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Hello from Utah

These past few months brought many changes and lots of new opportunities. At the end of summer semester, my wife, son, and I packed up our house and said goodbye to Memphis. It was difficult to leave so many friends behind in the city that we had come to call home for the past three years. As we drove across the Mississippi for the last time my wife, with tears in her eyes, remarked on how ironic it was that she had also cried when we first got to our new home in Memphis but for much different reasons (namely the massive dead spiders found in our living room when we opened the door for the first time, which thankfully was a one time deal). She laughed as she thought about how nervous we both were living in such a new area, but how much we had come to love it. I don't think we could have imagined how hard it was going to be to leave, but we were also excited about our upcoming experiences during my last two rotations before graduation. Since August, I've been an intern with the Salt Lake City VA Medical Center. The first week here was a whirlwind of learning a new charting system, seeing new pathology, and being in a different clinical culture altogether than I was used to. For a day or two I kept thinking how difficult it was and how I may never get the hang of it. After a few days though, I began to feel more comfortable with my surroundings and have since felt like my optometric education has sky-rocketed! The doctors here are incredibly caring and insightful and I've already learned so much from them. Most of the pathology that I see in clinic I have learned about from prior classes and have even seen once or twice previously in clinic, but my experience at the VA has drastically increased my confidence in diagnosing and managing ocular conditions.

Another huge milestone has also come and gone. During the first week of December, I took Part 2 of national boards and my last exam of optometry school! (pending score; fingers crossed!) It’s hard to believe that I’ve made it to this point in my schooling. It almost seemed like I would be taking exams for the rest of my life, but here we are with only one semester and graduation ahead of me! I’m also working on finalizing my plans for after school which makes the realization of how close I am even more palpable. I have a lot of choices, decisions and responsibilities ahead of me, but I’m more confident in beginning my career than I thought I would be at this point. Much of that is thanks to the resources that SCO has provided its students. The Hayes Center is a great resource that provides instruction through business/practice management courses, as well as making connections with other doctors through their very own placement page. Thanks to them, I also have a thorough resumé, a sharp LinkedIn page, and several connections with excellent doctors and practices across the country.

I’m really looking forward to this end stage of my optometry education. I’ve had very difficult moments but my choice to pursue optometry has brought me so much satisfaction in what I do for my patients every day. I had often heard that optometry has one of the highest rated job satisfaction, and it has become clear to me that it stems from the gratitude of everyday patients whose lives are bettered through our care.

Until next time! Happy Holidays from my family to y’all!