spinal column

From student to doctor ...

Anjali Agrawal, D.C., West ’05, Los Altos, Calif.
Dr. Anjali Agrawal

The journey from being a student to becoming an actual doctor of chiropractic has certainly been an interesting ride. I think many recent grads will attest to the fact that the first year is pretty rough no matter what path you choose—associate, independent contractor renting out space, or buying a practice. Each position brings its share of good and bad. So I think the challenge is in finding the right fit for yourself.

Many of my classmates had a good idea of where they wanted to practice, and in which office they would be upon graduating. Some decided to continue working in their preceptor offices. Then there were others, like me, who weren’t completely sure of where they’d end up.

Throughout my tenure on Palmer’s West Campus, I got involved with a myriad of activities—partially to explore various opportunities, but also to broaden my experience with being in a chiropractic school. From National Legislative Conferences in D.C. and becoming president of the Campus Guides to my two years with the Associated Student Government, the days in school seemed to fly by. I was also fortunate enough to take part in Palmer’s Clinic Abroad Program, where 22 of us got to treat over 3,000 patients in just five days.

Each experience got me more and more energized and excited to be part of this growing profession. The only problem was that I wasn’t quite sure where or how to get started. So after graduation, I began revising my business plan from school to truly envision the practice I’d want to have in five years. I also joined a few doctors on a trip to Mexico, where we gave chiropractic care to the people of Piedras Negras. After talking to some of the seasoned chiropractors on the trip, I realized that I would need a fairly large patient base in order to make my plan successful. So then I began the arduous procedure of looking for an associate position. After a few months of going to numerous offices, I finally interviewed at an office where all the big pieces just fell into place.

My boss soon became my mentor, and she helped guide me and gave me ideas on different ways to network and to build a patient base. After three months of being her employee, she told me that she was hoping to sell the practice, and asked if I was interested. Wow! Barely a year out of school, and I was being handed an opportunity that many can only dream of. I told her that I would be honored, and within several months, I had become a business owner.

It has certainly been an interesting journey so far, but I am definitely thankful for all the wonderful experiences which have led to these exciting opportunities. For all the students taking the time to read this, I strongly encourage you to get involved in all types of clubs, attend seminars and talk to as many field doctors as you can. Classes are definitely challenging and demanding on their own, but if you can put in the time, it will definitely be worth your while. To all of the experienced doctors, I truly hope that you have the chance to become a mentor for a student or a recent graduate. You have a lot to teach, and the world will be a better place if you can share a part of yourselves with the rest of us.

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