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Inject Me

Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Blogs

When people are asked to list their favorite things, it’s easy to come up with the common ones:

Long walks on the beach.
Raindrops on roses.
Whiskers on kittens.

Nope, you didn’t read it wrong. Who doesn’t love to walk into one of ICO’s labs and shove a 21-gauge needle, bevel up, into your friend’s veins?

Injecting Allyce's eye

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The End of Year One

The End of Year One

Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Blogs

You know that exciting feeling you get when you buy a fresh pair of five-inch heels or get an A on an ocular anatomy exam? Well, multiply that by like a hundred and that’s how my fellow classmates and I felt upon completing our finals and thus finishing our first year of optometry school.

Waking up on the morning of our last final, I had an instant smile to my face. Could my first year here really be over? As we sat in the lecture hall waiting for testing to begin, my friends and I could hardly contain our excitement enough to focus on the exam itself. Hours later, it was over and we were walking back into the RC. And at the door, two ICO staff members stood by congratulating us for being done. Joy, surprise, happiness and dozens of other emotions inflated us for hours of celebration. What began as a cookout in the RC migrated downtown for celebratory shopping and noshing along the tulip-streamed Magnificent Mile and carried way through the AM. What finals week sleep deprivation? Partying waits for no man.

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Second Year in Review

Posted by on May 20, 2013 in Blogs

HOORAY! I’m officially a third year!

So this is how it happened: One day, I woke up, and I’m a third year.

No, seriously, it felt that way. Every once in a while, I get the feeling that school is never going to end, and I’m just going to drown in huge piles of assignments, labs, practicals and exams. Then, one day, it was all over. There’s no more pharmacology to study for, we just have to know it for clinic. No more PAP observation sessions, we’re going to be in our own rooms as student clinicians now. I felt so free, that it was almost a little empty. I say “almost” because who am I kidding?

The hardest part of second year
The toughest thing this year was staying focused. I worked extremely hard first year, and I think I just got tired second year. It’s as if I ran out of steam or something. I sometimes forget that optometry school is more similar to a marathon than a sprint. So this year, I give myself a little more “me” time to relax. If I’ve already studied for nine hours non-stop, and the walls are starting to talk to me, it’s probably time to stop and take a break. Guess what? It worked out just fine.

This happened so many times to me this year, and many ICO students can relate. If it happens to you, it’s time to take a break, get a cup of coffee, breathe, and move on.

The most exciting things about second year
Three-mirror gonioscopy was probably the most feared lab/practical before we learned the technique. We all cringed every time we thought that someone in our class is going to put a “contact lens” directly on our eye, and then spin it while it’s still on our eye. I bet you guys got goosebumps reading that. As big of a drama queen as I am, 3-mirror gonioscopy is definitely is one of the easier techniques to sit for and to perform. Once the anesthetic was on, I didn’t feel a thing! What you would actually feel is the Schirmer test you do in Ocular Disease lab with Dr. Gunderson, and Physical Diagnosis lab with Dr. Gabriel.

I thought I was going to cry with this piece of paper in my eye. I wish I did, because the test would have ended sooner.

I thought I was going to cry with this piece of paper in my eye. I wish I did, because the test would have ended sooner. Remember this is how my patients would feel.

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On Being a TA: Equal Parts Therapist, Tutor, Friend, Diplomat, Translator and Disciplinarian

Posted by on May 7, 2013 in Blogs


Truth: Being a TA is one of the most fun positions I’ve ever held.

It’s like being backstage on a TV show and seeing how many things go into a course before it’s ready for public viewing. It’s also like watching a blooper reel and seeing how even when it’s supposed to be serious (foreign body in the eye!!), no one can stop laughing at the Jello inside the Dixie Cup.

I’ve had the good fortune to TA for several first and second year courses this year. If you have even the slightest desire, I’d recommend it. Not only is it a great review for that tiny test we all have to take, it’s fun to watch how the labs go down from the other side.

My first lab practical was Entrance Testing. I was young, naive, and innocent. Okay, I was never innocent, but I was younger. There is something about wearing your ironed white coat for the first time and sitting in those plastic chairs on the third floor that makes your blood pressure spike. I think there is also less oxygen in those exam rooms, because it is unreal how delusional I get the second I walk in there.

I remember being panicked that I didn’t have a second to spare to wait for my PD ruler to dry from the alcohol swab, so I started shaking it in the air, as I screamed “Okay, I’m just going to clean the ruler before we get started!” To my horror (and I’m sure my proctor’s amusement), I shook it so hard it flung out of my hands. Me, my patient, and the proctor all watched that ruler fly in slow-motion and land on the floor–now needing to be cleaned again. I stared at it for what felt like 2 minutes. And then I screamed, “Okay, I’m just going to clean that again!”

And look at me now! I don’t even use my PD ruler anymore!

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Joffrey Ballet’s “Othello”

Joffrey Ballet’s “Othello”

Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Blogs


Taking a diversion from studies by venturing downtown is always a welcome idea when possible. Last weekend marked the last “free” weekend my classmates and I have this year. Our spring quarter final exams begin Saturday and continue through to next Saturday. And in a mere 10 days–albeit ones that will certainly drag on and on–our first year at ICO will be completed.

Last Friday, a group of us attended a performance of the Joffrey Ballet’s “Othello” at the Auditorium Theatre in the Loop, a short 20-minute trip by bus from campus. We got there an hour before showtime to purchase “student rush” tickets. Normally, tickets range from $31 to $152, but we bought ours for $15. Our seating was in the 300 level, but by some luck, one of us received a ticket of the same price for seating on the floor level. When the curtains rose, we enjoyed a truly stellar experience, made amazing by the expressive acting and heightened drama.

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