When you get to optometry school, life is a whirlwind. It’s new classes, new friends, new layouts… a new lifestyle, apparently. I recently had some down time to collect my thoughts. This blog post was my best outlet for the new information I had obtained after arriving and acclimating to the rigors of ICO.
Here are the three most important things I have learned:
- Be selfish. – When you are applying to optometry school, you write essays and reflect upon yourself. Many people state that they want to be an optometrist to help people. The first thing that we were told when we arrived, in a lecture on how to succeed and conquer the next 4 years, was one contradictory remark that all students were shocked to hear: be selfish. This means that there will be times where you will want to be there for a friend’s birthday party. You will have to choose your schoolwork first. There will be times where you want to go home to meet your sister’s new boyfriend. You will have to make sure your relationships and school balance are in harmony. There will be times where you will want to go out with your boyfriend and meet his friends from work. You will sacrifice that time to spend hours in the library with your class the weekend before an exam. Optometry school is a gift; don’t let it slip away in order to spare other people’s feelings. This is YOUR time to shine and show the world what YOU can do.
- You can’t have it all, but you can sure as heck try. There will be times where you WANT to do everything. There will be times where you map out every test, every study schedule, every meal. Sometimes those plans that you spent hours toiling over just won’t fall into place, and THAT IS OKAY. Go with the flow. Figure out what works for you and DO NOT PANIC. Some days will be better than others. Some days, you will cram, give up, and say, “We can deal with it tomorrow.” That won’t stop you from waking up the next morning with a list of things to complete. There will always be something to do. Also remember that if something goes awry- a bad test grade, a missed assignment, a fight with a friend- all this is bigger than you. Do not give up on your dreams. You DESERVE this because you EARNED it. Keep faith in that.
- Balance is good. Take that study break. You’ll feel better. Take that phone call from your mom. You’ll need it more than you know at the moment (comforting words from her are just what you need, trust me.) Go out with your friends after that test. You need a little break. Balance is always good. Burn out is a very real thing. Do not waste time; be wise about it. You can do things efficiently. Remember that all of this means nothing if you lose what makes you, YOU in the process. Remember who you are and keep true to that.
All that being said, I now have to take my own advice and get back to studying Anatomy. Balance, folks- it’s all about balance!