We all experience life-shaping events, but few things mold us like the work that we do. Our profession defines what we are, who we want to be, and the kind of mark we want to leave on the world. Some say the lucky ones are those who find their career calling at a young age. They hit the ground running and never look back. An argument could also be made that those who toil much longer before reaching their ideal career destination are also fortunate. Although it may have taken them more time, they simply got to do a little more living and learning before they found the right place for them. And reaching that point is no less sweet. Such is the case with Cleveland University-Kansas City student, Khia Simmons.
After working in event marketing and television broadcasting for several years, it was not until she was married and the mother of two children that she discovered her true career direction. While already having an abundance of blessings, providence intervened, and she was gifted once more, “I really feel that this is what God called me to do at this time in my life,” Simmons said.
Q: Why did you choose a healthcare profession and why is that important to you?
A. A few reasons…First, I really feel that this is what God called me to do at this time in my life. God gave me a heart that cares for and wants to help people. I really feel that He chose chiropractic as the way for me to do that. Realizing that nothing worth having is easy to obtain, it has all come with its challenges. But in the end, I will be right where I am supposed to be. Second, I worked in TV, which is an age-sensitive industry. Getting older and watching the people around me get older, sparked some changes in me. I wanted to be a part of helping that process naturally, through a healthier lifestyle and better nutrition. Plus, I wanted to be the one to say when I was too old to do something. You kind of lose that power being on TV.
Q: Many times, people can trace their career choice back to a particular time or experience in their life. What moment or life experience directed you to pursue a career as a chiropractor?
A. My first encounter with a chiropractor was after I hurt my back putting my daughter in the car, I twisted my back just right. At my visit to the chiropractor, I was immediately intrigued by the profession and wanted to know more. However, being a busy mom, it took me over 10 years before I actually pursued it, but I am so happy that I did!
Q: How much did you actually know about chiropractic before you began your degree program at CUKC?
A. I had done my research, but I still felt like I didn’t know a whole lot about chiropractic before I entered the program. There is just so much to it! I was an open book, just eager to learn all that I could. The chiropractor that I initially visited was a CUKC grad; I was full of questions and he was excited to answer them. He gave me a tour of his office and told me all about chiropractic. He even contacted the school and had them send an information packet that he gave to me on my next visit. How cool was that?!
Q: What was the reaction of those close to you when you shared that you were going to become a doctor of chiropractic (D.C.)?
A. Everyone was blown away! They thought it was a really brave move to pursue something like this at this point in my life. It shows that it’s never too late to do something different. I didn’t realize that what I was doing would be such an inspiration, I was just doing what I felt I was supposed to do. No matter how old you are, or what stage of life you’re in, you’re never too old to help those around you. Chiropractic provides an open door and gives you the tools to make that happen.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about the field you are pursuing?
A. There’s so much to it! So much to learn, so many ways to do things and so many ways to help people! It’s such a rewarding field to be in!
Q: When you think about the career for which you are preparing, what keeps you motivated?
A. My faith in God is number one. I wouldn’t be able to do this if it wasn’t for Him. I’ve had many challenges along the way and my faith was the one thing that got me through it all! That, and being surrounded by some pretty supportive friends and family! Second, my children. They are amazing! When your kids look at you and tell you that they are proud of you…that’s everything! I am thrilled that they can look at me and what I’m doing and know that they can do anything they want to in life! That it doesn’t matter what obstacles may jump in their path, they can keep moving. That they can be that force that keeps going and keeps giving!
Q: What has been the most valuable part of your CUKC academic experience in the D.C. program?
A. All of the skills that you have at your disposal to learn. There are so many aspects to this field and CUKC does a great job making them available to you. You learn so much, from the different types of techniques and skills needed to be the best chiropractor, to the steps you should take prior to opening your first practice, and even how you should conduct yourself as a doctor. They really do try to prepare you for all of it!
Q: What has been the most challenging part of your study and/or preparation?
A. Balancing home and school life, it’s the most challenging thing I think I’ve ever done. Doing one of those is challenging in itself. Life is ever changing, and some of those changes happen in the blink of an eye. Being able to roll through that, keep going, and balance it all in the process…only God can give you the ability to do that!
Q: What personal characteristics will help you become a success in your profession?
A. One of my mentors, who is a chiropractor as well, told me that my personality would carry me a long way. He said that it’s great to get the good grades and be involved in school, but that in the end, having a personality that’s outgoing and genuinely cares for people…that’s what is going to draw people in and keep them there. He also knew that I would have no problem telling people why they should consider chiropractic in the first place!
Q: What advice would you give someone who wants to follow in your footsteps for a similar career?
A. Jump in, do it, don’t let anything or anyone stop you from doing what you feel you are called to do! Be that force of nature that keeps going and keeps giving! This is a life-changing field and you can help so many people with it.
Q: How prepared do you feel to enter your field?
A. CUKC has prepared me in so many ways. It’s a program that’s designed to help you grow, not only in preparation for your field, but academically and personally as well. I’m a work in progress, we all are. I am ever-learning, ever-growing, ever-evolving…CUKC helps you with that process! Through CUKC, you have those building blocks that you need to carry you into the next phase of your career.
Q: To this point, what’s the most memorable thing about the time you’ve spent at CUKC?
A. I’ve met some pretty awesome people, from instructors that truly care about you and your success, to friends that support you through it all! I am doing things that I NEVER thought I could do! The growth, both personally and academically, has been tremendous! And I’ve picked up some lifelong friends and future colleagues in the process!
Since the completion of this article, Simmons has finished her Doctor of Chiropractic degree. She graduated from CUKC in August 2020.
Watch the 3-minute interview with Dr. Khia Simmons below for more in her own words and follow #CUKCinsight on social media!