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Life West Student Champion: Kirsten Foullong

Interview by Andrew Champagne

What was your first experience with chiropractic?

My first experience with chiropractic was through my father. I kind of took it for granted my whole life because I didn’t realize how people without chiropractic lived.

It was truly apparent when I got into high school and I realized other students were taking more days off from school because they weren’t feeling well. My dad told us growing up, “If you’re sick, your body’s expressing your health.” I thought it was weird at the time, but now I’m realizing how true that is.

What inspired you to study chiropractic?

As a young child, I went, “I want to be just like my dad.” There are photos of me adjusting Elmo at the office. It was really funny.

As I got into my teen years, though, I thought, “I don’t need to be a chiropractor.” I explored other options but knew I wanted to be in the health care field. I explored optometry and a bunch of different things, but I kept coming back to, “I want to see my dad’s office as a professional and see how it runs.” I started working at his office as a CA at the front desk. Through that experience, I saw patients coming in, excited to see their doctor. They were coming out even happier, and lives were being changed.

Why do you like to be a mentor for your peers?

A big thing in my life has always been to lead by example. My dad told me, “Whatever the rest of the population is doing, do the opposite.” As soon as I got here in first quarter, I was one of the only students in my household to join a bunch of clubs, get involved and meet people. I showed up to everything I could. Every event that happened on campus, I just showed up, and people came to know me as the person who was always showing up to things. I put in extra effort throughout school, and people noticed that.

What do you look for in a chiropractic mentor?

The first question I ask is, “Are they happy?” You can tell by how they’re living their life, what they’re emitting to the world, and how they’re carrying themselves. That’s kind of what I look for immediately. It’s cool to notice their happiness first. I also look at how I can pick things I’m passionate about and dive into those, so I can be as happy and confident as they seem to be.

Why did you apply to become a Student Champion?

After going to Champions Weekend and seeing other prospective students out there, my initial fear was, “The Student Champions must be ahead of the game. I’m not that.” After having individual conversations with them away from panels, I realized they were just like me. They were passionate about chiropractic.

To be a great chiropractor, you need to step into uncomfortable zones. I realized I needed to take challenges for what they are and step into that role, even if it might be unknown and I think it’s something I’m not prepared for. In third quarter, I applied to be a Student Champion, and I have not regretted it. I’ve made so many connections and gotten a job working in Enrollment just because of that.

What is your favorite thing about Champions Weekend?

I think it’s the meal settings. I love the panels because I get to learn more, but my favorite part is when I’m one-on-one with a certain family or a prospective student and get to share my story. It feels authentic to me, and that’s always where I make more connections with people.

Use one word to describe your Life West experience so far.

Connection.

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