July 31, 2014

IIN: The Halfway Point

Not long ago I passed the halfway mark of my IIN experience. I decided it was time to write about it all, but I've been sitting here trying to come up with the right words and I'm not sure that I could sum it all up in just a few of them.

20 weeks is a long time: it's 20 modules of learning material, hundreds of hours of audio, video and written content, so many new (to me) and important faces and voices to remember from the health community and just as many opinions about the right way of eating.

With almost every speaker that I listen to, he or she becomes my new favourite and I want to remember every detail of what they said. I feel my mind expanding every week and with every speech, and I get so much pride in knowing that I am a (minuscule) part of this inspiring worldwide community.

As wonderful as it has been, I can't say that it's been an easy experience - after all, Mr. Rosenthal, the founder of the school, advises us to treat it like medical school! My beliefs and points of view on nutrition have been challenged on more than a few occasions. At times, I even felt the need to take a break so I can wrap my head around what I had just learned and figure out how it fits into my own views on nutrition. In those moments, I'm reminded of one of the main principles of this school, the principle of bio-individuality, which says that one person's medicine can be another person's poison, which I know for myself to be true, and that is how I gain perspective once again.

But this school has been about so much more than nutrition, and it's been that part of it that I think has been and will continue to be the biggest learning point for me. My shy and introverted self has been encouraged and nudged to connect with peers, to learn how to communicate in meaningful ways with future clients and with people in general (which, surprisingly enough, has more to do with proper listening than actual talking) as well as how (and why!) not to push my own views and preferences on them. Thankfully, many of these things are included in the graduation requirements. I say thankfully because if they weren't required, I would have likely found a way to skip them. I know that this is the part of the school that is challenging me the most and that I have to work on the most, but I also know that it is what will help me grow the most - personally, professionally and any other way possible.

I'm looking forward to whatever the second half of this program will bring.

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