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Why Study Holistic Health in Grad School?

You may wonder why I want to bother spending time and effort going to grad school. I can probably become an I.T. project manager without doing that and make a good living, after all in I.T. experience and communication skills matter more than education. I can obtain needed certifications to advance my I.T. career, so why spend the time and money to study something in a new field?

You also may suggest that I obtain certifications in holistic areas, learn acupuncture or massage; after all these will give me the knowledge I seek and allow me to help people much quicker than a graduate school program would while saving me a lot of time and money.

In this article I respond to these suggestions and tell you why I am looking for a grad school program even though my interest revolves around complementary and alternative mind, body health practices.

Should I decide to remain in my current field of work, the only advancement I anticipate is to move into management. I do not wish to pursue computer programming or computer science research. My real passion in the I.T. field is IT project management.

Moving on, attending grad school offers me a chance to explore a new field, a field I’d like to research, publish and lecture about while allowing me to pursue my life interests in an academic fashion.

Why Grad School?

If you look at my requirements you’ll get an idea why I want to attend grad school to study something totally new.

Let me give you my answer in bullet points.

  • I would like an opportunity to study and research something that I’ve been interested in for a long time that is related to life sciences or health sciences (not computer science)
  • This study should enable me to merge Complementary and Alternative Health methods with science
  • It should allow me to prove these methods’ benefits with evidence-based research & results
  • It should also satisfy my curiosity, offer a chance for research & publications
  • Because this will allow me to pursue a life long interest that can make a big difference in people’s lives, I expect it to to be more fulfilling
  • Allow me to take my personal research and conduct it in an academic setting
  • This study should legitimize my opinions and research findings as Dr. or a Scientist
  • Hopefully there will be a good return on investment; if not a financial one then hopefully in my contributions and findings.
  • Finally, I’d like to take my knowledge and research to people, ideally own a small wellness business as I continue my research for the remainder of my life.

I’m looking for a grad school program because I can; I beleive that my academic qualifications will enable me to apply and get admitted into a program. Financially, I expect things to be challenging.

I’ve had the desire to attend graduate school for a very long time. I had an interest in scientific research even as a teenager, going to grad school to study a field that I am passionate about is really a dream of mine that offers me personal fulfillment and growth.

Furthermore, I aim at conducting my research openly and freely; without being influenced by pharmaceutical companies.

I do not doubt the importance of medical doctors, physicians or any medical practice, but I am a strong beleiver in holistic health, complementary health, preventative medicine, and in mind/body solutions.

Obstacles:

I expect money and time to be the largest obstacles. I cannot really quit my day job, but many if not most grad school programs related to health sciences require a full time schedule.

Got Advice?

If you have any advise or suggestions please contact me. Thanks


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  1. October 23rd, 2008 at 14:11 | #1

    Hey Ethan,
    I am a Chiropractor in the Southern US and I can honestly say that I would never do
    anything else. The world, as a whole, is moving to a more natural style of health-care,
    and its nice to understand the science behind things that have worked for thousands of
    years in getting people well and incorporate them with new scientific discoveries.

    The important part of being an alternative heath care provider is to understand when
    your patient needs traditional care and when the will benefit more from the care that
    you provide. Most people don’t understand what I do…its my job to show them that
    there are plenty of ways to treat things without using traditional medicine…but to
    also teach them when traditional medicine is the right choice.

    Best of luck in your future endeavors. I think that you will find out exactly how
    rewarding it is to help people live healthier lives as you go.

    My path through school was a “war” (it wasn’t easy)…but I wouldn’t change a thing.

    Dr. Ben Adkins
    http://www.drbenadkins.com

  2. October 23rd, 2008 at 15:40 | #2

    Ben, Thanks for your inspiring words. Being a chiropractor is appealing, I’m researching it now, I’m a little concerned about the negative opinions some people have about the profession.

  3. October 23rd, 2008 at 18:12 | #3

    Hi Ethan:

    I think you will find negativity toward many branches in alternative and complementary medicine. You also will not find a chiropractic program that would allow you to study part time. Based on your questions to me and in what I have read on your blog, I would strongly suggest you seek a MS/PhD program perhaps in nutrition or natural medicine. I think you would be better suited and happier in harder sciences rather than holistic and alt med areas. Just my two cents based on your writing.

    Best of luck.

    Dr. Brett L. Kinsler
    Chiropractor
    Rochester, NY

  4. October 24th, 2008 at 04:36 | #4

    Brett,
    You do make a very good point.
    Thank you for taking the time to read about my interests and for your advice, I appreciate your advice.
    Nutrition is on my spreadsheet, I’ll add Natural Medicine as well, I find both interesting.

  5. May 8th, 2010 at 05:35 | #5

    It’s been over 1.5 years since I wrote this. It’s amazing going back and reading one’s thoughts. I have since researched many many areas of study, I interviewed many professionals, I had many new experiences, I sat in on courses and corresponded with schools. I learned a lot about psychology and psychotherapy, I learned a lot about the medical profession, about scientific research and about higher education in general. I have evolved spiritually and consciously. I also have become a hypnotist (part time). The journey over the months since this article was written has been very rewarding and very exciting.

    Now, what I want is to work with people one on one, not do hard science research. My goal now is attend an ND program (Naturopathic Medicine School), or an MD/OD program only if it has a very strong emphasis on CAM therapies. The path will be interesting, I need to complete a number of courses before I can apply, maybe a couple more years before I am ready. Ultimately, I am enjoying the journey, we are here for the journey not the destination.

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