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“One or two? Two or three? Three or four?”
Four looks the best to me as I am finishing up my fourth year of optometry school!
Allow me to share three discoveries I made during my SCO experience.
1. Get involved and connect with others
SCO is filled with wonderful people. Learn about their cultures. Be a student of people, not just optometry. Connect with both staff members and fellow students. Knowing people at a personal level, caring about them and their families, and becoming an integral part of the SCO family makes school far more meaningful. Building connections with others is a vitally important balm in our distressed world.
2. You’re doing better than you think you are
Optometry school is four difficult years. Weekends get sucked up with study and lab practice. Being away from family feels isolating. The best advice I can give is advice I received long ago: “Live one day at a time.” Don’t worry about tomorrow. Live in the present. That’s all we have control over. This mindset makes school more manageable. You can get through finals week, board exams, tomorrow’s practical, and ultimately these four challenging years. Everyone feels the same pressures. You’re doing great!
3. We change lives
We can materially impact people’s quality of life. My last externship site focuses on vision therapy. I have witnessed multiple patients appreciate fine stereo vision for the first time. I’ve seen concussion patients’ headache frequency diminish to nearly zero. This field of optometry is bringing a world of opportunity to the lifestyles of people who have previously had few options. Ask insightful questions. Care about patients. Regardless of the area of optometry in which we work, we can all meaningfully change others’ lives.
I appreciate all the people throughout my four years at SCO who have taught, befriended, and guided me. Thank you! I’m excited to apply the skills I have gained in doing my small part to improve others’ lives through better vision.
Last day of 4th year SCO clinic. Pictured left to right: Dr. Borgman, Braden Sorensen, Christopher Pope (me), Griffin Smith
All my best,
Christopher Pope, '22