Alas. I made it through the first quarter of optometry school, surviving 10 weeks of rigorous classes, 30 intensive exams, five nerve-wracking practicals, and lastly, six intensive cumulative finals. However, what I can’t quantify is all of the wonderful memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
A few weeks ago we had a break between fall and winter quarters, and after the hustle and bustle of school, it was nice to have a nice seven-day frolic to unwind and de-stress from the first year craziness. How did I spend my time? First thing: sleep. Second thing: TV and all of the delicious and comforting foods that I love, courtesy of my mom. I may or may not have gained five lbs. from being at home, but I can’t tell you how accomplished I felt after marking that last answer on our last final. That final happened to be biochemistry (a WHOPPING 100 questions!). Now, biochemistry in general is no walk in the park, but pair that with utter sleep-deprivation…that is no easy feat.
Many of my classmates stayed here over the break and finally took the time to really explore Chicago (the city I’ve loved for now 23 years) and if you ever get the chance, I can say with 150 percent confidence that you will not be disappointed. There’s nothing like being on top of the John Hancock Center with its 360-degree views, exploring scientific wonder at the Museum of Science and Industry, or indulging in one of the signature beverages at Hot Chocolate on a chilly fall day. Being in Chicago, you never know where the day will take you.
Upon returning from break, we found ourselves in QUARTER TWO. There was a different attitude about the class of 2017 as 8 a.m. on Monday arrived. We were calm. We were collected. We were experienced. Not knowing what was to come first quarter was half the battle, and I felt a sense of pride, like, “Hey, we really accomplished something and are well on our way to that earning OD behind our names.” It’s only been two weeks and already so much has happened. Per ICO tradition, all of the classes go to Joe’s Bar on Weed Street every first Tuesday of the quarter for a fun night of intermingling, laughing, and the ever-popular $2 pitchers (a rare commodity in Chicago). It was the perfect way to begin the quarter before it gets…well, intense.
Although we had class that next morning, with slight headaches from the night before, our class was brimming with excitement as our diagnostic sets and other equipment had finally arrived in their pretty, shiny boxes. I think this was one of those milestones for that every endeavoring optometrist waits for.
This year is moving faster than I can type these words, but one thing is clear (or I’ll make clear, once I learn how to refract)…the best is yet to come!