Like any endeavor worth pursuing in life, it takes careful preparation to become an optometrist.
Students are at the heart of our mission.
Get involved in our thriving alumni community.
SCO is one of the nation's leading optometry schools.
Take time to recognize these significant achievements.
Enter a search request and press enter. Press Esc or the X to close.
Hello, everyone! My name is Virgilio Gozum, and I'm currently a second year from Jackson, TN. As I am new to blogging for SCO, I'll give a more proper introduction later, but I'm eager to get started! Here's what's going on in my life; namely, my summer. It's been quite an adventure so far.
It's probably safe to say that for many in optometry school, the summer after first year is seen as something sacred. After all, it is the last summer before the real world comes-a-knockin'. By this time next year, we'll be in clinic. The year after that, our externs begin. The summer after that - we'll be doctors. Whoa.
Time will fly, I know! But until then, we have this summer, and everyone is taking advantage of that fact. After all, there's a lot one can do with a summer. For example, a few of my classmates have gone abroad, from China to Europe. Similarly, some have gone abroad for optometric service, via SVOSH or FCO. Many are still here in Memphis and have found jobs at SCO. A few intrepid individuals are even participating in the summer research program. Some have gone home for one last summer or job opportunity, and a good number are going home for an even better reason - to get married!
Aside from the marriage part, my summer has been an interesting hybrid of all of these. It all began two days after my last final and a day after my brother's graduation from the University of Memphis. Joined by a recent SCO alumnus, Dr. Matt Willis, I and twelve other students set off to Barranquilla, Colombia, to save some vision for SVOSH . Simply put, it was an amazing experience. Over four days of clinic, we saw a little over 1,030 patients, and I learned new techniques and saw some interesting eyes. (The local paper in Barranquilla even did an article on us!) By the end of clinic, I was even having conversations in Spanish with some of the patients, which makes me really want to relearn the language.
But it wasn't all work. The Lions Clubs in Colombia housed us, fed us, and entertained us by showing us around Barranquilla. One night, we even played soccer with Colombians, and on the final clinic day, we were treated out to one last dance party. After our clinic days, eight of us continued to Cartagena for a few days of fun at a resort, stopping by at a mud volcano on the way.
[caption id="attachment_2079" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="With some of our patients."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_2080" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="All of us and our Lion hosts after the last day of clinic."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_2078" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Mud volcano!"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_2081" align="aligncenter" width="430" caption="Spelling out "SVOSH" in Old Cartagena."][/caption]
A week hadn't even gone by upon my return to Memphis when it was time to volunteer with about 40 other SCO people for the Special Olympics in Nashville. This was another neat experience, as I had never really worked with special needs people before, much less help them through an eye exam.
[caption id="attachment_2082" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Classmates Michael and Alanna taking acuities during the Special Olympics."][/caption]
Two weeks later I was at it again, this time for a Rural Area Medical (RAM) trip to Lincoln Memorial University in Harragut, Tennessee. Like the others, this was yet again another supremely rewarding trip. It was a lot like SVOSH, except we teamed with Medical and Dental professionals and students to provide care for those who can't afford it here at home.
[caption id="attachment_2083" align="aligncenter" width="199" caption="Fellow second year Sam refracting during the RAM trip"][/caption]
For any of you future optometry students (and maybe even some of you current students) interested in service, I highly recommend these avenues. Not only did I have some great experiences with my classmates, but I also met and learned much from the upperclassmen and doctors on these trips. Their experience is invaluable and will help me in my clinic encounters in the years to come. Plus, you also learn how to interact with and treat different patient populations through programs like these. Such knowledge in your optometric repertoire can only help as a future clinician.
But wait - there's more. I've continued this theme of service in other ways as well. In my capacity as a Student Ambassador, I've helped give a few tours. I'm not quite sure I'm ready to give a tour on my own just yet, but I will be soon! Also, I recently helped Dr. Janette Dumas with her inaugural "Success in Sight" program, which looks to bring minority students to the wonderful career of optometry. This was fun - I have every confidence that some of those in that bright, intelligent group will not only enter healthcare but will be leaders in optometry.
A few other things of note: I've participated in some of my classmates' research projects. A few days ago I and a group of SCO students helped clean some of the areas around school. I've been assisting with a community garden through NOSA. Finally, I've put in a few hours of lab work in the SVOSH lab (can't hurt to get started early, after all!).
Honestly, I've never had a summer quite like this before. It was quite unexpected - service to the community has always been important and enjoyable to me, and never before has so much of my summer been devoted to it. I wouldn't have it any other way! Every opportunity is a blessing. And, despite all of these service events, I've also done plenty of other things to keep me busy. I've gone home a few times for some awesome family time. I've resumed an exercise schedule (hopefully I can maintain it during the school year!). I've played some video games, watched more TV than I have all school year, cooked much, read a few novels, practiced a little Spanish, taken some pictures, participated in the Memphis Zombiewalk. With a month left of this summer, I'm planning a trip to Canada to visit family and to Chattanooga, where I went to undergrad. Who knows what else can happen? In my view, there's still plenty of time left for many, many things to be done. Let's do it!
Until the next blog post (maybe it won't be quite as long!),