Okay, so the title of today’s blog post may be a bit of a misnomer–yes, I still have externships next fall–but this is absolutely my LAST fall semester of classes/lectures/labs in optometry school! I believe that’s quite the milestone for my third year classmates, don’t you? My lectures now consist of full-scope assessment and management of ocular diseases in my Posterior Segment II, Neuro Eye Disease, Medical Optometry Seminar, and Integrative Analysis II classes. And since SCO is so forward thinking, I’m taking a two semester Practice Management course to prepare me for the various modes of practice I may pursue after graduation. Not only does this course introduce us to the business and financial obligation sides of an optometric practice, but we also are competing within small groups as owners of a virtual practice!
As you all know by now, you can’t find me sitting around and just doing optometry school though. I was able to utilize some free time earlier this semester to take part in two different exciting trips.
Congressional Advocacy Conference
The annual Congressional Advocacy Conference (CAC) brings together national, state, legislative, and student optometric leaders together to promote optometry on Capitol Hill. Now, CAC is unique in that all students who attend must be AOA-PAC members first. As you may recall, back in July SCO hosted it’s PAC Drive for student membership and over 100 students joined AOA-PAC. From that group, over 40 students attended CAC in September–not only was this SCO’s largest group of students to attend the conference, but we had one of the largest student delegations represented there as well! With SCO’s record contributions this year, we were recognized at the conference for receiving the “Representative Level” of donation givings. Now all SCO’s AOA-PAC student members will receive a special lapel pin for their white coats and to wear at future optometry conferences, to signify them as stand-out leaders in sustaining optometry’s legislative progress. SCO definitely set the bar high!
Even though this was my second CAC, this year’s experience has really been one-of-a-kind and I wish I could better share how each of my D.C. escapades played out….a private Capitol tour with my classmates where we ‘accidentally’ ran shoulder-to-shoulder into John Kerry and his Secret Service, to the brunches, lunches, and dinners with my KY Congressional Leaders, to touring the monuments at night with several leaders from the Kentucky Optometric Association, to buying a half dozen cupcakes from competitors Georgetown Cupcake and Baked&Wired so that my roommate back in Memphis and I could go all cupcake wars on these delicacies, and to my personal meeting with my Congressman from KY–who I interned for a whopping 7 years ago!!–about taking those first steps in establishing my own political future in my District (and setting my sights on his office in the coming years!). And of course there was my Day on Hill lobbying on behalf of optometry and advocating for Medicaid parity and student loan forgiveness…why yes, I believe it was another conference well done and I’ve got the pictures to prove it below :)
Okay, school and conferences aside, here’s where the real fun was to be had…several SCO folks took a trip up to Missouri for an overnight float and camping trip. My classmates and I had a blast…sure the water was freezing at first, but we were in these nifty reclining chair floats (with drink holders!) that kept us dry and sunning all day. We even tied all our floats together; we were quite the colossal floating gang! This sure was a long way from my father’s Hiwassee River inner tube float trip he took my older brother and me on back in the day, and at least this time around I didn’t lose my floatation device!
Next blog post will be out soon and it’s all about OPTIFEST 2013!!