What's Next?

Page 4 of 86

A year of many “Firsts”

As our first semester in optometry school came to a close, so did 2015. As one year ends, another begins; and with that, our second semester in optometry school is now in full swing.

So far 2016 has been a year of many firsts; with the month of January, came my first State Day, “Snowmaggedon”, and Eye Ball (no pun intended).

State Day is sponsored by SCO and the AOSA. It allows students to meet with a variety of state representatives and learn more about the individual laws and regulations that legislate the scope of optometric practice individual to each state. It provides students with insight as to what practicing optometry would be like in various states, while simultaneously allowing us to build connections with state representatives and AOA members. As an added bonus to State Day, we had an inspiring presentation by Hunter Chapman ’16 (2015-2016 AOSA President) where I was able to learn more about the AOSA and how to get involved. I should also note that for the second year in a row, an SCO student has been appointed as AOSA President. Congrats are in order for Erick Henderson ’17. #PerksofbeinganSCOstudent

On another note, my first “Snowmaggedon” was quite a tease. I pictured myself singing: “Do you want to build a snowman?” as I pranced around in a blizzard, but all I got was a day off school and an inch of snow. But beggars can’t be choosers, a snowflake is a snowflake, and this Florida girl finally got to experience a “Snow Day” as opposed to a day away from school due to Hurricane Andrew or “El Nino”. Following the flurries, all SCO students were able to mix and mingle with future colleagues at the annual Eye Ball, which took place at the historic Cadre Building and was hosted by SGA. The timing of the ball couldn’t have been more perfect; it allowed us all to engage in some fun before getting ready to buckle down and begin studying for our first set of midterms (taking place next week).

Colleen Fischman '19, Maria Sicco '19 and Betsy Del Valle '19

#EyeBall 2016


Lastly, as an added bonus the month of January granted me with my very first view of the optic nerve via direct ophthalmoscopy. But I should be getting back to studying, so you’ll have to stay tuned till next time!  

at 2/5/16 | 0 comments

There’s a (Christmas) Light at the End of the Tunnel!

Hi everyone! I can’t believe we’re coming down to our final weeks of the semester. I am just about finished with labs for the fall, and just have a couple days left of classes. We had a few practicals last week, and I just have one more school screening to do tomorrow. Then I can really focus on finals and getting ready to head home for Christmas!

It was so nice to be home for Thanksgiving. I haven’t been back to Pennsylvania since July, so it was wonderful to be back and to have a chance to see everyone. I’m already looking forward to going back in a few weeks! I think it was a much needed break for all of us.

Overall, this was an exciting semester. We learned so much, especially in terms of clinical skills. It was definitely overwhelming, and at times it felt like we had a practical every week, but I’m so happy to finally be learning some of the examination tools that we’ll be using over and over every day. I can't believe that in just a few short months we'll be starting in clinic!

Another exciting development happened this semester with externship sites. Since there is already an optometry school in Pennsylvania and it is relatively far, there were not any extern sites set up in the state for SCO students. I was pretty bummed about this, but I was able to work with the externship office to set up my own. I contacted a doctor’s office close to my house and was amazed by how willing they were to allow me to spend some time there during my fourth year. Even though I’m only in my second year, we have to have our externship sites finalized by the summer, so I wanted to have everything in place well before then. I have always been happy with my decision to attend school in Tennessee, and with knowing the school was willing to work with me as start to think about this next step in my training.

For now, I’m taking advantage of Christmas music, Christmas lights, and Christmas cookies to help make finals prep a little more bearable. :) I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!
at 12/7/15 | 1 comments

The Final Stretch

Hello readers! A lot has happened since I last wrote. The second round of midterms came and went, and finals are right around the corner – but first, we got a much-needed break! Many of my classmates flew back home to spend Thanksgiving with their families; however, I opted to stay in Memphis to get some studying done as well as some practice in lab.

A couple of weeks ago I took part in “Dining in the Dark” with the Lions Club at SCO. Dr. Karen Squier was the guest lecturer at the meeting and instructed us on how to properly assist visually impaired individuals on everyday tasks while remaining respectful of their space and encouraging independence. We each had a “buddy” who guided us as we not only served our food, but also as we ate while being completely blindfolded. As I stood blindfolded and unaware of my surroundings, I felt completely vulnerable and dependent on my “buddy”. I realized that vision truly is a precious gift that can sometimes be taken for granted – even by us future optometrists. It’s very hard to know what life would be like in the dark, when all we ever experience is life with the lights on.

Furthermore, I learned that communicating and assisting someone who is visually impaired is harder than I thought! I found myself at a loss for words as I tried to guide my “buddy” throughout the room as she served herself spaghetti and meatballs and then as she attempted to gracefully eat while wearing her shinny white coat. We somehow got through it, but I quickly realized how hard it was to describe everyday items such as tongs to grab some salad or a brownie (my favorite), or even a fork and a knife. I must say the hardest part of this exercise was describing depth perception and spatial arrangements; who knew telling left from right or up from down could be so complicated! I’ll definitely be needing more practice!!

On another note and since I’m on the topic of vision, I thought I’d share some future plans of mine. Next summer I will be attending a SVOSH mission trip somewhere in Central or South America and I couldn’t be more excited! Last year SVOSH preformed 7,463 eye exams and distributed 7,527 pairs of prescription eyeglasses in just one week!! I look forward to being a part of this great cause and providing free eye care services to those who are less fortunate and don’t have these services readily available to them.

Lastly, if you’ve been following my blogs you may recall a statement I initially made with regards to colder temperatures…

“The cold never bothered me anyway”

I was wrong!! I am definitely not Elsa, and the cold does bother me, actually.
at 12/3/15 | 0 comments

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