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.
The point I was trying to make (with a bit of theatrical flourish) is that optometry school can be difficult. Stress levels can get high when you don’t see your family or friends from home, and it seems that from the time you wake up to the time you go back to sleep all you’re doing is studying. Days blend together, and it can feel overwhelming when it’s so difficult to learn just ONE concept–and you realize that you still have 100 pages to read before you take the exam in three days… and that you have another 150 pages of notes to go through before the next test two days later.
It is difficult. But it is doable.
If you are a prospective student, don’t let this scare you. But take this as a cue to brush up on your study habits and learn how to LEARN. Trust me, it makes a difference, and–no matter where you are in the process, whether you’re already here at ICO, hoping to be here one day, or already done with optometry school–it is never too late to learn how to learn. It is a meta-skill with many applications.
(Feel free to leave a question in the comments section and I’ll see if I can help.)
When you are here, you might feel pressured to study day in and day out. You’ll end up seeing your notes more than any other sight one way or another, but I beg you: Take some time to be yourself.
When you feel pressed for time, I guarantee that you will want to stop doing things those time consuming things that you love, whether it be drawing, working out, writing (in my case), making music, exploring–whatever your thing is.
Make sure you do those things in the tiny amount of time you have free, at least once in a while.
You are an optometry student and you have a responsibility to your studies, but don’t forget that you are you, too. If you don’t take care of yourself, no one will.
You will forget why you are here at times. You’ll have more things to worry about than you can count, and your aspirations to be the kind of optometrist that you want to be will get sidelined. So take a moment and inspire and motivate yourself. Keep the goal in mind.
And go out.
Seriously, go out when you have the chance. You’ll get sick of being in the same two buildings everyday, especially if you don’t have a car and you live in the RC. It doesn’t matter where you go. Just go.