When I started my 4 year undergraduate course with Allen College of Homoeopathy in 2008, I was living in Cheshire, England and unaware that I was going to relocate back to the USA in August 2009. However, I had by now become addicted to the high quality homoeopathic education provided here. With the help of Janet and Dr. Banerjea I was on the path to accomplish my dream of completing my studies at Allen College, Essex, England albeit long distance from the USA.
The prospect of frequent 10 hour flights was daunting, and of course parting with my family and dog was difficult, as I prepared for the 2nd year of the course. I was particularly tearful leaving the house for the airport, but knew it was the right thing to do. Two days later I was back in the Allen College. Although my father died during the first year of the course, I did not realize there would be further challenges during each year I attended the college. I have two wonderful teenagers and during the first visit of the 2nd year, I left just as both were experiencing very personal challenges. I questioned my ability to continue, but again, the faculty were very supportive and I was able to complete all my assignments without undue stress. My family, the faculty and the wonderful students were accommodating and encouraging, creating an atmosphere of support and friendliness. I sometimes wondered whether I would really be able to accomplish my goals, but here I am in my 3rd year.
With the distance that I travel from Scottsdale, Arizona in the USA, I have to factor in many things, such as the cost of travel, living expenses, car hire and college fees, not to mention time away from my family at a crucial time in their lives. Also, for some of the sessions, I would be up at 2am or 3am local time (depending on daylight savings) to join in on webcam, live in Essex. This is challenging because of the 7-8 hour time difference and the need to be ready by 10am UK time when the sessions start. I am still not sure whether it is easier to be on the 10 hour flight and arrive in person or ensure I get enough sleep to be ready for that 2-3am start, planning to perhaps cat nap during the lunch hour.
There are other challenges that need to be addressed when studying long distance. One can sometimes feel out of the loop when there are discussions in the classroom outside session hours. Sometimes it is difficult to hear students comments due to the microphone placement in the room, and you have to wait for a suitable gap if you want to add comments or answer questions. Also, personal attendance is not always possible at college celebrations or for student lunch gatherings. However, these are not insurmountable challenges depending on your personality and the overall gain with long distance Learning.
At the start of the 3rd year, despite all good intentions of being super organized and planning ahead, I suffered an accident, breaking my left arm in addition to other injuries. Again, with the support of the college and at home from my family, I am preparing for the demands of the finals and the projects students present in the 2nd to 4th years. I do believe that once we make the commitment and undertake phenomenal tasks, the universe does support us. I have often questioned why I am doing this and why things are not easier, but deep down I feel that it is worth it. I experienced a solid reinforcement of classical homoeopathy that enabled me to be fully versed in the Organon, materia medica and medical sciences. In addition, clinic and supervision requirements throughout the course add richness to the experience.
Some of the practice methods I learned have been invaluable, such as being patient and not switching or repeating medicines too often. By adopting principles learnt in the follow up sessions at the Allen College clinic, I learned not change prescriptions too quickly. I can assess subtle changes in the patient’s health that indicate the Vital Force is stimulated, and interference could be counterproductive or detrimental to the long term healing of the patient. Learning about tinctures and how to safely wean patients in drug dependent cases is also vital to patient safety. I have stopped expecting instant results and have realized that how long a patient has been ill, can determine the length of recovery time with homoeopathic medicines.
We may not enjoy taking the final exams each year, but the study and final success instills tremendous confidence and passion, enabling us to become the very best homoeopaths that we can be!