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SCO Student Allison Wirt, ’22, writes about the changes our students have faced over the last year
At this point, it’s a cliche to say that everything has changed. At SCO, things have certainly changed in ways that we couldn’t have foreseen a year ago. Our class lectures have been solely virtual for a year, our patient schedule has been cut in half, and all of our on-campus clubs and professional events have been restructured. Sure, this has been enough to feel overwhelming but, every now and then, I sit back and think about how all of these changes have ultimately made us stronger.
Currently, our third-year class is studying for Part 1 of the NBEO - the first part of the optometry national boards certification process. Basically, it’s an exam as large as the OAT but encompassing everything that we have learned in our courses from our 1st year through 3rd year. It’s a large undertaking but our class has made strides to support each other every day. Many of us find time to study together and keep each other accountable with deadlines and evolving school policy in our class GroupMe. Over time, we have become reliant on each other and have grown as resilient doctors-in-training.
Club meetings have always been a fun way for us to spend time with other students. As you can imagine, these meetings have switched to an online format but we have thought of creative ways to have fun and spend time with each other. Two weeks ago, I helped teach a painting class for our Low Vision Club on campus. Students of all years and a few of our professors joined us for a low vision-themed paint night. Interacting with each other in a meaningful way made this so joyful for us all. You can see how much fun we had in the photo below!
We have accepted the challenge of maintaining our grades, excelling in clinic, and becoming the student leaders of our program with the help of our fellow classmates and an understanding administration. We’ve adapted by maximizing our class and clinic time throughout the week through careful planning on the part of our faculty, staff, and SGA. We consistently have had opportunities to have our opinions heard with administrative decisions in order to perform at our best. Our collective experience, much like yours, has been a journey riddled with unforeseeable circumstances but we have persevered nonetheless.