Life as a third year isn’t so bad right now. We had our first pediatrics lab with Dr. Allison, and since the majority of the class is made up of females, there was a huge estrogen-driven chorus of ”aww” every few minutes. We watched videos of how to perform eye exams for infants, toddlers and pre-school children. Each lab, ICO faculty members volunteer to bring their young children to be our practice patients. You’d imagine that these kids would feel shy, or be intimidated by the vast number of students that take turns to talk to them, and make them focus on things to practice our techniques. You might think that that some would cry, or throw tantrums, but none of that happened. For my lab, Dr. Polanekbrought in her son Paxton and her daughter Payton.Read More
Just when I finally got accustomed to telling everyone I’m in my second year at ICO, I am *gasp* now in my third year.
…is when your day begins at 8 a.m.
That’s right. Whereas during first and second years we had exams early in the morning, now we’ve got early-morning classes. You would think that since our lectures are all recorded, we can watch the early lecture later, right? Sorry to break it to you, fellow night owls, but for one class, attendance is mandatory, and for the other, answering questions in class comprises four percent of our grade. So if you’re going to study, better get it done during the day time. And if you’re not used to it, the security office always has coffee!
…is when we start learning about contact lenses!
First quarter of third year is probably the scariest, most exciting, rewarding experience at ICO. We’ve finished all the basics–optics, physiology, anatomy, etc.–and now we can move onto everything we’ve anticipated doing as an optometrist: retina/ocular disease, contact lenses, etc. According to our contact lens professor, Dr. Jurkus, by the end of the quarter in August, we’ll have learned everything we need to know to fit the average patient with contacts (I know, it sounds pretty exciting to me too!). I’ve worn contacts since I was in high school, and now I can finally learn everything about the little pieces of plastic I put on my eyes.
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.
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.
So if you’re a smarty pants and you worked really hard to get good grades, you are invited to join the Beta Sigma Kappa Honor Society. We pay for membership, but we get it all back in the form of recognition and delicious food!
To be invited to join BSK, you need a 3.5 GPA after you complete first year, and to maintain a slightly lower GPA requirement in subsequent years at ICO. It’s a club to promote academic excellence, and it’s great to have on your resume when you’re finally ready to look for a job post-graduation. Another major bonus is that you get cords at graduation and there’s an annual banquet at a fancy restaurant.
This year, we went out for lunch at Wildfire.Read More
It’s awesome visiting a private practice, because while I’m certain that ICO will train me to eventually become a competent optometrist, the business side of running a successful optometry practice is something that I don’t believe can fully be taught in any institution. In speaking to different optometrists who own a practice, almost all of them tell me, “Optometry is easy, but business management isn’t.” Before I came to ICO, I worked at an optometry office, and I thought I learned all I needed to know about how to run one. But then I found out there are different kinds of practices that focus on different things, with varying reasons for their success. I’m very interested in vision therapy, so I was fortunate to be able to visit a practice that specializes in that.
Tip: If you dream of opening a practice one day, you’ll want to visit some existing ones before you open your own. You’ll learn a lot at ICO, but there are things that you can only learn outside the classroom. Plus, you’ll be sitting in the same room all year, so field trips are a nice change of learning environment. It’s worth your while, I promise.
Dr. Neil Margolis, an ICO alum, was kind enough to host members of ICO’s College of Optometrists in Vision Development club and Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association student group at his suburban practice. He blocked off an entire afternoon to teach us things we might never learn in our normal optometric academic curriculum. His practice specializes in working with patients that have visual-spatial processing, tracking, or other binocular vision issues that may negatively affect academic learning and visual attention. Children compose the biggest portion of his practice, and from this visit, I could really sense that he cares about them.
After giving us an office tour, Dr. Margolis discussed how he came to build such a successful practice, imparted clinical pearls of wisdom and printed out lots of reading material for us.Read More