Ryan Yates (3rd Quarter, 2006)

3rd Quarter, 2006
Medical Professions Scholarship Winner
Ryan Yates

“I was born and raised in Providence, Utah where I attended Mountain Crest High School. I continued my education at Wabash College, a small, private, all-male, liberal arts college in Crawfordsville, IN where I earned a BA in Philosophy. While attending Wabash, I took a two-year hiatus from my studies to live in Sao Paulo, Brazil as a missionary.

In Brazil, I fell in love with serving others by helping them heal spiritually. Upon my return home from Brazil, I knew that my life-long dream to become an attorney had faded as it did not feel like the right career for me. I began really searching for a career in which I felt I could serve humanity like I did in Brazil.

Before graduating from Wabash College, chiropractic found me. After visiting family and learning about how influential chiropractic had been restoring their health and wellness, I fell in love with the incredible health profession. I wanted to be a part of profession that worked with the the body’s own innate ability to heal itself and one which aimed at the prevention of disease and the promotion of wellness. I knew that by becoming a Doctor of Chiropractic, I would have an opportunity to do more that just treat back pain. I would have the opportunity to restore the body’s full healing potential by removing interference in the communication system of the body, namely the Nervous System. I am excited and look forward to the many lives I might touch and am humbled at the great responsibility I have to improve the health and well-being of my future patients one adjustment at a time! “

A Portion of Ryan’s Winning Essay:

Ryan Yates

My journey leading up to my choice to become a healthcare professional was fraught with a serious intra-personal struggle. Joining the medical field has not always been a dream of mine. I had no childhood dreams of being a doctor. It wasn’t until the commencement of my freshman year at Wabash College that I decided that medicine had a lot to offer me (This was my attitude at first). With a herd-like approach to my education, I filled my schedule with pre-med courses like many of my closest friends. My motivation came more from the number of digits I could earn on a paycheck rather than the number of individuals I could impact by reducing suffering and prolonging life.

I learned both biology and chemistry with ease and did well in my course and lab work. While I was outwardly committed (in front of friends, parents, and professors) to medicine, I felt empty. I let the motivation of money carry me through these personal thoughts of doubt. One part of my self said, “I am going to do this. I am going to get into a medical school and earn a lot of money and then do whatever I want.” while the other side of me knew that I was not happy and that my future paycheck would not provide me the motivation I would need throughout my undergraduate and professional studies. In secret, even almost to myself (if that makes sense), I would sneak over to the Career Assessment office and thumb through career books and take assessment tests. I began to secretly consider other careers. To my dismay, nothing felt right.

At the close of my freshman year, I yearned to know what the future held for me. It seemed as though my career choice changed as often as my mood. The combination of this yearning, along with my ever-changing new career choice, produced an unwanted angst. The plethora of career assessment results, to say the least, left much to be desired. I realized they were just a tool to help me “sift” through my interests and possible career choices. I still felt very uncomfortable allowing a computer data-input system, even a machine, have any part “regardless of how insignificant” in selecting my future career choice.

These results gave me something tangible (i.e. a paper with lists of careers and information about each one), when what I craved was something intangible; a feeling deep inside, even a “calling”. I wanted to feel what my friend Jeremy had felt when he decided to teach high school English. His career choice was infused with passion and excitement. I could feel something wonderful when he spoke about the Teach for America program and how teachers who care make a lasting and priceless impact on their students.

I struggled because I felt like many were counting on me to make a lot of money. I had been successful before college, and I felt as though others would use money to judge my degree of success. It did not help that I was continually bombarded with this portrayal on television and in newsprint media. I couldn’t help but want to be rich. Fortunately, it was my own self-doubt and my friend’s incredible passion for his career choice that caused me to question my choice and ultimately look elsewhere.

While I turned to the career assessment office for help, I became disenchanted and resistant to allowing such mechanistic-like processes to help me decide what career was right for me. After all, I could not imagine Lincoln or Einstein or anybody great doing the same thing. I wanted to make an immediate decision, but my heart would not let me be dishonest to myself.

After a long appointment with my patient academic advisor, I enrolled in humanities courses and left the sciences for a while. I fell in love with the humanities. I loved discussing complex issues of politics, religion, philosophy, and ethics. It felt meaningful, but it still did not lead me to a career that felt right.

Mentally torn, lost, and simply undecided I flew home for the summer. Two days earlier, I received a well-anticipated letter from the President of my church, which would decide my fate for the next 24 months. My mother read the letter over the phone. I can still hear her voice as she read “You are hereby called to serve a mission in the Brazil, Sao Paulo North Mission; Portuguese-speaking”. While nervous about learning Portuguese, a language I had never heard before, I still found comfort in knowing that I would be taking a two-year hiatus from college to serve humankind. My angst about my future career softened as I knew that I would have plenty of time to think about my goals and what career would help me achieve them.

Brazil changed my life. More accurately, the people of Sao Paulo, Brazil changed my life. I learned the language quickly. I knew that I would need to speak the language fluently if I ever wanted to make a lasting impact on the people. After a brief episode of culture shock, I began to really “lose myself” in serving others. However odd it may sound, my experience in Brazil made me more fully human. My heart never ached so much as it did when I helped others who stood in need. As a person of privilege, I had never looked into the eyes of a crying mother who begged for assistance just so she could feed her children. My heart became full in Brazil.

While we focused on the spiritual well being of the people, we often attended to their physical needs as well. I saw, firsthand, the impact I could have on others by attending to both kinds of needs. I saw spiritual wounds heal and lives change by small acts such as teaching one the importance of family unity. The feelings I felt and vividly remember are worth any expense I incurred.

Without realizing it, I began to write letters home speaking with the same passion and excitement that my friend Jeremy had about being a high school English teacher. Literally, I was helping so many people remove the (spiritual) pain in their lives. I saw people come alive and regain hope. I saw them begin to live meaningfully and passionately.

Unbeknownst to me, in Brazil, the foundation of my future career choice in health and wellness was laid. My experience in Brazil gave birth to a feeling I knew I wanted to feel the rest of my life in my career.

When I returned home, I still did not have in mind the ideal career for me. But I was not concerned because I knew I had felt passion for helping others and that I would find the right career to help me feel just as passionate as I had in Brazil.

In May 2004, the end of my junior year, I flew home for a brief family visit. My mother has been plagued with poor health and has a chronic disease known as Fibromyalgia coupled with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Growing up, I had seen the pain that she had endured daily. During this family visit, she took me to her chiropractic appointment. She explained to me that she had never felt better than she did currently in controlling both diseases. This was very evident in her countenance and overall demeanor.

As I watched Dr. Wes Wooden heal my mother using chiropractic adjustments some of the same feelings I had felt in Brazil returned. He did not only administer adjustments and other treatments, he cared for her–not unlike the way I had cared for the people of Brazil. He did not seem rushed, even with a full waiting room, and he was genuinely concerned about my mother’s life, instead of merely her physical well-being. Her quality of life improved which had and continues to have a trickle-down effect to all other aspects of her life. This experience in Dr. Wooden’s office served as a catalyst in my decision to pursue a healthcare profession as a chiropractor.

In my career choice, I came full-circle. Instead of seeing what healthcare or chiropractic could do for me, I was now motivated by what I could do with chiropractic to help others and heal them. The paycheck no longer mattered because I had “tasted” of what it felt like to truly help others.

I chose to become a chiropractor because I felt its healing power in my mother. I chose to become a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) because of my experience in Brazil. I proudly chose chiropractic because it, like other healing/health professions, provides a vehicle whereby I can reduce human suffering on the physical, mental and spiritual level. As current medical science indicates, the body, mind and spirit are interconnected. Therefore, by working to eliminate and greatly reduce the nervous interference in the body caused by a sublaxation, I can help improve and make a positive impact in all facets of my patients’ lives. I also chose chiropractic because it is a health profession that is affordable, relative to other healing modalities, and it works with the body’s innate ability to heal itself. Chiropractic is universal in that it can help most–if not all–the body’s systems to perform at an optimal level, yet is particular in its administration and technique.

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