This is the very desk, upon which I studied at during my first year of chiropractic school.
My Battle With Chemistry
By Richard Mabey Jr.
In June of 1973, I graduated from County College of Morris. During that summer, I worked at a convenience store. At the same time, I also worked in the camera department of a large department store. Simply put, I saved every single penny that I could. Then, in October of 1973, I began chiropractic school at Sherman College of Chiropractic.
A photo of myself with three of my fellow chiropractic students.
I was a very earnest and serious student. But, it’s humble to admit this; certain subjects did not come easy to me at all. I hide it very well, but I suffered a certain degree of brain damage from having had such a serious bout of rheumatic fever, when I was 12 years old. The fact of the matter is that I have a learning disability. People never suspect it, because I work hard, always took school very serious, and worked ten times harder than the average student did.
Yours truly, from my days at Sherman College of Chiropractic.
One of the subjects that had given me such a difficult time in chiropractic school was chemistry. In chiropractic school, a student takes five semesters of chemistry. One semester of inorganic chemistry, two semesters of organic chemistry and two semesters of biochemistry. To be blatantly honest, I nearly flunked my first semester of chemistry.
But what saved me is that I took excellent notes during classes. Also, I would come home to my apartment, after classes and study and study and study. And, since I did not take chemistry at County College, I knew I needed to brush up on the basics. I had taken a full year of chemistry in high school and it provided a good foundation, but now I was in the big leagues.
The book, “Chemistry Made Simple” got me through the tough chemistry exams.
There was a used bookstore in Spartanburg. One day, after classes were over, I went there and found a book titled, “Chemistry Made Simple.” I think it was priced at a dollar. I bought it right away. The bottom line is this: that book saved my life.
Focusing all of my mental energy, being meticulous with taking lab notes; got me through the nerve racking era of chemistry classes.
This is so painful to admit, but I did not do well on a lot of my chemistry exams. I would get a grade of C, by the skin of my teeth. I still shutter at the thought of it, even today, on some of my chemistry quizzes I bombed out and got a few D grades. I was so petrified that I would fail chemistry.
Taking good, clear, organized notes of my chemistry lab sessions, helped a great deal to boost my final grade in my chemistry classes.
I knew one thing, the only that would save me was my chemistry lab notebook. I poured my heart and soul into my chemistry lab notebook. I am rather proud of this. My chemistry professor was rather tough. But, somewhere in the latter half of the semester, he held up my chemistry lab notebook and stated rather emphatically, “this is what a chemistry lab notebook should look like.”
Believe me, this professor was not the type of man to easily give out compliments. He actually photocopied a few select pages of my lab notebook and then gave them to all of my fellow students. The lab notebook accounted for one-third of the student’s final grade. Quizzes accounted for a third. And, the midterm and the final exams combined, accounted for one-third of a student’s grade.
Well, since this is my journey to truth, here goes the truth; the humble truth. I ended up getting a D on my quizzes, a C on my midterm and final exams combined, and an A on my lab notebook. My professor took mercy on me and gave me a B for my final grade. Probably the single hardest B that I ever earned in my life.
The first home to Sherman College of Chiropractic was on Main Street in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
I did graduate in the first graduating class of Sherman College of Chiropractic. I passed the state chiropractic exams for the State of West Virginia. I practiced in a small town of the eastern panhandle of West Virginia for about a year and a half. I had a rough go of it. I worked in a grocery store to subsidize my practice. Back in the late 1970’s, most people in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia were quite poor. Also, sadly, back then the importance of maintaining proper spinal alignment was not as well received as it is today.
My old desk nameplate is one of my most cherished possessions.
People ask me why I formally gave up on chiropractic. It’s the question I most fear. It was during the late 1970’s that my dad had a major heart attack. I, myself, was declining in health from working as a chiropractic and working full time in a grocery store as well. Painfully, I was an outsider in this little town in rural West Virginia. I was an outsider bringing a relatively new healing system to people. The people in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia are good people, don’t get me wrong, but they did have some prejudices back then. And, during the time period of being in Old Lincoln Park, while Dad was in the hospital; my old editor offered me a job to write for our old town weekly newspaper. Fate is a funny thing. Sometimes destiny calls us in an entirely different direction in life. I feel strongly that the good Lord called me to be a writer.