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.
Following 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.
Participating in events like Saturday’s helps reinforce the necessity for ICO students to have skills beneficial to interacting with some of the people we encounter. In response, NOSA is organizing Spanish-learning seminars to gain helpful practice and guidance to effectively communicate.
Not only this, but the ICOPro mentorship program is up and running, and I’m working closely with my colleague, Scott Seaburg, and Daphne Anderson in career development to match students with alumni mentors based on locale, specialization, or demographic. So it’s a busy time of year at ICO to say the least, but I’m truly finding my stride as the quarters go by. There is so much more to offer than just academic life here, which is what allows me to be me.