From all over the country and even from outside of the country, students in the class of 2016 might be wondering how my first quarter is going as a third year at ICO. On second thought, none of them are probably thinking about me at all. I can in fact guarantee you that they are enjoying their summer off, hanging at the beach or doing something that is not eye-related. For me, this summer is going to be much different than than the previous one. Last summer, I worked a lot, yes, but I also traveled to various places and was able to find some spare time for myself to relax.
In contrast, this was is what my weeks will look like for the remainder of the quarter:
Monday starts with an 8 a.m. contact lens lecture taught by Dr. Jurkus. When I’m done with class, I have five minutes to gather all of my equipments and run over to the clinic for my 9 a.m.-1 p.m. shift. Afterward, I have 10 minutes to eat lunch and go back to hours two and three of CL lecture. I run back to the lecture hall with a microwaved bowl of pasta, my notes wedged under my armpit. Luckily, having a bit of previous exposure to practical CL from working at a private practice helps me understand the concepts easily.
Tuesdays are even worse. We have our 8 a.m. CL lectures again. Ugh. And some Tuesdays I have dispensing shifts. I usually manage to have fun on my shift, but sometimes it’s tiring. When I get out at 1 p.m. after several busy hours of dispensing and repairing glasses for patients of all ages, I can’t help but wonder how I’ll survive four hours of classes/recitation on retina (ocular disease III). Learning about all kinds of different hemorrhages and presentation of blood in different layers of retina is fine. But it’s an overwhelming amount of information to take in, and it only scratches the surface of what we’ll need to know by the end of summer–an extremely scary thought.
Wednesday is a particularly an exciting day for me since all I have is an evening clinic shift. I try to review my retina and CL notes, but guess what? That doesn’t always happen. Mental note: While it’s important to have this kind of free time, try to avoid completely wasting it. We’ll have to see how that goes.
It’s back to being busy on Thursdays, which begin with a 9 a.m. infant/child development lab.
Fridays, it’s another 9 a.m. lab–this time CL, where we learn do stuff like fitting spherical soft contact lens on each other. There’s enough time after lab to enjoy a relaxing sit-down lunch before the lecture resumes at 1:30 p.m. We have two hours of afternoon lectures on Fridays, so we’re done at 3:30. Sometimes I head over to our neighbor, the Illinois Institute of Technology, to play sand volleyball with strangers who do not ever talk about eyes.
I won’t lie–I’m a little scared about enduring this for 10 weeks. It’s a good kind of a fear, though. During clinical orientation, ICO primary care education coordinator, Dr. Wyles, mentioned that we’ll wake up one day at the beginning of third year and experience that switch from being a student to being a clinician. She wasn’t exaggerating a bit. Instead of worrying only about studying and how much free time I have, I’m thinking more about that patients I’ll be seeing and wondering if my skills will be good enough to help them.