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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

Another semester down!

Happy Friday, readers! I'm extra happy this Friday because another week of final exams is complete. Yay! My class just finished our last final of the semester and we're looking forward to a week of relaxation before starting back up in class and clinic a week from Monday. This semester we took Contact Lenses II, Strabismus & Amblyopia, Low Vision, Glaucoma, and a clinical "recap" type class called Integrative Clinical Analysis. Also, as of last week we are officially done with labs forever (which means we get to focus more on clinic!)

The week off is exciting for me and the rest of the student ambassadors because SCO is hosting our New Student Orientation for the class of 2019 at the end of next week. It's always fun to help the members of the incoming class get adjusted to life as an optometry student and to make them feel at home at SCO. They always have a ton of questions about what they should expect - which I never mind answering because I had the exact same questions when I was in their shoes. It's hard to believe my class was getting ready to start orientation two years ago! While time has flown by, we've also learned so much in the past two years that it's hard to believe we were just getting started at this time in 2013.

In addition to busy and exciting days working with patients in the clinic (which I talked about in my last post), this summer semester has been full of big events for me. From traveling to Seattle for Optometry's Meeting to moving to a lake house in Olive Branch to getting 4th year externship site assignments to going on a cruise to Mexico for my sister's wedding and planning my own wedding, I've been all over the place and I feel like each weekend has been crazier than the last. It has all made the semester absolutely FLY by!

Choosing our preferences and getting our assignments for our 4th year externship sites was a long, exciting, and slightly stressful process. After doing tons of research and considering sites all over the country, Ben and I decided to both stay in the Memphis area all three semesters next year. There are a lot of awesome sites around here - plus we absolutely love our new house! Each 4th year student has to do one semester at The Eye Center here at SCO, one semester at an institutional-based site, and one semester at a private practice. I ended up getting assigned to SCO in the summer, Dr. Leroy Norton's private practice in Whitehaven in the fall, and the Naval Base in Millington in the spring. It's so hard to believe I'll be starting my first rotation in less than nine months. I'm excited but still have so much to learn before then! I'm sure I will have tons to talk about in my blog posts next year as I experience different types of practice settings and get a feel of what's right for me.

Now that this busy week of exams is finished, I have some unpacking to finish and some things to take care of around the new house so this post is short and sweet today. I'll post again in a couple weeks to talk about orientation (and maybe share some pictures of the new place!). Thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend!

at 8/21/15 | 0 comments