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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!

-Lisa
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?

1


or 2...


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