmates and any chiropractic mentors you have. Run it by them and get their opinions. Other people can often see things that you might have missed. Evaluate and re-evaulate your dream until it’s crystal clear to you.
Knowing what you want out of life is the first step to getting it.
– Lynn McAvenia