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“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

"Take a Risk, Take a Chance, Make a Change, and Breakaway."

15 hours and 1,030 miles later, I finally arrived at my destination – Memphis, TN. I have only been here a little over a week and I couldn’t be happier with the choice I made. Memphis is quite different from my hometown – Miami, FL; however, one thing remains the same – boiling temperatures that beg for some ice cream or a dip in the pool. I must admit... I am secretly hoping for colder temperatures to hit so I can finally experience a real winter – as Elsa would say, “The cold never bothered me anyway” (but who am I kidding, I’ll regret saying this in a couple of months).

I guess now is as good a time as ever to introduce myself. My name is Betsy Del Valle and I will be a first year optometry student this upcoming Fall (Class of 2019!!). I grew up in Miami, FL although I was actually born in Cuba. I have many fond memories of growing up in Miami, and it will always hold a special place in my heart; however, I have always been intrigued with the unknown and upon graduating from high school I chose to relocate to Gainesville, FL to attend the University of Florida where I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition (Go Gators!!!!).

University of Florida Class of 2012!

After completing my degree at UF, I decided to move back to Miami and eventually pursued a Master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition at Florida International University. You may be wondering why I decided to pursue a master’s degree as opposed to going straight into optometry school; the truth is, I didn’t know much about the field of optometry until after my undergraduate studies. However, what I did know was that I wanted to further my education and eventually work in healthcare. Once I began shadowing a variety of optometrists, I realized that optometry was a perfect match and my love for the profession was awakened.

An interesting fact about me is that I have a slight obsession with animals (especially penguins and giraffes) as well as anything optometry related as you will come to learn.

Zoo Miami - Feeding my favorite vegetarian.

Georgia Aquarium - With my one and only.

Eye at the Joule - Dallas, TX

Fast-forward to August 2015 and here I am, in Memphis, TN ready to begin the next chapter of my life.

With each day that goes by, one by one the class of 2019 is slowly but surely invading the City of Blues and the countdown has officially begun – 16 days till Orientation! Until then, I will continue to explore this historic city and all of its hidden gems. Next time I write, I will hopefully have made many friends and have finally begun this journey that will take me one step closer to attaining my ultimate goal of becoming a Doctor of Optometry!