Barbara Spencer

Barbara Spencer, ACHS Ambassador

I had returned to school after a very long hiatus due to family life and the rollercoaster ride that is with an autistic child with additional health concerns. As a family, we had always kept a more natural mindset, but weren’t fully immersed in the holistic lifestyle until my youngest presented with different issues and a total of 10 different specialists could not figure out. We began seeking out different methods and practitioners until we were able to get into a functional nutritionist that also had experience in genetics. Nutrition has played a huge role in my youngest sons’ progress and that is when I had my moment and knew what I wanted to do. I had always wanted to return to school, but did not want to continue with my initial interest of nursing. I initially came to ACHS for a Holistic Nutrition certificate. Those goals rapidly changed as I wanted to learn more and more. I have been extremely passionate about this process and was excited to find out they would offer a Bachelor’s program in Holistic Nutrition. I immediately jumped to apply and continue my education in this field and work towards the Bachelor’s degree. I plan on taking the board exam through NANP once I complete my educational journey as well. My plan is to take my knowledge I’ve obtained through ACHS and apply it to those that need nutritional guidance with their children on the spectrum, the moms dealing with autoimmune conditions, people dealing with chronic illness and even those dealing with cancer.

What are three things you would tell prospective students?

If I were able to tell perspective students anything, it would be to make sure you find what you are passionate about. That is truly where you will love learning and absorb the information so much easier. Also, don’t be afraid to start off small and work towards bigger goals. There is nothing wrong with easing into something to be sure it is right for you. And also, ask questions! If you’re unsure about a program or a certain career path, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can reach out to school staff, alumni, practitioners in your area in the same career field. There are a lot of resources to help with those questions.

What are your three best tips for current ACHS students?

Your time and scheduling are important! That is my number one tip. Start at the beginning of each semester to write out your schedule and time slots in your days to have just for school and studying. This may differ each semester depending on your course load and classes, but this is one of the most important things. You are only as successful as the amount of time you put into it. If you are overwhelmed and falling behind, reach out to your instructors, advisor, and student services as they are there to help. The support system within the school is amazing. They are some of your biggest cheerleaders in this process. Schedule in some self care time too! Many of us are working, have families, or just lead all around busy lives. You must take care of yourself too! This is extremely important if you’ve hit a wall or have hit that moment you are too overwhelmed by it all. Take a time out, regroup, then jump back in.