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End of First Year

Posted by on May 20, 2015 in Blogs | 0 comments

Things felt different when I finished that last exam.

The last exam of first year. We talked about it like it was some kind of rare and exotic animal, and in my opinion, it ended far too soon.

My step out of that exam room punctuated the end of the first chapter of my career at ICO. The next 24 hours felt like I was waking up from a dream that was desperately trying to teach me something. Now, I am reminded of the words I wrote those many months ago:

“Life is full of things that you can enjoy, and they are around you at this moment. Don’t wait until you lose what you have to treasure it.”

So right now, I’m in Chicago: home of the Bean, a skyline to die for, and great food.

I’m here, on my laptop, in a hotel room on Mother’s day, 500 miles away from home and reflecting on the last 9 months. That wasn’t the plan – but my flight got cancelled.

Before I left, I took a walk around ICO. The first time I walked the halls of the school, it was a maze to me. As I became better acquainted with it, ICO served as a backdrop for the theatre production of my life. And today, it was different. It felt like home. And I had taken it for granted – the same way I took Toronto for granted before I left in August.

When you first get here, people will tell you that “four years are going to pass by quickly.” You’ll hear it over and over again – and it’s said with good intentions. It’s meant to be comforting. People say it to remind you that the difficulties you’re facing as an optometry student will only last four years. You just have to hang in there! You can do it!!

But sometimes, people say that magic phrase to remind you to enjoy the moment. I’m beginning to appreciate that now.

This year has passed so, so quickly. It’s gone by in the blink of an eye, and it was so startling to me that I’ve already worried about having to leave my friends in a few years when I graduate.

This experience has changed me profoundly. I have made great friends and colleagues that I hope I will know for life. I’ve learned so much in the realm of academics, as well as personal relationships and life. I am grateful to have survived first year with a wonderful group of people – ICO’s class of 2018.

My biggest regret from the last 9 months is that it took me until the end of first year to realize that I should value the time we have together – as friends, colleagues, and as a class. And I am sorrier still, because I should have learned this lesson the first time around, when I left Toronto.

If I could go back to orientation week, I would have gone out with you guys a lot more. I would have made an effort to get to know you all better and earlier.

Take note, all of you first years who come after me. I know that it is difficult to realize it when you’re swamped by exams, practicals and your personal life, but this will end far faster than you expect it to. Make sure you appreciate the friends and people you have around you, because someday soon, you may not be able to spend time with them.

Man, I miss you guys already.

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Long Distance Relationships

Long Distance Relationships

Posted by on Jan 14, 2015 in Blogs | 5 comments

I’m going to write about a very touchy subject here.

I come from Toronto (in the magical land of Canada). Before I left, I spoke to my girlfriend about how hard it would be to maintain our relationship. I had heard from friends in optometry school that long distance relationships  were especially stressful in first year because of its difficulty. I wanted to make sure that we could work things out–that we would see each other as much as possible in between quarters and reunite at the end of these four years as if nothing had come between us.

When I left her the night before my plane took off, we both knew that it would be difficult. We felt we were ready to put in the necessary work to make things work.

A lot of people talk about how difficult it is to maintain a long distance relationship, but no one really talks about it in detail. A lot of long distance relationships work out–but for me, it hasn’t all gone according to plan.

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Do What You Love!

Do What You Love!

Posted by on Dec 15, 2014 in Blogs | 1 comment

I’ve just eaten dinner and was about to start studying when I decided that I would rather spend my time writing. So I’m writing this. Even though I have an Optics test tomorrow at 8 a.m.

But I’ll explain why I’ve made that choice a little later.

My classmates and I have been at ICO for nearly four months now. The bright-eyed, naive idealists–who stepped onto the grounds of ICO as a group of strangers, hoping to learn as much about the world of optometry and to help as many people as possible–have disappeared.

Today, we are battle-worn. We know each other as well as only optometry students can know each other. Our bonds are strong, having been tempered by the difficulties and tribulations of professional school. We are like lost soldiers, depending only on each other as we struggle to survive in an endless desert of notes and diagrams of eyes. We climb sand dunes to find an ever-expanding desert of deadlines and test dates. And sometimes, among the sleepless nights spent fending off coyotes, whose only goal is to whittle our GPAs closer and closer to the cut-off point of failing a course, it seems like this desert will never end.

I may be exaggerating a bit here.

It’s not that bad…

No really, it isn’t. I’ve only had one all-nighter since I’ve been here–and that was because I had insomnia.

You’ll be fine, I promise.

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Professionalism and Uncertainty

Professionalism and Uncertainty

Posted by on Nov 25, 2014 in Blogs | 1 comment

I’ve been at ICO for more than three months now. It’s been busy to say the least. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but here’s what a typical weekday is like for me. Keep in mind that this may vary slightly depending on the person:

First thing in the morning (aka waking up up 15-60 minutes before class/test)-4 p.m.

  • brush teeth
  • get dressed
  • (skip) breakfast
  • go to class
  • doze off in class
  • skip class to sleep
  • lunch
  • more class

4-6 p.m.

  • study in the library or study lounge
  • work out (sometimes)
  • dinner

8 p.m. and beyond

  • study some more OR
  • get fed up with studying and:
  • go downtown
  • OR browse the internet
  • go back to studying
  • ponder the meaning of existence
  • decompress with reading or more philosophical pondering

So yeah, that’s optom life.

But I’m not here to impress you my dedication or work ethic; everyone here learns all that stuff within the first two weeks of school. Don’t worry–if you’ve been accepted into ICO or any other professional school, you’ll make it to the end. Never doubt what you are capable of or let the pressure get to you…

I’ll probably write something about that later. This post is going in a different direction.

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Leaving Home, Being Grateful for What You Have

Leaving Home, Being Grateful for What You Have

Posted by on Jun 17, 2014 in Blogs | 0 comments

Now that my time at home is becoming shorter, I’m beginning to feel a sense of loss. I’m beginning to appreciate the things I have, things that I have always taken for granted and things that I will not have when I leave for ICO in August.

At this point in time, I live in Toronto, Ontario, in the magical land of Canada. We live in igloos and hunt polar bear. We play hockey while riding on moose and our workforce runs off of Tim Hortons coffee. We always say sorry, even when it’s not our fault.

I’m going to miss all of that.

I’ve never been a sentimental person. I guess that’s because I’m not the type of person who takes his time to appreciate life. I have always been excited to leave wherever I was and experience something new, and that’s evident now in the fact that I’ve spent a ton of time preparing for school, but absolutely none preparing to leave home.

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