– By Alexis Griffith –
While everyone’s chiropractic story is unique, I’ve always considered mine to be unusual and inspiring. I didn’t grow up influenced by the pursuit of higher education. It just wasn’t a focus in my household. Quite honestly, art class was possibly the only thing keeping me in school. I didn’t take the SATs and never planned on going to college, against the persistent wishes of my high school advisors. I never envisioned myself achieving anything great in my, life, partly from not believing I was capable and partly from not being passionate enough about anything. I was already working full time during high school and moved out as soon as I turned 18 into a dingy little apartment. After a summer of struggling to make ends meet, even while working 50+ hours a week, I decided I’d better at least consider community college. I signed up for the first program I saw, which was an associate’s degree in kinesiology. While still working full-time, I also attended classes that fall, but it was to no avail as I ended up failing all my classes and dropping out. That was the ultimate deciding factor that college just wasn’t for me, and I turned my efforts to becoming a tattoo artist, having most of the tattoos you see on me today done before the age of 19.
Despite feeling content outwardly about my life decisions, there was still an underlying desire to do something more with my life. Luckily at the time I was working for StarbucksTM and found out that they pay for their employees’ college tuition, and that I could major in art. I attribute my going back to college, and thus also going to chiropractic college, solely to StarbucksTM (shoutout StarbucksTM!)
“I’ve learned that where there is passion, there is a way”
I had worked my way through two years of art school when I had another epiphany. Here comes my long-awaited magical chiropractic story. I sustained a rotator cuff injury and ended up going to a chiropractor who was able to help get me completely out of pain in only a few visits. Up until that point, I’d always regarded chiropractic as pseudoscience and never gave it the time of day, but at that point I realized, “hey, there’s actually something to this!”
I got to know my chiropractor pretty well and he suggested, and eventually persisted, that I go to chiropractic college myself, to which I always laughed and told him I wasn’t smart enough. While I did truly believe I wasn’t capable enough, deep down I was also scared of changing my career path, especially after struggling so much to create one in the first place. I had finally found passion in studying art, receiving straight A’s for the first time in my life and I didn’t want to let go of that feeling of success. But eventually it dawned on me that I was truly meant to do something more, so I dropped out of art school. That was probably the hardest and most frightening thing I’d ever done. I began taking pre-med courses back at the community college that I had previously flunked out of (hello academic probation) and quit my job at StarbucksTM to become a chiropractic assistant. I thought working full time as a barista during art school was tough, but pre-med night school after a 10-hour day at the chiropractic office was something else. I struggled a lot and broke down on a regular basis. Despite being scared to death of science, I ended up shocking myself by excelling in those pre-med courses. I remember struggling to barely pass an exam early on in one of my biology classes, and then later that year the head of the biology department informing me that I’d reached the top of the class. I slowly chipped away at the requirements to get into chiropractic school and finally started summer of 2019. At that point, even before my first day, I knew that I’d made it. After all the struggles I faced through undergrad, from actual schoolwork to supporting myself, I knew that whatever chiropractic school threw at me I could handle.
“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”
– Theodore Roosevelt –
As I stated at the beginning of this article, my chiropractic story is not so much about how I found chiropractic, but about how it helped me find myself. Yes, that must be about the cheesiest thing I have ever written or said, but it’s true. This journey has taught me to never put a limit on myself or my potential, no matter how daunting things may seem. I’ve learned that where there is passion, there is a way. I’ve often gotten questions from classmates or lower quarter students on how I find the time or motivation to study and do well in school, and it ultimately comes down to having a passion for what you’re doing. When you realize what truly excites you about life (in my case, the opportunity to help others) there is no exam too daunting, no late night of studying not worth it, no amount of reading too much. Theodore Roosevelt was right when he said that “far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”