Flyover States The Inherent Beauty of Rural Iowa

Growing up in Minnesota, I'm no stranger to natural beauty. The lakes and trails that I often visited as a child opened my eyes to nature's vast beauty at quite a young age. When my parents moved to Iowa, I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical. 'Isn't that state just a continuous row of corn fields?' I thought, 'what a boring state'. In retrospect, I was being pretty judgmental. However, I was still in my teenage years at the time and I know now that my frontal lobe wasn't fully developed (#funfactsyoulearninmedschool) so I try not to be too hard on myself. My parents moved while I was in college, so I never lived in Iowa until I started medical school at the one and only CCOM. As I take time to reflect, I have to say that I have been nothing but impressed with the hardworking people here and the land they cultivate in this beautiful flyover state. While I was in Humboldt, IA, a large majority of the patients I saw were farmers, and I happened to be stationed there during the peak of the harvest. I only saw a snapshot of their life, a quick 30 minute clinic visit out their 14 hour day, and they were always eager to get back to work. It didn't take long for me to realize how naive my understanding was about all of the work, time, blood, sweat and tears that goes into this process. I saw people with acute allergy attacks, Blastomycosis (no joke), broken hands, and more as a result of the hard work these people put in, day in and day out, harvesting their crops. I honestly became fascinated by the harvest. I continued to ask my patients questions about their strategies and new technologies they were using. The most beautiful and humbling quality about the farmers I talked to was the fact that I never heard one of them complain. If something was bothering them, 'it really wasn't that bad' or if they had endured misfortune they would talk about all the ways they were figuring things out, always moving forward, always staying positive. I soon realized that, as a future physician, I need to think about this patient population in a whole different light. These were not the type of patients to come to their appointment with a laundry list of complaints and became apparent to me how important it was for the local physician to establish an authentic relationship in order to provide adequate care. In our current society obsessed with instant gratification it was inspiring to hear about the intense preparation, planning and execution farmers must perform in order to make a living. The people that I met there are some of the hardest working and most genuine human beings that I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. When the sun was setting and my daily clinical duties were finished, I frequently went on long runs throughout the town. I hope you enjoy some of Iowa's beauty that I attempted to capture as I ventured around the hard working farming town of Humboldt, IA.

To conclude my journey, I've since returned to CCOM with a new appreciation and perspective about the graceful state of Iowa. Now, please excuse me as I enter the divine building before you as I begin my preparation to dominate the USMLE Step 1 exam ✌🏼

“The law of the harvest governs; we will always reap what we sow—no more, no less” – Stephen Covey

Created By
Olivia Rice

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