If you are reading for the first time, I urge to to go back to my first post of my Do Thirty Challenge.I apologize for the 2 day delay. I have written a lot the past 2 days and can't seem to find my truth and fit it within a blog post. It has been helpful to write my thoughts in a non-organized way and wrestle with this topic on my own. I appreciate your patience. As always, if you are able, please consider donating to my cause by visiting this page. I am trying to raise enough money to send at least 3 children and their families on an all expenses paid journey called "Buzz Around Indy" as part of the Henley Romine BEElieve Foundation.
Looking back in depth at my decision to become a chiropractor, I distinctly remember a moment in which I was about to graduate from Indiana. I was out at a bar with friends celebrating the end of an era, the type of bittersweet celebration of friendships and bromance with those you have shared a significant part of your life with. Some were going off to graduate school and others were about to enter the work force and begin there careers. For the first time I had this moment of "Is this even a good decison?" That brief moment of doubt was immediately suffocated by the complete sense of relief I felt that I was not entering the work force right after graduation, but I got to continue with school and delay the real world.
Graduation was followed that summer by marrying the love of my life and heading off to the Bahamas for a honeymoon. Our young love moved to Iowa where we rented our first apartment, got our first dog, and began building our lives together. A period of optimism and quest to find my identity.
For the first portion of school, I drank the Koo-Laid about chiropractic philosophy and the antiquated notion of what chiropractic is. At Palmer there is an interesting dichotomy between people that believe in "true" chiropractic and "mixers" that believe in a more evidence-based approach. There is a huge pressure to be in the "true" chiropractic portion of the student body. I felt the appeal of both, and yet couldn't quite completely identify with either. I could go on about this, but 99.99% of you reading are not chiropractors and could not care less. It is the crux of the reason chiropractic as a whole does not really have an identity as a profession. Anyways, I began to become skeptical and so I knew I had to figure out where my mindset fit in. I spent a lot of time in taking various electives and taking seminars outside of school in order to really find what I was passionate about. I learned many different types of adjusting techniques, I gave chiropractic philosophy a chance, I was selected as a radiology intern, I was the co-founder of the Palmer Wellness Practice Club, I went to India for a clinic abroad trip, I was in Toastmaster's, I looked into some practice management groups, I went through a pediatric and perinatal certification, learned some soft tissue therapy, and the list goes on. By the time I was in clinic, I had amassed a lot of experience in a lot of different techniques and had absolutely no idea how I wanted to practice. That is about when I had my "Oh $h*+ moment." I just spent 3 years trying to figure out what type of chiropractor I wanted to be, but the real conclusion I was beginning to realize was that I wasn't sure I wanted to be one at all.
I had accumulated a huge amount of debt and spent years in school training. What else was I supposed to do? I finished school, passed boards, and entered the workforce. My first job was with my brother-in-law. The silver lining was that I was excited to work with him because he and I are so close and his passion for chiropractic when he was in school had a huge impact on me. I was optimistic that I could learn to love the profession and it was also an opportunity for me to help. He and my sister were deep into treatment with Henley, traveling around the country to allow her to participate in various clinical trials to beat cancer. If he wasn't there, his office was closed. It felt good to be a small part of allowing Henley t have her parents devote their full energy to getting her well.
What has become apparent over time is that my regret in deciding to become a chiropractor falls within two main categories.
The amount of student loan debt that one graduates from chiropractic school with these days is asinine. Obviously this is a problem across the board, but the problem with chiropractic school is that the debt to average income ratio has become so far out of whack that the degree is devalued and worthless.
Many of us found upon graduation that the market was becoming saturated with chiros and it was harder to get a business loan, forcing many into extremely low paying associate jobs despite having astronomical debt. Utilization of chiropractic services hasn't increased in decades and insurance reimbursement decreases each year. Hindsight makes it seem obvious, but at the time there was no indication of any of these truths. In my last post, I talked about the Law of Surrogation. While I did not follow those guidelines in college when changing majors and career trajectory, I did follow them when looking into the cost of school. When I first got financial aid information I remember thinking to myself, "Wow, this seems intense." I talked to the financial aid department and they assured me they don't have students have issues paying back loans, and they had average income information and all the stats that satisfied me (all of which were wrong by the time we graduated 4 years later). I even reached out to a couple chiropractors who didn't even consider the debt an issue (again, in hindsight, their debt did not even compare).
Student loans are literally the biggest reason a regret my decision to go to chiropractic school. I feel like I made such a terrible financials decision to make such a poor investment and it's embarrassing to me. It makes me angry. It is the reason I've said that there is no way my boys will go to chiropractic school. If my boys what to do what their daddy does then that's great. The beauty is that they can get a degree in something else in healthcare. They can earn a more valuable degree and learn the treatment model that I specialize in. They can be like their daddy, a soft tissue specialist. They will not be the chiropractor part. The amount of student loans I possess feels like carrying giant gorilla that's carrying an elephant while hiking uphill in the altitude during a blizzard. I don't wish it upon anyone, especially my boys.