A day in the life of a medical student….

Have you ever wondered what 20 thousand dollars a year will get you? Are you looking for a great way to spend $100 a day? If so!! Read on! A Naturopathic Medical degree could be in your future. Not only is it damn expensive, but it’s packed full to the brim!

Each one of this medical student’s days invariably begins with iphone’s harp alarm and the snooze button, followed by a massive cuddle session with my kitty cat Thai.  As if the rain, the cold and the prospect of another day at school doesn’t make it hard enough to get out of bed, but now the other love of my life is begging me to stay.

I eventually make it out of my comfy bed…and by comfy I mean a ridiculously small twin bed which is clearly way too small for myself and Graeme (as he is 6 foot 5!) get dressed grab a few snacks and I’m off to starbucks to enjoy a tall soy americano misto, complete with a straw so I can enjoy it on the bus.

Gold cards are awesome.

I catch said bus every morning at Broadway and Burrard.  The bus is always absolutely packed and goes across the Granville bridge to downtown Vancouver. These buses get so full that they often aren’t accepting further passengers after my stop. I love that so many Vancouverites ride transit instead of driving.  I also love being in a crowd. I like being part of the collective, I enjoy the silent relationships formed with the people standing around.

W Broadway & Burrard St, Vancouver, BC to W Georgia St & Granville St, Vancouver, BC V7Y 1H4 – Google Maps


After a short ride across the bridge which is BEAUTIFUL. Truthfully there is nothing more beautiful than Vancouver on clear sunny day I arrive at Granville skytain station for my train commute.

The skytrain is pretty niffty. It’s like an underground subway but is built up above all the roads and buildings and provides a front row seat to mountains, rivers, communities and busy streets.

The novelty of the train does eventually wear off, at least a little bit (mountains are always pretty rad) and when this happens my commute is filled with studying!

When you’re in medical school, your brain needs to be on from 8 am right until bed…Mine gets warmed up on the train while I caffeinate it and jam the facts into it that are required for the tests of the day.

Naturopathic Medical students are tested and tested and tested! I was never a really nervous test writer, but if I had been, I would have been forced to get over it. Desensitization my friends. We’ve had upwards of 8 tests a week for the past 2 years of which we were quizzed on human anatomy, neural anatomy, physiology, chemistry, genetics, endocrinology, pharmaceuticals, the location of acupuncture points, what an herb is used for…..and the list goes on and ON and ON.

I arrive at the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine, which conveniently is in a skytrain station, and at 9am the first 3 hr class of the day begins.

At noon we break for lunch, which is always interesting here in New Westminster.  If you’re one of the boucher-ers who does not bring a lunch, you have very limited options. There’s a sushi place nearby which has caused several cases of food poisoning, a sub-way (which I think is gross), a new pho restaurant which is quite tasty, some expensive greek and then there’s my favorite:  A little coffee shop affectionately called “PJs” owned by a lovely Korean couple Paul and his wife Judy. They have without question the best cup of coffee and the best sammies around. I love their breakfast sandwich (2 eggs, cheese, multigrain bread and tomato for $2.75).. but my favorite is their turkey sandwich. They roast a whole turnkey everyday and add fresh cranberry.


We’re back in class at 1 pm for another 3 hrs of learning and the academic part our day ends at 4pm. You would think 6 hours of lecture would suffice for one day, but after a hard day of work at school it’s time to change gears and hit the clinic.

A few days a week our long school days end with a 4 hour clinic shift during which we see 3 patients, and have a formal preview and review.

Preview (4pm to 4:30 pm) is when the student physicians present their patients for the day and review their planned treatment.  We then have three 45 minute visits (allowing 15 minutes for charting and cleaning up the room between patients) and finish the day…FINALLY with review  (7:30-8pm)  where we decompress after the shift, share our experiences and learn from each others successes and failures.

Then completely brain dead, I often dial in for some music and close my eyes on the commute home. Unfortunately there are times where even after a 12 hr day like this, I’ll study on the train on the way home for the tests we have right away the next day at 9am.

Voila! A fairly typical day for a student of Naturopathic Medicine.

Easy right?

In our free time we practice chiropractic manipulations on each other, practice venipuncture and blood draws, give each other B-vitamin injections in the behind and enjoy nice walks around the block in not so snazzy New West 😉

Stay tuned! In the next post I’ll describe all of the classes we’ve taken and the modalities taught in Naturopathic Medical School!

but for now… keep on reading on! 🙂


2 thoughts on “A day in the life of a medical student….

  1. Hi Melissa Just read your information you sure have done a lot of work .I am very proud of you as I am sure it has not been easy Looking forward to your wedding Love Nanny

  2. Seeing this in type has given me a new outlook on how busy your life is but with your passion to provide all those you meet in your profession with the ability to achieve a healthy life – it is all worth it. here’s a big hug – keep on trucking on

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