What's Next?

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What Comes Next

Hi, readers! It's been a while since I posted last so I figured I would update y'all on life as a third year. As I mentioned in my previous post, third year is very different from first and second year since so much of our time is devoted to working with patients in clinic (three days a week from 10:00 to 6:30ish, to be exact). It's exciting, busy, fun, and can be a little intimidating at times. Sometimes I leave clinic at the end of the day feeling ready to take on the world of optometry - and some days I leave feeling like I need to go review everything I've learned in my first 3 years. Every day is different because every patient case is different, and that's what makes optometry (and healthcare in general) such an exciting career to be a part of. :)

One of the courses we're taking this semester is Practice Management. Sometimes as a student it can be easy to get caught up in the academia and science of optometry and we can forget to step back and think about how we want to actually practice optometry after we graduate. Because of the material and some of the guest lectures in our Practice Management course, I've really been putting a lot more thought into what my practice plans are after graduation. One of the great things about optometry is that there are SO many different avenues of practice. You can own a private practice, work as an employee or an associate, work in corporate practice, be involved in academics or research, work in the industry, or even work in interdisciplinary settings such as hospitals and military bases. Following graduation you can go straight into the workplace or you can complete a residency - or even a Ph.D program. This flexibility is exciting and leads to some big decisions that need to be made in the next year or so.

My original plan was to complete a residency and possibly work as an employee at a large medical practice. Recently, I've been doing a little more research on different options to make sure I am fully educated before I make my decision. Because of all of the resources and connections we have available to us at SCO, I'm leaning more and more toward private practice every day. I haven't made any official plans yet, but I have really enjoyed expanding my knowledge base and learning more about business and finance - two areas that I have VERY little background in. It's been an eye-opening experience and I am looking forward to learning more about the ways I can apply my knowledge after graduation from SCO.

Before I can practice optometry, however, I need to take (and pass!) all three parts of my national board exams! My class takes Part I this coming March, so soon it will be time to really start reviewing. So for the next few months my life will be full of boards preparation, wedding planning, clinic, and more thoughts on what comes after optometry school. :-) Thanks for reading and I'll update you on how boards preparation (and everything else is going) over the holiday break! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

at 11/16/15 | 0 comments

Another Test Week is in the Books!

With the second test week in the rear view mirror, we are officially 2/3 of the way done with the semester. I love the quiet weekends after test weeks for a lot of reasons, like getting a little more sleep, a needed study break, and a justified trip to Corky's for some BBQ. I also love these weekends because it affords me a chance to look back on how far I've come. I cannot believe that just 14 months ago, I was starting optometry school! In just 14 short months, I have learned how to do refractions and check ocular health using many different pieces of equipment. I have been able to practice those important clinical skills on my classmates in lab and at school vision screenings on dozens and dozens of kids in Shelby County. This past month, we also had the opportunity to practice our clinical skills at Project Homeless Connect in Downtown Memphis. I had a wonderful time talking with those great people in addition to performing refractions on them.

While I feel great about the clinical education I have received at SCO so far, I feel just as great about the didactic education. If you had told me before I started that I would be pushed academically harder than I had ever been pushed AND that I would enjoy my classes more than I had ever enjoyed classes I would have told you that you were crazy. To me, it doesn't make since. I have always thought that: Very Busy Life=Distress=Unhappy Life, but the formula at SCO is more like: Very Busy Life=Healthy Stress=Happy Life. I definitely feel that 2nd year is busier than 1st year was. For one, I have chosen to get more involved in my student clubs. I started to work as a tutor, helping 1st year students with some of their classes. I also believe that the courses, while still very enjoyable, are a bit more demanding. The clinical lab skills, while very fun, again, require a bit more practice. Throw weekly school screenings in the mix and you have yourself a very busy semester. As busy as it is, it is for sure the most fun semester I have had at SCO! By planning my time, it is possible to study, practice, and still have a life!

As busy as I am, I think that I am enjoying this semester because I am dedicating time to those things that I really enjoy. For example, I am hoping to one day teach at an optometry school because, in addition to optometry in general, I love teaching! So when an opportunity to work as a tutor came along, I jumped at the chance. Even though it is a few extra hours a week, it gives me something extra to look forward to. It doesn't matter how demanding something is, if you are passionate about it and enjoy it, you can do it!

My wife and I continue to love Memphis! It seems like every time we go out, we see something new or hear about a new restaurant to try. The NBA season has officially started and we are excited to go to some Grizzlies games again this year. I still can't believe how cheap those tickets can be on StubHub. We are truly blessed to live in such a great city where so many fun things are so affordable!

Well, I gotta go help the wife make dinner! Until next time!
at 11/9/15 | 0 comments

“It’s not a sprint; It’s a marathon.”

“It’s not a sprint; It’s a marathon.”

It wasn’t until my encounter with midterms week that I truly understood what this phrase meant. Over these past couple of weeks I have learned many things about optometry as a whole, school and myself. I learned that midterms came and went in the blink of an eye and if you don’t study from early on, you will fall victim of the domino effect. I can’t stress enough the importance of getting an early start in order to do well and not get overwhelmed with the overflow of material and daily examinations. With that said, it is possible to conquer midterms week and come out victorious! – This will be my ultimate goal. My next marathon begins Nov.2, and training has already begun; Watch out midterms week, I’m coming for you!

On another note, two days ago I attended a lecture by Dr. Glen Steele, who is currently chair of the AOA’s InfantSEE Comimittee. Working in the pediatric field is something I have longed to do ever since I can remember, and hearing him speak further solidified my interest in pediatric and infant eye care. Nothing motivates me more than knowing that a couple of years down the road, I will have the opportunity to work alongside Dr. Steele and learn from someone I truly look up to as a professional and whom I wish to one day be like (I consider this to be one of the many perks of being a student at SCO). I can’t wait to get involved with InfantSEE and look forward to what the future holds.

Some other events that took place since I last wrote are Optifest, World Sight Day, Memphis Vision Walk, the Academy of Optometry meeting in New Orleans, and the Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians meeting (currently taking place).

Lastly, the class of 2019 received their shiny white coats in a beautiful ceremony that took place at the Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church on Sept. 25, 2015. Since then, we get to wear our coats to Theory and Methods Lab (twice a week) to simulate what clinic days would be like in the upcoming future. Since moving on from the schematic eye, we have learned numerous chair skills as well as human ret (YAY! Finally, human eyes!). However, after practicing human ret, I must say there is one thing I miss about the schematic eye – its large “pupil”. I guess you can’t have it all... but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world!

Before I get back to studying I’ll leave you with this thought…

Which is better?


or 2...

I think TWO!
at 10/15/15 | 0 comments

Post-Midterm Bliss

Hi Everyone!

We survived another week of midterms! At this point, it seems like we've been through this so many times that it should be easy, but somehow it never is. I'm enjoying the few weeks before the next test week though! I love the weekend after test week, and this time I was fortunate enough to spend it in Colorado Springs! My boyfriend just moved there (thank you, Army), and our schedules both worked out so that we could spend a couple of days together. There's a chance that we'll end up in that area so it was great to get a chance to explore, and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. I find that one of the best ways for me to deal with stress is to get out of town, not think about school for awhile, and remember that there is a life outside of Optometry. I love what I'm doing and I could not be more confident in this career path, but sometimes we all need a little break :)

It still feels great to be a second-year. I think about all of the things we have learned and how far we've come, and I feel like we've accomplished so much already. We just had our first BIO (binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy) practical this morning and I am so thankful to have that out of the way. Another new thing this semester is our Clinical Communication and Patient Care course. Basically, this is our first introduction to the clinic, and as daunting as it is, I feel like it will be one of the most useful courses we take. We do a variation of things each week from school screenings to shadowing at the Eye Center to mock patient encounters. It's crazy to be doing the chair skills that we worked so hard on last year on real patients (even if they are 6 and 7 year olds) and it really has me looking forward to next year when we'll be in clinic. I also volunteered at a sports vision school screening for Christian Brothers University a few weeks ago, and got to again practice some chair skills while also learning about concussion and vision therapy as related to sports. I have no doubt that this year will be full of challenges, but I'm so happy to be learning so much more about optometry and optometric medicine. There may be a light at the end of the tunnel after all!

For now, I will continue to enjoy fall in Memphis. I'm looking forward to the Cooper Young Beer Festival this weekend, and am still somewhat paying attention to SEC football. Roll Tide!
at 10/15/15 | 0 comments

Schematic Eye... Friend or Foe?

Two weeks down and approximately 190 more to go (1/95 OD!!). Today marks the end of the second week of school and the tensions are already rising as we near our first practical in Theory and Methods. We were recently “gifted” with the schematic eye to perform retinoscopy and learn neutralization prior to practicing on our classmates… that little fellow will either become your best friend or your worst enemy. Although the skill currently seems impossible to many (myself included), I find comfort in knowing that two weeks from now most of us will have mastered the skill and be ready to leave the schematic eye behind. But until then, first year labs will remain flooded by students trying to decipher “the eye”.

On another note, Memphis has been great so far. I’ve made tons of friends from all over the United States, explored numerous locations throughout the city, and even went on a float/camping trip with other SCO students. So far, SCO and Memphis have been everything I hoped for and more. The professors are all great, and they really want everyone to succeed. They go out of their way to be accessible to us and even provide us with tutors as needed.

Our current schedule is as follows:

Opt Theory and Methods (Lecture & Lab)
Optics of the Eye (Lecture & Lab)
Anatomy, Histology, and Physiology (Lecture & Lab)
Neuroanatomy (Lecture)
Ocular Anatomy and Physiology (Lecture)
Biochemistry of the Eye (Lecture)

*All first year students have lecture in the mornings and labs in the afternoons.

Although it seems quite daunting, its definitely doable with hard work, dedication, and all the resources SCO provides. These upcoming weeks will be filled with events and tons and tons of studying. We have SGA elections sometime next week, various club meetings, Optifest on the 22nd, the White Coat ceremony on the 25th and then the highly anticipated first round of midterms!

Until then, hope you enjoy your weekend… and for those college football fans out there… GO GATORS!!!
at 9/11/15 | 0 comments