As an entering “class of 2017″ student, this summer will serve as a entryway down a rabbit hole full of adventure and new things and people. I’ve been trying to contain my excitement so as not to irritate anyone who has already heard me express it more than once. Although it seems like forever away, I know August will sneak up on me very quickly–so I’m making every effort to enjoy the rest of the time I have before I delve into my studies full steam ahead. I’m very excited about coming to ICO and I’m really looking forward to learning the hands-on practical skills and applying them to my friends, family and anyone with enough patience to sit for me while I practice on them. I have already warned some that they can expect to have retinoscopy done while I am back for Christmas holidays!
I have been spending these last couple months preparing myself for this undertaking and only slowly packing things as they come to mind. In addition to working full-time, I will be volunteering at this year’s Fringe Festival, and KidsFest. I have also been spending lots of time on my hobbies, which include woodworking, painting, and riding my brand new bicycle. I am hoping the bicycle riding will go well, as I plan to sell my car to free up the money for school, and use my bicycle for commutes when I am back at home. I have been spending many evenings sitting outside by the koi pond in my backyard just watching the fish and hoping another bug will fly into it so I can watch the fish fight over it. Despite my greatest efforts to make as much money as possible to save for school, I do have a week booked off near the end of July to get my last few appointments in, have lunch with friends and crack down on the packing.
Working this past year in the optical dispensary has provided me with great skills for working with patients, providing advice regarding frame and lens choices, and discussing the benefits and trade-offs of each and how they affect the wearer. Occasionally the doctors will bring me in to their exam rooms to show me a unique situation or eye condition under the slit lamp. So far, I have been able to observe a conjunctival laceration, macular hemorrhage and the results of “intact” refractive surgery. All are very interesting to me and I was disappointed to find out that we don’t get to use the slit lamp until second year.
Luckily, I happen to work with a current second year student from ICO, who shares my excitement and is willing to answer any of my questions which I just can’t wait to get the answers to. Some advice from her for living in the RC includes bringing the following “must have” items.
-power bar (especially when we will need to charge our equipment in second quarter)
-coloured pencil crayons (need LOTS of colours for anatomy)
I’ve been scoping out garage sales and asking around for these items hoping to pick them up at a low cost. I will also be bringing my Keurig coffee maker and K-Cups for the room–a must have, if I am to stay up past my bedtime– and a space heater. We’re also responsible for bringing our own sheets–must be extra long twin size (you can get these at Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Sears and Macy’s to name a few retailers where I found them online). I’m really looking forward to getting my room assignment and connecting with my roommates on Facebook.
In terms of school supplies, in addition to my laptop, I will be bringing the usual paper, pens, Sharpies (for labs), calculator (TI-30X which is allowable for exams at ICO), and coloured pens for outlining notes as per advice from my second year mentor.
Before I leave my hometown behind, there are a few things to wrap up first. As a student from Manitoba, I’m required to submit a couple of documents in order to ensure that I have continued coverage while I am outside the country. The insurance is very limited, and it is best to have an additional coverage plan in place (quotes I got for the additional coverage range from $500-$800 for the nine-month term). I have to switch my current phone plan onto pay as you go–luckily my contract has been over for some time so I won’t have to carry two plans throughout the year.
I will be driving the 1,400-km. trek from Winnipeg and have allotted six days for the trip, with a few stops to break up the drive; the Mall of America is one stop on the agenda. Once we arrive in Chicago, my mom and I plan to stay downtown for the few nights we have left and spend some time exploring the city and seeing some attractions. On move-in day, I plan to arrive early at my new home to settle in, and meet the new roommates and classmates who will become my family for the next four years.
Until then, I’ll try not to rush the time away, and just enjoy the summer. See you in August!