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I saw my first patient last Friday! My excitement of finally being an intern at The Eye Center has taken off! I would like to share a little with you about my second-year experience at SCO. My thoughts come from some lessons I have learned this past year which include the value of family/relationships, taking care of myself, and how life can be good amidst trials.
Second year started after a 10-week break during which I worked at SCO as a work-study student. It was enjoyable to help with graduation events and interact with the great staff on the 11th floor. As the summer semester began in July it started off quickly with classes and labs that were different from first year. We jumped into disease and more advanced clinical techniques that took more time to learn (still becoming more efficient at these). I sensed that the second year would be more difficult...I was right. Last fall semester has been the most trying semester of my life. It was filled with many classes that stretched me to begin thinking differently, hundreds of drugs to memorize, and more disease that did not come easily. In November, my wife lost her father to cancer. This loss added heartache to an already challenging time. I look back now and see the blessing it was for us to be together as a family even though I was overwhelmed with school. I share this to emphasize the importance of family and other relationships. As we all go through school, or life, we need help to press forward. For me, having meaningful connections with family and friends has allowed me to do so. I finished up that grueling fall semester because of the love and support I had from them.
After time spent with family during the holidays, spring semester rolled around. I felt ready to tackle this semester with more focus and dedication! 2020 is the year of the optometrist...and also the year that COVID-19 spread throughout the world. I remember coming home from a spring break trip to Utah and preparing for school to resume. The Sunday evening before Monday classes we received the news from President Reich that all SCO campus activities were to be suspended. Nobody knew for how long we would have class and limited labs online with no opportunity to practice certain skills for our upcoming pre-clinical checkouts. This was a surreal time. During the months of off-campus education, I learned more about the importance of eating better and more consistent exercise. Because of these unprecedented circumstances, I have been able to improve my overall health. I did not expect this. My wife and I have had more time to make new meals at home. Favorite snack: homemade fermented salsa! We enjoy going on walks in our neighborhood. We have a favorite spot that is next to a large pond where we sit and converse about life or just sit and soak in the beauty of the water and luscious green landscape.
As I walked into The Eye Center on Friday I realized that even though there had been many adjustments and postponements made I was still there furthering my optometric education. I am grateful for Dr. Walker who was very understanding and helpful as I assisted her in helping my first patient receive the care I have been learning about for the past two years! Things work out. My second year at SCO proves it! I am thrilled to continue forward with what I learned this past year!
Have a great day!
Life is good,
Hey Friends, it’s Coralis again!
I just finished my first year of optometry school! It has been so surreal and an amazing experience. I learned so much more than I could ever imagine. So far, I have learned skills such as determining a patient’s prescription, looking at the optic disc at the back of the eye and how to examine presbyopic patients. I’ve also learned some chair skills that I was able to do on some friends and family when I came home for breaks. It was so nice to be able to show them some of the things I had been learning at school.
Aside from all the studying and exams, I have met a lot of wonderful people and made some great memories. SCO offers a lot of these fun activities that a lot of my classmates and I can enjoy. The Omega Delta (OD) fraternity hosts parties about once a month. My favorite party that I went to was the “Jarty Party”, which was a denim day party! We can also get some free or discounted tickets to Grizzlies games, Memphis 901 soccer games, and Memphis Redbirds baseball games. I had the opportunity to go to a Grizzlies game and we beat the Utah Jazz! However, one of my favorite times was going to the annual Eyeball! Eyeball is like prom or homecoming and people from all classes come together and dress up!
Unfortunately, due to the world’s current situation with the Coronavirus, our traditional way of learning was cut short. We had transitioned to virtual learning in the middle of March and ultimately ended the semester online. Throughout the quarantine and isolation, we took 13 exams and 1 practical online; but the faculty and professors were helping us every step of the way. Even through this unprecedented and unexpected time, the SCO family was dedicated to helping us succeed and learn everything we needed to. Which goes back to my previous post about SCO being the perfect school for me!
On the other hand, I had the opportunity to go back home to Florida and spend some more time with my mom (yes, I did the treacherous 14 hour drive again, but this time by myself). I have been able to try out new recipes that I’ve always wanted to make. It was so good that I’m going to share my zucchini lasagna with you!
To make this amazing dish you will need: 4-6 zucchinis, 2 tbsp oil, 1 lb ground beef/turkey, 2-3 cloves of garlic, ¼ tsp of Italian seasoning, ½ diced onion, 1 container of ricotta cheese, 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese, 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 large egg, 1 jar of marinara sauce, and salt and pepper to taste.
Start out by preheating the oven to 375 degrees and cutting the zucchinis into thin slices lengthwise. Then, lay the slices out on paper towels and lightly salt them to remove the excess moisture. After about 15 minutes, pat them dry and remove the salt. While the zucchini slices are “sweating”, lightly sauté the garlic and onion in the oil. Then, add the ground beef/turkey, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. After the meat is cooked, drain the excess oil and add the marina sauce (save some to add to the dish later). Turn the heat down and let the meat sauce simmer for about 5-10 minutes. To make the cheese stuffing, mix the ricotta cheese, ½ cup of parmesan cheese, ½ cup of mozzarella cheese, and egg in a separate bowl. You can choose to add some Italian seasoning to the cheese mixture if you wish for a little more flavor. Next, assemble the lasagna. Start out by adding the remainder of the marina sauce to the bottom of the dish. Then, line the bottom of the pan with zucchini, leaving no gaps between the slices. Next, add a thin layer of mozzarella cheese, followed by the meat sauce, then the cheese mixture. Repeat again with the zucchini slices, mozzarella cheese, meat sauce and cheese mixture. Then, add the last layer zucchini slices, and the remainder of the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Bake the lasagna for 30 minutes uncovered then broil for 3-4 minutes to toast the top layer of cheese. Let it cool and enjoy!
All in all, the ups and downs of this past year have taught me so much and I am so grateful to be at this school. Even with this current situation going on, I am still excited to see what the next 3 years has in store for me!
I hope you enjoy the recipe and until next time,
SCO Student Michelle Alaimo, ’23, writes about her first year at SCO:
It’s officially the end of my first year at SCO! I can’t believe it’s already over. It seems like my classmates and I were just picking up our equipment at orientation. We have made it through so much together this year, from tough exam weeks and lab practicals to switching to online learning this spring. First semester was a challenging transition for me but getting past that made second semester feel much more manageable. I think my classmates and I were all ready for our summer break to arrive! I’m so grateful for everything I learned this year and all of the amazing friends I’ve made. Here are some of my favorite memories from first year:
Private Practice Crawl: Members of the Private Practice Club went on a “practice crawl” to 3 practices in the Memphis area. We got to meet the doctors and learn about their offices.
Convocation and homecoming: Last October, we got to celebrate homecoming weekend with the entire school and many alumni who visited.
Omega Delta Halloween party: This party was so much fun and everyone’s costumes were so great! I dressed up as one of Ms. Melissa’s Babycakes. It was right after an exam week, so everyone was ready to celebrate on Beale Street.
St. Jude Marathon Weekend: SCO had the largest team signed up for the St. Jude race weekend, which was awesome! I ran the half marathon and got to cheer on some other SCO runners doing the 5K and 10K races.
Eyeball: This year’s Eyeball was at The Columns downtown and the after party was on Beale Street.
SECO: I attended the SECO conference in Atlanta in March with some of my classmates. We got to walk around and see all the vendors who were at the conference. At the SECO student reception, we got to meet students from other optometry schools.
Since the transition to online learning this past spring, I’ve really missed seeing my classmates every day. However, we have been keeping in touch and supporting each other throughout the past few months. I am looking forward to the next time our whole class can be together again and all the memories we will make in the future!
SCO Student Zeke Grissom, ’21, writes about his experience attending the Baltimore Orioles’ Spring Training to assist the optometric team with screenings for players:
Orioles' Spring Training 2020
Baseball season is officially back and the buzz of fresh starts and heralded aspirations begin to permeate across the country. February 12 marked the spring training report date for pitchers and catchers of the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota, Florida.
Each year, Major League athletes begin their time by going through a series of medical evaluations before they are able to begin their respective seasons. These results are submitted to the league and used by the team to properly care for their athletes. In conjunction, the Orioles’ optometric team has been led for many years by Dr. Myrowitz out of the Baltimore area. In recent years, he and the organization have seen the value in vision enhancement and brought on SCO faculty member Dr. Paul Harris to assist in the evaluation and training of these athletes.
In an effort to teach and promote the development of future optometrists (and to have extra help,) Dr. Harris was able to coordinate this into an opportunity for me and a few other SCO students and faculty to attend this year’s training.
During my trip, we were able to do a thorough screening of each of the pitchers and catchers, as well as a number of the hitters reporting early. The screenings themselves consisted of three major objectives: evaluation of ocular health, establishment of concussion baseline measurements (to be compared to post-concussion), and observation of visual performance. Through this process, we were able to identify any players that needed further in-office evaluation and those that we deemed as a high yield candidate for further visual performance enhancement. Using subsequent follow-up visits and training, we will be able to provide the proper personalized care to ensure health and peak visual performance for these athletes on the biggest stage.
Beyond the Exam Room
“I have died and gone to heaven.” This was my response when initially asked about my experience at spring training, but it might not be for the reasons you think.
Sure, I was able to be around some of the greatest baseball players on the planet. Guys coming off of career years, others with extremely high ceilings. As I was there, that wasn’t what I was caught up in. Here I was in the perfect mix of childhood dreams, career aspirations, and the exciting atmosphere that every team experiences going into a new season, regardless of the level.
Growing up in a family of faithful believers that “Baseball is America’s Pastime,” baseball has always been a big part of my life. From throwing with my dad until the sun went down to playing with David Hess (current RHP for the Orioles) at Tennessee Tech, it has always been there since day one.
When it was time for me to hang up the cleats though, I found optometry, a field with endless possibilities. As a third-year student, SCO has already allowed me to take part in many unique opportunities that have fueled a fire for how I will be able to use my education in ways that are untraditional for optometry.
Vision assessment is no longer confined to the 20-foot exam lanes in an office setting where 20/20 reigns supreme, but rather stretches into all areas of our lives—and our profession is catching up with that notion. For instance, as sports have advanced, so has the speed and intensity stretching across all levels of play, leading to new needs.
As optometrists, we are to be on the front line with concussion management and detection, even at early ages. As we look at high school, collegiate, and professional athletes, everyone is relentlessly looking for the slight edge of improvement that separates the elite from the great; I am convinced that vision training is and will continue to be the avenue to unveil that untapped potential.
Just as these players are itching to get onto the field and lead their team to new heights this season, I am anxiously awaiting my time to continue the dream, combining my love of both baseball and optometry. Whether that’s at the t-ball level, the Major League level, or anywhere in between, SCO and optometry have opened the gate wide for endless possibilities.
-Zeke Grissom, Class of 2021
To celebrate the winding down of 2019, a few SCO student bloggers share what they’re thankful for at this moment as optometry students. Enjoy, and happy holidays from SCO!
The first item that comes to mind regarding gratitude is merely being at SCO! Not to mention this recently constructed study room on the 4th floor that I’m currently studying in :). I am grateful that the decision-makers at SCO listen to and care for us by continuously enhancing our four-year experience. This second-year fall semester has been difficult and enlightening. As I look back, I am thankful for professors that selflessly stay after class to answer my questions, give helpful feedback on practical exams, see me as a whole person (not just a number in my class) and encourage me to keep moving forward! I enjoy pulling up to school each day because I get to interact with amazing classmates, staff and faculty! What a wonderful time of life! Happy Holidays!
This holiday season, I'm extra thankful for the supportive environment here at SCO. My classmates have become my close friends over the course of the semester and I've gotten to know many upperclassmen as well. There are always people available to study, practice lab together, or just hang out. Getting through challenging midterms and lab practicals has been that much easier with such awesome people by my side. It is so cool to think about how much we have learned since starting in August. I can't believe my first semester of optometry school is almost over!
I’m thankful for my friends. I know that sounds ridiculous, of all the things I could be thankful for during optometry school I chose my friends. But in reality, I am so thankful for the support system I have in Memphis. Graduate school by no means is easy and without being surrounded by a group of great people, being as successful as I have been here just wouldn’t be possible. It’s weird to say but I’ve met some lifelong friends at SCO!
Here’s just a few of them!
During this holiday season, we at SCO are thankful for what was certainly a year to remember. We hope you enjoy this video highlighting our 2019:
Wishing you a holiday season full of warmth, and a bright and happy future in 2020.