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and now presenting…THIRD YEAR.

Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Blogs

Suddenly… I was a third year. blog1

I swear I just wrote to you all about living in Chicago and nervously starting my first year of school. However, suddenly, I look around and the hallways look a little more familiar and clinic time is on the upward spiral as I shift into my third year of optometry school.

Second year proved to be a whirlwind in itself, filled most notably with practicals testing our clinical skills. These included everything from palpating for lymph nodes to assessing the most peripheral parts of the back of the eye. It is no joke that academics are of the utmost importance here, but I personally take greater comfort in knowing that ICO puts a much higher precedence on our clinical knowledge, application, and efficiency. After all, what will I be after school but… an optometrist? I would like to be a competent one, and I can feel that ICO is slowly making the Dr. Rina Sheth, O.D. that I had always planned to be. Of course right now, in the midst of it, it has been feeling like school will never end, but then suddenly… here I am, seeing patients by myself.

So now, I’m at the penultimate step in optometry school, third year. Filled with three clinic shifts, two at the Illinois Eye Institute and one at CPS (Chicago Public Schools), I’m finding that much more of my time isn’t sitting behind a desk – although don’t get me wrong, there is still much studying to do and much knowledge to absorb. I am frantically moving in between said clinic shifts and labs and class. This differs greatly from second year, where much of my time was in lab practicing skills to be one day hopefully apply in clinic. I’m beginning to feel like this is the moment that I had been waiting for: having enough knowledge where I can begin to see an entire educational career culminate into an actual career. I hope to solidify that knowledge this year.

IMG_3278Best part so far about third year: the world of contacts. I’ve been wearing contact lenses since I was a young teenager, as I was stubborn to adorn a foreign plastic object upon my face. Finally, we get to learn and understand appropriate contact lens selection and care for patients and ourselves. I now know why I wear an Acuvue One-Day Moist. Wouldn’t you be curious to learn why your contact lens was picked for you?

Well, I write this blog in the very first week of my third year. I know it will get harder. There will be many days where I will be tired from the hustle and bustle of summer quarter here at ICO (especially taking the most demanding class in our academic career, Retina.) If there is one thing that is becoming more evident to me, day in and day out, it is that I have the makings of an optometrist in the sooner-than-I-think future.

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Falling Forward at ICO

Falling Forward at ICO

Posted by on Dec 8, 2014 in Blogs

After four quarters at ICO, I find myself becoming an ever-more confident optometry student, knowing not only my way around, but also exactly where I am going.

Processed with VSCOcamFollowing the rigor of first year, second year in comparison has me a bit more at ease–but that doesn’t mean that the school days aren’t still busy. However, it’s a different kind of busy. Every day I feel more and more like a clinician, more and more interested in the profession that I have chosen–simply for the fact that now I’m really in the “application” part of the curriculum. The things I hear in class so easily translate to what I see in clinic, and it probes me further to keep motivation high.

School days are not only filled by academics, but also extracurriculars. I serve as president of ICO’s National Optometric Student Association chapter, and the club is in full swing with our endeavors to increase membership and regularly provide healthcare to underserved populations in Chicagoland. This weekend was a perfect example the kind of activities NOSA engages in: On Friday, we led an outing to Chicago’s annual Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza (just a short bus ride away from campus); on Saturday, we organized a vision screening at the Family Health Network‘s Keep a Child Warm coat distribution event.

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Let’s Go Round Again

Posted by on Aug 25, 2014 in Blogs


And so another year at ICO begins. This time, however, I have a new outlook as a second year.

First years are in a frenzy, second years are rejoicing in their reunion after a long, well-deserved summer break, third years are just busy, and fourth years are in the midst of externship rotations. The first weeks at ICO are unlike anything else–a whirlwind to some and a huge awaiting obstacle to others. But, there is still excitement in the air.

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I was part of the ICO orientation team this year. Working closely with 20 of my classmates reminded me of those first day jitters, and in feeling so, I wanted to be there and help those 164 brand new faces. Orientation at ICO is unparalleled in the depths that we go to not only welcome our new colleagues, but also make the transition to professional school as smooth as humanly possible. We jam packed four long days with information, activities, seminars, speakers, Chicago delights (delicious pizza), and most importantly new friends. Nothing was left to chance. We found it not only important to stress what academic and student life at ICO is like, but also what a Chicago lifestyle was like. What pray tell, does that entail? Our first years set sail on an architecture tour in the Chicago River sightseeing everything from the magnificent Navy Pier to the captivating Chicago skyline. Our orientation team also pioneered the way to several different cuisines–from succulent Italian to authentic Greek–in neighborhoods across the city. Truth be told, this is one of the best things about Chicago – that is, the pure culture that adorns each locality, and the delicious food that follows it.

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The Last Summer

The Last Summer

Posted by on Jun 23, 2014 in Blogs

Second year. That’s right, ladies and gents, the class of 2017 officially finished their first year at ICO about a month ago. Which, after nine months of rigorous coursework, only means one thing: summer!

It’s our last summer without classes, and my classmates are scattered all over the place–some are in the Caribbean on mission trips, some are in their hometowns, some are staying in Chicago.

I myself am staying in Chicagoland and have perhaps taken on one too many activities. I’m working in the admissions office three or four times a week and taking shifts at a Lenscrafters in the suburbs when I can. And, of course, I’d be a fool not to explore the city’s wide variety of downtime activities. I’m trying out lots of restaurants and rooftop bars, which are great for enjoying a margarita or cold beer with friends in the good weather. It’s days and nights like these that make up ten-fold for this past harsh winter (multiple polar vortices and all). Still on my summer to-do list is sampling what’s reputed to be the best tiramisu in town at Sapori Trattoria and attending Jazzin’ at the Shedd. Obviously we’re not exactly well-paid as students and cutting costs is great, so I’ve been making use of Groupon and LivingSocial deals to be able to enjoy new experiences at discounted rates of 50 percent or more. I highly recommend it.

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Avoiding the First Year 15

Avoiding the First Year 15

Posted by on Mar 18, 2014 in Blogs

When you start your undergrad career, you probably hear about the infamous “freshman 15” that may slowly start to creep up on you as the late-night pizza and bottle or five of beer become a multiple-times-a-week thing rather than the occasional indulgence. I admit, to my dismay, that I succumbed to those additional 15 lbs. of disgusting, unsolicited fat. After I lost all of it and then some following graduation, I promised myself that upon starting at ICO, I would never again fall victim to such unwanted poundage.

However, when the weeks begin to fill with 26 hours worth of class, two-to-three 8 a.m. exams and not nearly enough sleep, so begin those terrible habits you’d just gotten in check: those late Jimmy John’s orders, infinite calorie-laden coffee drinks and cookie binges that you justify with, “Hey, I deserve it… I have an exam tomorrow!” Right. We’ve all been there.

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