Jean-Pierre Koenig: Collaborating a career

"...discipline, hard work and self-belief in order to “conquer” it." - Jean-Pierre Koenig         
 
Where on the planet are you currently located ? Durban, South Africa.
 
You are about to qualify as a Chiropractor, how did you go about pursuing this career and was it always an aspiration of yours? My high school counselor once said to me that the best professionals are always those who have started their university careers with a Bachelor of Arts degree (BA). The reasons for this are two-fold. Firstly, by studying a BA one has the freedom to choose from an array of subjects – be it Shakespearean literature to Statistics, Psychology to the Performing Arts hence broadening ones mind and allowing one to grow intellectually and in maturity. Secondly, the 3 year BA program provides one with time to look deep within one-self and realize which career path one would like to follow.  

During the final year of my BA I applied to study Chiropractic at the Durban University of Technology School of Chiropractic. I was lucky enough to be accepted for the following year. I have now finished my studies and my internship and am in the process of completing my dissertation. I am hoping to qualify within the next few months. Chiropractics requires discipline, hard work and self-belief in order to “conquer” it.  
 
What are the challenges that you have encountered during your studies towards this profession? Chiropractic is a fairly difficult course and it takes will power and determination to get through. It is a full-time course of 6 years duration so it has been a challenge for me to balance my studies and work. However,  it is very do-able as long as you work hard and never lose sight of your goals.  
 
Any interesting or funny moments that you have experienced during your studies? Diagnostics practicals in 3rd and 4th year are at hospitals where students are able to see patients and practice their diagnostic skills under supervision. I remember an incident in 4th year where I was taking a case history of a patient and all of a sudden a large Vervet monkey jumped in through the window and grabbed an apple and a slice of bread from the patient a few beds away from us. The monkey had obviously worked out exactly where the food trolley was! All the patients in the ward started laughing and for a moment the ward seemed a very happy place!
 
At the end of every Biochemistry lecture the confused look on everybody’s face was always funny!   
 
Where do you see yourself in 1 year time? I am planning to do a short online TESOL course (teaching English to speakers of other languages) through Wits University. Once I have completed the course and obviously handed my Chiropractic dissertation in, I will be heading to Brazil to work in a Chiropractic practice and teaching English for a year. This will give me an opportunity to learn about a different culture, learn a new language, and dance the samba. So, in a year’s time I will be in Brazil.  (FirstStep.me takes notes of the Samba Gap Year idea!)  Update - well that became a reality as Jean-Pierre opened his chiropractic clinic in Curitiba, Brazil - visit CuritibaQuiropraxia.com.br
 
How do you balance your studies with your everyday life? Discipline and balance is the key. On some days when lectures finished early I was able to work (part-time) during the week. I tried as best I could to balance each day between studies, exercise and work (even if work involved non-paying garden work for a family member!) – it is very important to keep a balance as one feels a sense of positivity and accomplishment at the end of each day. My social life was limited to the weekends and the odd day during the week.  
 
Do you kick-start your day with a cup of coffee? I am not a huge fan of coffee but I like to kick-start my day with an intense workout at the gym.  
 
Favourite travel destination? Mauritius!!!!!!!!!!!  
 
If you could name your own planet what would it be? Phew, that’s quite an interesting question! Well, I would call my own planet “Madiba” after Nelson Mandela as he epitomizes respect, dignity, hope, humility, peace, love, compassion………the list goes on!
 
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