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Jul 19, 2019 8:10:00 AM
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There are so many things happening in life, and we need to understand that they’re not all under our control. I am one of those who puts every detail of my life in my phone and paper calendars--especially the academic countdown to when I graduate!

Exactly one year ago, in the spring of 2018, I started the Master of Science in Oriental Medicine program (MSOM) at National. How I came to find out about the school and the program were due to divine intervention and timing. Anything we put our minds to do, as they say, is “mind over matter”. I really do agree, but as I had said earlier, not everything is under our control. So what do we do? We adapt to it, or try to work with it. I planned to graduate from the MSOM program of December 2020, but things got moved around so now that I will graduate in April of 2020.

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My choice to make that call came from many different realizations, and I know that no matter what I do, I do it in pursuit of my higher calling. I know the focus of this academic decision has primarily to do with me: my choices, my dedication and my passion. Many students have no attachments or responsibilities other than solely for themselves. Others come to National still holding full-time jobs to support themselves, or with spouses and families to support and children to raise.

I came in as a caregiver to my mom. Yes, many times I am that nagging daughter who still has problems trying to figure out if I am a quiet daughter, or not. Or, whether or not I should put my foot down and say, “No Mom you can’t do that, because it will hurt you.” (Whatever my role, perhaps I am just annoying?! LOL). My mom is not getting any younger, and while she is not weaker, she also is not getting any stronger. As a caregiver who wants to spend more time with my mom, I made the choice to postpone my herb curriculum in the program and just focus on acupuncture. That cuts down my loans by a good chunk, and of course my time at National by two trimesters.

However, the choice was not solely because of my mom. I meditated, prayed, networked, and worked with my supportive academic advisors, fellow classmates and other soon-to-be-alumni, for their counsel. I feel strongly that I made the correct decision. Will it move me faster academically to graduate? Of course. Will it make me richer? Probably not.

As excited as I am that my academic achievement is just around the corner, I still need to prepare myself with the academic knowledge to graduate, to sit and pass my boards, to begin networking for my practice as an individual, or partner up with another soon-to-be-professional.

Who knows what will happen, or where I will go? All I know is I am almost at the end of this academic adventure. I am truly blessed and grateful to be in this program, to have met, collaborated with, and to have formed so many special relationships that will always be part of my National adventure. So for now, I just keep swimming!





Posted by Rina Sem

Rina Sem is a student at the Lombard, Illinois campus studying in the Master of Science-Oriental Medicine program. Though working in the medical field for 10 years, she is keeping the promise she made to her father to complete her master’s degree. Rina is a first-generation American of Cambodian heritage, and passionate about her studies in the field of complementary and alternative medicine.