Firstly, I would like to say that I do not regret my choice of going to ICO for optometry, but I do wish that I had considered some things before I got here. It most definitely would not have changed my choice in school (board scores, clinic, and lab equipment were my top concerns), but if I knew ahead of time, it would have at least mentally prepared me to leave my life in Toronto behind for such an extended period of time.
I could go on and on, and only focus on my positive experience here. However, let’s face it–this is a student blog, it should be real and reflect my true feelings about this school. So here is my one rant: Break week doesn’t always mean you get to go home to see your family, especially after second year.
First year, I was able to fly home fairly often. Every quarter, we get a week of break where we have no assignments, classes, or quizzes and can just relax. The courses were tough, but I always felt rejuvenated after visiting my loved ones back home in Toronto, even though time was always so short. Although holidays and breaks should not be the be-all-end-all of choosing an optometry school, it definitely should be taken into consideration if you have a significant other, kids, or other life priorities that may need your attention every once in a while, especially if you were an international student, because driving home isn’t always an option. Nine months of classes with a break every three months until summer doesn’t seem so brutal. Every time I’m mentally exhausted, I thought to myself, only three more months to go–> two more months to go–> one more month to go–> and before I know it, I’m home again, and then I’m back to Chicago, ready to work again for another three months.
Returning to campus on last week was nothing short of difficult. It was a challenge to say goodbye to all the amusements and celebrations of break, the long days spent getting some much needed R and R, and the late nights doing everything but studying. Walking back into the RC was made brighter by seeing the faces of colleagues and roommates with a similar disposition and an equal lack of productivity over break. And a bowl of Hershey’s kisses and hugs at the front desk that embraced us with sweetness.
Ahhh, the holidays! It’s the perfect time to relax with family, eat good food, and… study?! Yep, that’s right.
We just returned on Monday from a two-week break, and although those two weeks were a much-needed break from endless exams, we are still right in the middle of winter quarter. Even though we weren’t in class for a while, the schedule doesn’t skip a beat. We’ve got two exams this week, not to mention our Optometry Lab practical looming close in the distance. This practical will encompass all the entrance testing techniques we’ve learned so far this year, and it’s timed! So although I enjoyed my break as much as possible, I did try and set aside some time here and there for a bit of studying and some necessary practice with my entrance testing equipment.
I hope everyone had a nice relaxing holiday. I was back home in Ottawa (check out the awesome New Year’s fireworks above) and I came to realize how spoiled I’ve been by the mild Chicago weather. Yes, I said “mild,” because there was no snow when I left Chicago. I forgot how brutal Canadian winters can be and as a result, I slept in a lot when I was home. I’m going to regret it later once our twice-a-week-8 a.m.-exams start up again, but it’s so hard not to when it looks like “snowmageddon” outside.
I spent a lot of time holed up in my room trying to come up with a list of resolutions for 2013. Every year I come up with at least five things that I want to accomplish and last year, I managed to accomplish four out of the five, which was a record for me. This year, my biggest resolution is to accomplish all of my resolutions, one of which is to attend at least three optometry meetings. If I can win travel grants, I hope to attend even more.
Throughout the year, the optometry community hosts dozens of meetings and conferences that take place all over the U.S. and Canada, and many are open to students. Below are some meetings and conferences that I’m interested in attending: