ACCEPTED into 3 Naturopathic Medicine Programs


Future Doctor As Teacher

May 2023

I will never forget the day I decided becoming a naturopathic doctor was my calling. I had been fighting sickness after sickness after years of competitive bodybuilding. I had no idea why I looked seven months pregnant after eating vegetables or had smelly burps after sipping water upon waking. I was just 30 years old, and I felt like my body had failed me. I struggled with body image, my relationship with food, anxiety, and depression, things that never once crossed my mind before this season of my life were swallowing me whole.  I lived on tears, sleepless nights, and prayers hoping for answers. Nothing made any sense at all until I found naturopathy in Denver, Colorado.

Why am I sharing this back story? Because ever since taking the leap forward into naturopathic medicine, I have found that everyone has a heartfelt personal tie to WHY they are pursuing this path. There is absolutely nothing easy about this program, so without a true WHY few people, if any, survive and thrive in the 4 to 5-year rigorous program.

Upon deciding that I wanted to take this route, I thought, “Oh shit, I wonder if my bachelor of science degree credits still counts?” I knew that after 7-8 years out of school, some credits are no longer valid, and you must retake the courses. I thought long and hard about this and then decided to contact the admissions office of the schools I was interested in and ask. It couldn’t hurt to ask, right? I promised myself that if they mandated that I retake all my science courses, this was not my path. After being in conventional medicine working for 10 years, even the idea of going back to school scared the daylights out of me, let alone retaking some courses that still haunt me. Maybe they haunt me because I was out partying until 2 am the night before an exam. #undergradthings

Much to my disbelief, all the schools required that I take two classes I had never taken before, organic chemistry I and/or organic chemistry II or Biochemistry. Other than Bastyr, who requested I take a basic Biology course over again. I was more than okay with these class requests. I contacted the Bastyr advisor regarding the biology course, and he recommended I write a letter asking for an override. This request was accepted, so only two classes were needed for Bastyr now as well. Then I had another oh shit moment. Was I really going to stop working and go back to school for years, accumulating massive amounts of debt, and be married to my textbooks in the prime of my life? My answer to myself, HELL YEAH!

I chose 3 of the 7 schools to apply to. My main reasoning for this was the location. Bastyr in San Diego, California, Sonoran University in Tempe, Arizona, and NUNM in Portland, Oregon, were all lively, young cities with much to offer a young single woman. Upon applying, I had to prove that I was enrolled to take the two classes that met the application requirements. I applied and was accepted to MSU Denver for Organic Chemistry I (in person) and Biochemistry at UNE in Maine (virtual).

My interviews couldn’t have gone better. I felt confident in speaking about who I am, why I want to do this, and how I will serve my community. I found this interview process so beautiful because it was more about who I was as a person versus grilling me on what I know about naturopathy, which at that time was, DO NO HARM, the end! (haha) I was asked about my classes in undergrad, but each interviewer mentioned they couldn’t question me about my grades because I graduated top of my class with a 3.9 GPA. I guess all those Wednesday keg stands didn’t do as much damage as I thought on my academics (thank goodness!)  But for real, I was an exceptional student and cared immensely about doing well in undergrad. Now thinking back on it, I wish I cared a little less, especially about Art History, like why was I forced to memorize paintings.

Nonetheless, within days of my interviews, more like 48 hours, I was accepted into all 3 schools!  Grateful is an understatement, especially when I later found out some people didn’t get accepted into some of the schools they applied for. I love this program because it’s less like conventional medicine, where not very many people get in. More people get accepted into the ND program than the MD program giving people a chance to see if this path is for them truly. Often, people are told no about pursuing something they are passionate about, for whatever reason, and they are left wondering, what if?

Fast forward, it is May 2023, as I write this. It has been over a year since I was accepted into school. At the time of my acceptance, I had just signed a one-year ultrasound contract at a hospital in Parker, Colorado, plus I had long desired to backpack Europe solo before committing my life to something so vast. This interim period was the best thing possible for a multitude of reasons. One, it gave me time to change my mind about diving headfirst into this intense program. Two, it gave me time to get more pumped about following my calling to lead and serve others in a holistic way. Three, it gave me time alone to travel the world, and meet the most incredible strangers, all while enjoying my own company. Fourth, it gave me space and financial stability to buy my first home. Lastly, it led me back to Colorado for a short period of time, where I met the man I prayed for. That’s for another post though.

For now, I ask that you trust the timing of your life. This looks different for everyone, and that is exactly what makes us unique. I wouldn’t change anything about this last year and a half. After much back and forth between Arizona and California, I have decided to pursue my career as a naturopath at Bastyr in San Diego. Over the last year, I have paid extra to hold my spots in both programs as I pushed my start dates off. I encourage you to do the same if you feel called to do so. There is a lot to consider when you choose a program, and I will definitely go into those details in the future. For now, I have just bout 7 weeks until I start virtual summer courses at Bastyr and just a few short months until I move my life from Colorado back to California.

My destination, my path, has chosen me. All I must do is be open to possibilities and jump on them as soon as they present themselves. I challenge you to do the same.

𝒲𝒾𝓉𝒽 𝓁𝑜𝓋𝑒 + 𝒽𝑒𝒶𝓁𝒾𝓃𝑔,



Shauna Dittl

Hey! I’m Shauna! Your daily dose of joy and sunshine. With over 10 years in the medical field as a Diagnostic Sonographer, 5 years as the CEO of my own certified personal training and nutrition coaching business, motivational podcaster, best selling author and future Naturopathic Physician, I’ve got what it takes to help you develop your own superhero muscles.