“What did you study and how did you prepare to apply?”
Across the roundtable from me sat a second year college student–wide-eyed, curious and ambitious. She was considering applying to healthcare professional schools and was seeking my advice. In response to her question, I told her and everyone listening in that I majored in biological sciences and took classes to fulfill my prerequisites that included biology, chemistry, calculus and so on. In addition to the required courses, I took other classes that interested me like theatre and virology. She followed up by asking about the clubs I participated in and other commitments I had while in undergrad. I was in Mission for Vision, a club focused on eye care. Outside of school, I worked in a corporate eye care center and later in a private practice to further immerse myself within the field.
After answering the student’s questions, I was met by the nods of eight others seated with us at the large dining table where we shared lunch. We were all taking part in a program last month called Taking the Next Step, an annual event hosted by my alma mater, the University of Chicago. During the event, alums of the university like myself interact with second and third year students and talk about life after graduation–what we’re doing now and how we got there. Students at the event attend two sessions: a formal lunch where they share a table with one or two alumni, and a group panel where they can ask established professionals about their career paths.
Last week on Wednesday, I headed to Millennium Park after morning classes to attend a runway show at Fashion Focus Chicago, the Windy City’s very own fashion week. Fashion Focus kicked off Oct. 15 and ran through last Sunday, Oct. 20.
The creative mind behind the show I attended is Chicago-based designer Julius LaCour, Jr., who creates under the label Maison De LaCour. His spring/summer 2014 collection, “The Stars Are Out Tonight,” was designed to evoke the joie de vivre of Studio 54 in the 1970s and was anchored by Moroccan influences. At the show I met up with my friend Sean Krista of tour outfit Shop Around Chicago, and together we enjoyed a gorgeous presentation filled with flowing gowns and charming frocks, not to mention colorful, daring menswear.
Last month I got an email about a race hosted by Women’s Health magazine called Run10 Feed10, an annual run to fight hunger in the U.S. I shared the details with my friend Athkar; both of us love working out and being involved in our community. So even though we only had a few weeks to train, we decided to run our first 10K together.
The morning of the race, Oct. 6, it was pouring cats and dogs. After boarding my bus, I made my way north to Lincoln Park and was happy to see clearer skies and a camp of tents with crowds of women interspersed with a few men. Athkar and I checked in and we received our race bibs. As I took that piece of paper with my number printed in large type, a chill of excitement went down my spine–the day had finally come!
Second year has been great thus far. Instead of the typical three exams we faced each week during first year, we now usually only have two per week. Sometimes we have just one! Such was the case last week, when our only exam was Pharmacology, on Friday. I was extra excited to finish this exam because Pharmacology is our trickiest class and an exciting weekend awaited. Nothing spells fun like a weekend away from school with friends. Even if it is school-related.
Each year, the Illinois Optometric Association hosts a convention for ODs and students to meet, mingle, network and learn. This year, the convention was held at the Westin in Itasca, a western suburb of Chicago. ICO students are encouraged to go, and we’re even able to stay at the hotel for free. I passed up this opportunity first year, but several of my peers and I decided to attend this time around. Friday evening, we made the drive to Itasca from campus in under an hour, talking about of everything except school and stoping at Steak ‘n Shake for dinner. Once we arrived at the hotel, we checked out the IOA’s Hospitality Suite. Drinks were served and guests tried their vocals at karaoke. We mingled with our classmates and others, and clapped when a group of our peers braved the crowd to sing Thrift Opt.