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The Cat Days of Summer

I must be getting older, because every time I turn around I'm shocked by how quickly the time has gone. When I first started school in September, it seemed like I would never make it until the end of first year, and now my break is almost over! Seriously, where does the time go?

I've spent my break working (much more than I thought I would be) full-time at my local eye clinic. While it was pretty exhausting to go directly from finals to a 14 hour drive home to working first thing on a Monday morning, I'm so thankful that I had something to do this summer. I think that I would have gotten bored after 10 weeks of doing nothing, and the best thing was that I was able to be in a clinic for 40 hours a week. Not only was I able to practice some of the skills that we were taught this past year, but I was also able to work on some skills that we'll be learning this summer and throughout the rest of second year. I can't stress enough how much being in a clinic setting has helped me and motivated me. I love being able to work so closely with optometrists and to see what they do on a day to day basis. This focus is really what helped me during some stressful moments during my first year. I'm so thankful to have a clear idea of my future career and I love seeing how happy the optometrists are with their careers. I'm hoping to work in a medically-oriented group practice when I graduate, and this clinic gives great insight into this type of setting.

Otherwise this summer, I've done a lot of visiting with family. It's pretty difficult to be so far away during the year and I love having the chance to catch up with everyone. My family and friends are incredibly supportive of my goals and it makes it much easier to be away from everyone when this is the case. My sister is getting married this fall and I was so lucky to have some time at home to be able to plan and be a part of her bridal shower. I love my small town and it's been great to get caught up with all of the locals and the local activity. Most importantly, I've been reunited with the two cats I had to leave at my parents' house when I moved, and I couldn't be happier to spend time with them.

I will be heading back to Memphis next Monday, a few days before classes start. My boyfriend is scheduled to graduate ranger school that weekend (woo hoo!) so I will be making a quick side trip to Georgia and then heading back to Memphis for summer session! It feels great to be a second year and to be getting ready to delve further into optometry-related course.

I'm so thankful to have had this nice long break. Not having to study after work has definitely given me a much needed break and I feel ready to take on all of the challenges that second year has to offer! I will be hitting the books very soon, but until then I'm going to start another beach read and crack open a beer! Hope you're all enjoying your summer, and I'll see you soon, Memphis.
Posted by Erin Jaffe at 6/30/15 | 0 comments

Summer Time and the Livin' Is Easy

Wow, it's amazing how much life can change in a month! It seems like I was just feeling the burn of final exams, but now the "living' is easy." I was able to find a job on campus cleaning and making minor repairs to phoroptors and slit lamps. The job itself is very interesting and beneficial because I will be able to perform simple maintenance on optometric equipment in my own practice one day.

It's amazing how fast first year went! Things came at us so quickly that I didn't notice how fast time went. It feels like I was just at orientation. The course material was difficult, but it was a lot of fun to learn because it was relevant to my future profession. If it hadn't been for my planner I would have gotten lost early on. While it was challenging, there was plenty of room for fun! To help relieve stress, I joined the Vision Therapy club and played on an intramural basketball team. I also made it a goal to treat optometry school as a full time job. In other words, I worked really hard until 5 PM and then went home. This made it easy to balance school life and family life. Knowing that at 5 o'clock I would go home to relax and watch Netflix with my wife made it easier to work hard and efficiently on campus. This rule did not apply during test weeks when I would also study after I got home, but that was only a few weeks per semester. While it was the most demanding academic year of my life, it was very doable thanks to my planner and my supportive wife.

We have had such an amazing time here in Memphis! My wife was able to find a great job soon after moving here. We decided to live at the Hamilton apartments in Mississippi. It takes 20 minutes or less to drive to school and we get so much more for our money living here. All of the shopping you would ever need is nearby (Nordstrom is missing according to my wife, but I'm kind of grateful it's not here :) They are opening up a big outlet mall nearby which will make Christmas shopping a piece of cake! We also love the fact that our favorite restaurants are close. With so many other students living down here, we don't feel out of the loop either. In fact, I was able to carpool with some other students. With gas being so cheap this year, we all paid next to nothing by carpooling.

There are so many fun things to do! Southaven, Horn Lake, and Olive Branch have a ton of parks. We love going geocaching, playing disc golf, pretending like we know how to play tennis, and getting half-priced shakes at Sonic after 8. My favorite hobby is playing actual golf. With the "golfnow" website, you can play 18 holes with a cart for 10-15 dollars at Wedgewood and North Creek golf courses. Both courses are in good shape and both are a lot of fun. It takes about 15 min from the Hamilton to get to both courses.

Being only 20-25 min from Downtown Memphis, we have had an awesome time exploring the city. We love going to Redbirds and Grizzlies games. Even though I'm a Utah Jazz fan and my wife is a Dallas Mavericks fan, we have really enjoyed the Grizzlies games. You can get tickets on stubhub for cheaper than a movie ticket! Redbirds tickets are also less than 10 bucks and are tons of fun (make sure you get the BBQ nachos). My wife and I don't drink and aren't really into the music scene, so Beale Street doesn't have that much appeal to us, but we've heard it's a lot of fun :) We do, however, love food and Memphis has a ton of great places to eat! Southaven has Memphis BBQ Co. which is awesome, but you can't go wrong with the BBQ anywhere here. We loved Elena's Taco Shop up in Bartlett for delicious Mexican food. They have tons of delicious burger joints. Delicious dessert places. Basically, we live in food paradise.

Summer has been a lot of fun so far. We decided to stay in Memphis so that my wife could continue working at her great job and so that I could work on campus and do some shadowing in the clinic. It has been a nice, relaxing break, but I'm excited to get back to school. Last year reinforced my love of optometry and increased my desire to learn all that I can while I'm in school.

That's all for now! Maybe one of these times I'll upload some pictures, but it's summer and I'm feeling a bit lazy :)
Posted by Erin Jaffe at 6/29/15 | 0 comments

Adventures in Clinic

Happy Sunday, readers! I promised to write again once I had some experience as a third-year clinician under my belt, and here I am! Somehow we are already a third of the way through our summer semester. Our new busy clinic schedule is making the summer fly! The way our schedule is set up this semester is pretty different from second year because of our clinic assignments. We have class from 7:30 or 8:00 in the morning until around 10:00, then we either have labs (twice a week) or one of our three clinic assignments (the other three days) depending on which lab group we’re in. My lab group has labs on Mondays and Fridays and clinic Tuesday through Thursday. I’ll walk y’all through each of the three clinic assignments to give you an idea of how they’re all different and what we learn from each one.

On Tuesdays, my lab group has our Optical assignment. We are assigned to the AM shift half the time and the PM shift the other half, meaning we are either in Optical from 10:00-12:45 or from 12:00 until we close. There are actually multiple different assignments within our Optical assignment that we rotate through throughout the semester. Some of these include working out on the floor selling glasses, working in the back room adjusting/fixing/dispensing glasses, working in the lab making the glasses, or even shadowing different people who work in the Optical to get an idea of how everything is run. I like that we get the opportunity to experience every part of the Optical process – from the end of the patient’s eye exam until they pick up the glasses we made! Optical is a lot of work but it’s a good learning experience and it’ll be valuable information once we’re out in practice and possibly managing our own optical.

Wednesdays are fun for two reasons. First, we actually don’t have class on Wednesday mornings so we get to sleep in! Second, my group has our clinic rotations which means we get to see patients in a variety of different settings each week. Each rotation lasts four weeks or longer and they include Teen Clinic, Technology, Nursing Home, Vision Therapy, and even one day of shadowing behind-the-scenes to get an idea of how The Eye Center is run. Since we rotate through these different assignments, I haven’t experienced all of them myself yet. I spent the first four weeks of the semester in Teen Clinic, which is kind of like a stepping-stone between Pediatrics and Adult Primary Care. Teen Clinic was a lot of fun and it made me feel more confident in Adult Primary Care because I was getting more exposure in doing full eye exams in the clinic. I really enjoyed working with the teenagers and I was sad for that rotation to end (for now!) 2 weeks ago. This past week was my first week in the Nursing Home rotation. Nursing Home assignments are different because we have to actually go to various Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Centers, and Hospice centers throughout the Memphis area. At some of the locations we have to go to the patient’s room and do the full eye exam with the patient in their bed. These assignments are a good opportunity to work on incorporating flexibility into our eye exam routine because we can’t do every procedure the same way we would do it in the clinic. After my Nursing Home assignment is over in a few weeks, I’ll be heading to Technology where I’ll be running different tests and scans on patients from all throughout The Eye Center.

Thursdays are my favorite day: the day I’m assigned to Adult Primary Care (APC)! APC is exciting because we’re doing full eye exams (up to three per day right now) on any patient over the age of 18. Each person is assigned to a suite with three other student doctors. We work with one staff doctor in the morning (my suite has Dr. Sparks) and another in the afternoon (Dr. Borgman). It’s fun, exciting, and sometimes a little scary – but I absolutely love it! My staff doctors are very nice and helpful and they push us to help us learn as much as possible. I have learned SO much from each patient I’ve worked with and I’m so excited to finally be at this stage in my education!

The days in clinic are long and can be tiring, but I’m loving every minute and trying to learn as much as I can from the brilliant doctors I’m surrounded by. Adapting to our new schedule has been fun and I’ve enjoyed having exciting patient encounters to discuss with my friends and colleagues. The next exciting thing on the schedule is that we’re leaving on Wednesday for Optometry’s Meeting in Seattle!!! I’ve never been to Seattle so I’m really excited for some great sight-seeing and an awesome convention. I think I mentioned this in my previous post, but Ben (my fiancé! Still so weird to say!) is representing SCO at the Varilux Optometry Student Bowl on Thursday night. The Student Bowl is a BLAST and I can’t wait to cheer Ben on! The competition includes one student from each optometry school and lots of difficult, fast-paced optometry questions. I definitely wouldn’t have the guts to do it and I am so proud of Ben for competing!

I’ll write again after the conference (hopefully with good news about the Student Bowl!). Until then, enjoy your summer! Thanks for reading!
Posted by Erin Jaffe at 6/21/15 | 0 comments

Well Hello Everyone!

This is my first ever post on the SCO Student Life Blog and I am very excited to share my thoughts! So, let’s get right to it!

My name is Will Stringer and I am now a second year student at SCO. I grew up in Daphne, Alabama in the Gulf Coast area of south Alabama. Not familiar with the town? You’ve probably passed through it dozens of times on your way to the beaches of Alabama and Florida. It is a wonderful place to live and I can’t wait to move back to the area after graduating from SCO!

I spent my undergraduate years at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS. I ended up there after joining the football team as an invited walk-on. After a short time, I decided that I was ready to spend my college years strictly as a student. I graduated from Southern Miss with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science with a minor in Biology. Most of my exercise science classmates went on to Physical Therapy school or some sort of athletic training. I was the only student from my program to go into optometry. However, after a year of optometry school, you would be surprised to know the amount of times my experiences in exercise science were directly applicable to my optometry curriculum.

I am married to my beautiful wife, Stephanie, from Mobile, Alabama . We have been together since the summer before our senior year of high school in 2007! Just this last month, we were fortunate enough to celebrate our first wedding anniversary together. In even bigger news, we were able to really blow the unsuspecting minds of our friends and family when we told them WE ARE EXPECTING!! Our first child is due to arrive November 5th and we could not be any happier! Just in this past year, I have become a husband, an optometry student, and now a soon-to-be father. What an unbelievable year it has been!

Just to wrap things up, I want to talk a little bit about my first year in optometry school at SCO. First year was unlike any year of school I’ve ever experienced. The amount of information we learned as a class is mind boggling. But I also learned a great deal about myself and my willingness to succeed. I have made so many new friendships that I am sure will last a lifetime. My time at SCO thus far has fully reassured me that I made the right choice in coming to SCO.

So, that is just a quick introduction about myself! I am looking forward to giving you more inside looks at what life is like for an optometry student at SCO. Until next time, take care y’all!
Posted by Erin Jaffe at 6/12/15 | 0 comments

A short but VERY sweet break!

Hi, readers! A LOT has happened since my post from last month. First, after a difficult week of final exams the Class of 2017 became THIRD YEARS! Starting tomorrow we will be in the clinic regularly – finally doing what we’ve been looking forward to since the beginning: seeing patients! Third year will be exciting and busy and definitely a little different from first and second year which both have a heavy emphasis on academics.

Between second and third year we got a two-week long break. The first Monday of the break is when we had our Clinic Orientation and had the opportunity to hear from different doctors and staff in The Eye Center as well as meet the 2 staff doctors we’ll be working with during the summer semester in Adult Primary Care. This was really exciting to me because these staff doctors will be the first to shape how we will practice ourselves. It will be very interesting working with different doctors who have different approaches to performing an eye exam and different opinions. My suite (which includes myself and three of my classmates) was assigned Dr. Borgman in the mornings and Dr. Sparks in the afternoons – two great doctors who gave a wonderful first impression during Clinic Orientation. My first day in APC is this coming Thursday and I can’t wait! My lab group has our Optical assignments on Tuesdays and our other rotations (including Technology, Teen Clinic, and Nursing Home assignments) on Wednesdays.

After Clinic Orientation, my break got even more exciting! Ben and I headed home (to The Woodlands, Texas – a suburb of Houston) on Wednesday to visit our families and spend a little time relaxing before beginning our third year. Little did I know, there was a lot more to this trip home than I thought! On Monday, May 11th Ben took me to a spot on the Waterway in our home town – the first place he ever said “I love you” to me many years ago – and asked me to marry him!!! Of course I said yes, and after dinner he took me to his parents’ house to “tell his parents about our engagement.” When we got there, our families were all there and they had planned a surprise engagement party for us! It was a night full of excitement, love, and happiness. Ben is my best friend and the love of my life and I can’t wait for him to be my husband!

Since we only had a few more days at home before we had to head back to Memphis, we tried to do some speedy planning before the craziness of third year sets in this week. We already set a date, made a tentative invite list, and narrowed it down to 2 venues! This past week has been one of the best weeks of my life and I can’t wait to celebrate with our friends and classmates now that we are back in Memphis.

Next time I write I’ll have some stories from my first weeks in clinic! Until then, enjoy some pictures from the proposal and engagement party. :-)

Posted by Erin Jaffe at 5/18/15 | 0 comments