What's Next?

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Schematic Eye... Friend or Foe?

Two weeks down and approximately 190 more to go (1/95 OD!!). Today marks the end of the second week of school and the tensions are already rising as we near our first practical in Theory and Methods. We were recently “gifted” with the schematic eye to perform retinoscopy and learn neutralization prior to practicing on our classmates… that little fellow will either become your best friend or your worst enemy. Although the skill currently seems impossible to many (myself included), I find comfort in knowing that two weeks from now most of us will have mastered the skill and be ready to leave the schematic eye behind. But until then, first year labs will remain flooded by students trying to decipher “the eye”.

On another note, Memphis has been great so far. I’ve made tons of friends from all over the United States, explored numerous locations throughout the city, and even went on a float/camping trip with other SCO students. So far, SCO and Memphis have been everything I hoped for and more. The professors are all great, and they really want everyone to succeed. They go out of their way to be accessible to us and even provide us with tutors as needed.

Our current schedule is as follows:

Opt Theory and Methods (Lecture & Lab)
Optics of the Eye (Lecture & Lab)
Anatomy, Histology, and Physiology (Lecture & Lab)
Neuroanatomy (Lecture)
Ocular Anatomy and Physiology (Lecture)
Biochemistry of the Eye (Lecture)

*All first year students have lecture in the mornings and labs in the afternoons.

Although it seems quite daunting, its definitely doable with hard work, dedication, and all the resources SCO provides. These upcoming weeks will be filled with events and tons and tons of studying. We have SGA elections sometime next week, various club meetings, Optifest on the 22nd, the White Coat ceremony on the 25th and then the highly anticipated first round of midterms!

Until then, hope you enjoy your weekend… and for those college football fans out there… GO GATORS!!!
at 9/11/15 | 0 comments

Another semester down!

Happy Friday, readers! I'm extra happy this Friday because another week of final exams is complete. Yay! My class just finished our last final of the semester and we're looking forward to a week of relaxation before starting back up in class and clinic a week from Monday. This semester we took Contact Lenses II, Strabismus & Amblyopia, Low Vision, Glaucoma, and a clinical "recap" type class called Integrative Clinical Analysis. Also, as of last week we are officially done with labs forever (which means we get to focus more on clinic!)

The week off is exciting for me and the rest of the student ambassadors because SCO is hosting our New Student Orientation for the class of 2019 at the end of next week. It's always fun to help the members of the incoming class get adjusted to life as an optometry student and to make them feel at home at SCO. They always have a ton of questions about what they should expect - which I never mind answering because I had the exact same questions when I was in their shoes. It's hard to believe my class was getting ready to start orientation two years ago! While time has flown by, we've also learned so much in the past two years that it's hard to believe we were just getting started at this time in 2013.

In addition to busy and exciting days working with patients in the clinic (which I talked about in my last post), this summer semester has been full of big events for me. From traveling to Seattle for Optometry's Meeting to moving to a lake house in Olive Branch to getting 4th year externship site assignments to going on a cruise to Mexico for my sister's wedding and planning my own wedding, I've been all over the place and I feel like each weekend has been crazier than the last. It has all made the semester absolutely FLY by!

Choosing our preferences and getting our assignments for our 4th year externship sites was a long, exciting, and slightly stressful process. After doing tons of research and considering sites all over the country, Ben and I decided to both stay in the Memphis area all three semesters next year. There are a lot of awesome sites around here - plus we absolutely love our new house! Each 4th year student has to do one semester at The Eye Center here at SCO, one semester at an institutional-based site, and one semester at a private practice. I ended up getting assigned to SCO in the summer, Dr. Leroy Norton's private practice in Whitehaven in the fall, and the Naval Base in Millington in the spring. It's so hard to believe I'll be starting my first rotation in less than nine months. I'm excited but still have so much to learn before then! I'm sure I will have tons to talk about in my blog posts next year as I experience different types of practice settings and get a feel of what's right for me.

Now that this busy week of exams is finished, I have some unpacking to finish and some things to take care of around the new house so this post is short and sweet today. I'll post again in a couple weeks to talk about orientation (and maybe share some pictures of the new place!). Thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend!

at 8/21/15 | 0 comments

"Take a Risk, Take a Chance, Make a Change, and Breakaway."

15 hours and 1,030 miles later, I finally arrived at my destination – Memphis, TN. I have only been here a little over a week and I couldn’t be happier with the choice I made. Memphis is quite different from my hometown – Miami, FL; however, one thing remains the same – boiling temperatures that beg for some ice cream or a dip in the pool. I must admit... I am secretly hoping for colder temperatures to hit so I can finally experience a real winter – as Elsa would say, “The cold never bothered me anyway” (but who am I kidding, I’ll regret saying this in a couple of months).

I guess now is as good a time as ever to introduce myself. My name is Betsy Del Valle and I will be a first year optometry student this upcoming Fall (Class of 2019!!). I grew up in Miami, FL although I was actually born in Cuba. I have many fond memories of growing up in Miami, and it will always hold a special place in my heart; however, I have always been intrigued with the unknown and upon graduating from high school I chose to relocate to Gainesville, FL to attend the University of Florida where I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition (Go Gators!!!!).

University of Florida Class of 2012!

After completing my degree at UF, I decided to move back to Miami and eventually pursued a Master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition at Florida International University. You may be wondering why I decided to pursue a master’s degree as opposed to going straight into optometry school; the truth is, I didn’t know much about the field of optometry until after my undergraduate studies. However, what I did know was that I wanted to further my education and eventually work in healthcare. Once I began shadowing a variety of optometrists, I realized that optometry was a perfect match and my love for the profession was awakened.

An interesting fact about me is that I have a slight obsession with animals (especially penguins and giraffes) as well as anything optometry related as you will come to learn.

Zoo Miami - Feeding my favorite vegetarian.

Georgia Aquarium - With my one and only.

Eye at the Joule - Dallas, TX

Fast-forward to August 2015 and here I am, in Memphis, TN ready to begin the next chapter of my life.

With each day that goes by, one by one the class of 2019 is slowly but surely invading the City of Blues and the countdown has officially begun – 16 days till Orientation! Until then, I will continue to explore this historic city and all of its hidden gems. Next time I write, I will hopefully have made many friends and have finally begun this journey that will take me one step closer to attaining my ultimate goal of becoming a Doctor of Optometry!


Second Year!

Hi guys!

I'm writing to you now as an official second year! I'm about to start my third week of summer session, and it has been a whirlwind so far! It's nice to be back in Memphis too, but this summer heat is ridiculous. I've always thought Pennsylvania had humid summers but that is nothing compared to Tennessee. I've never been so thankful for air conditioning in my life!

So far the biggest change from first to second year has been our schedule. Last year we had classes in the morning and labs in the afternoon, but it is switched now. I have lab 3 days a week, and classes every day from 1:00-4:30. I didn't think I'd like the change, but it's good to have some time to study in the morning before classes start. I wouldn't have thought that we'd have so much work after only two weeks, but given the fact that the summer is only 6 weeks they really try to give as much information as possible. In terms of the classes themselves, we have pathology and pharmacology every day, evidence-based medicine 4 days a week, and inter-professional education once a week. It's great to finally start learning some more applied medicine, and I'm so excited to continue with this.

In terms of labs, we have theory and methods lab twice a week and a foundations of service learning seminar once a week. Theory has gotten more advanced. Our class just started doing fundoscopy exams with the slit lamps. It's definitely not easy but it's such an amazing skill and I've been anxiously waiting to learn it. We're also continuing with our refractive skills and already had our first practical last week.

Overall, I'm really happy to be back and to be getting started on my second year. It wasn't easy to get back into the groove after having such a long time off, but there's no going back now! Hope you're all enjoying these summer months!
Posted by Erin Jaffe at 7/27/15 | 0 comments

Every New Beginning

Aha! My password still works!

I realize that I never got to say goodbye to you all from the vantage of this student life blog, especially now that the student life is over.

Life after my externship in Wichita has been one thing to the next, and I am still in awe at all that has transpired. Graduation was extremely gratifying. It was quite cathartic, celebrating for an entire week with my classmates, and I am so proud of all we have accomplished and will accomplish in our careers.

Two days after graduation, I headed off to Cartagena, Colombia, for my final SVOSH trip as a student. Even though those long clinic hours can be quite difficult sometimes, I still think after four years of SVOSH that there was no better way to spend my time at the end of the school year. We saw roughly 1100 patients in Cartagena.

Rolling right along, my brother also graduated the week after that, and he earned his Master’s in International Business/Asian Studies from Johns Hopkins University. So proud of him, and of course my parents were super happy to have two graduates in the same month.

Then, in the following week, I had sinus surgery to fix a lifelong disorder. Ha, the recovery was not pleasant (I liken the feeling to drowning, but in air), but there was no better time for it. I will never take for granted the ability to simply take a deep breath.

A few weeks later (and still recovering), I ventured to Canada for a heart-filling reunion with my mom’s side of the family, and we celebrated her 86th birthday with a lunch cruise on Lake Ontario. I remarked at how quickly my little cousins are growing, and we very much enjoyed interviewing my grandmother about life in the southern Philippines around World War II.

Just this past weekend, one of my best optometry school friends, Michael, married the love of his life, Connie, providing a very warm, very fun (but quick) reunion for our SCO friends.

While all these life events have happened on a grand scale, daily life has operated on a much smaller scale. I will be joining a private practice south of Nashville this fall, and a lot of the summer has been devoted to preparation for the beginning of my career in optometry. (Exciting!) I’ve gotten my Tennessee license, started the process of getting credentialed on insurances, and attended my first Continuing Education lectures as an optometrist (thanks, SCO and SCO residents!). Also, I have enjoyed short visits to Memphis from my parents, exploring yet more of this awesome city with my now-fourth-year girlfriend, Emy, and the satisfying simplicity of being. Life is good.

And thus in the midst of this extraordinary transition in my life I leave you. Thank you for reading my musings on optometry school these past few years, and I would especially like to thank Sunnie Ewing, Jim Hollifield, and SCO for this opportunity to connect with you all. For those of you currently in optometry school, good luck, and before you know it I’ll be calling you doctor as well. To those of you thinking about optometry as a career, know that optometry is a wonderful, fulfilling profession, and that I consider my years at Southern College of Optometry to be among the best in my life.

And yet, at the dawn of my career, I still believe that the best is yet to come.

Best wishes,
Virgilio Gozum, O.D.

Posted by Amy Dunbar at 7/8/15 | 0 comments