House Of ICO: Act like Matadors

If for some reason you aren’t a fan of House of Cards (yet), you must have noticed the hundreds of posts, quizzes and memes take over your feeds when the new season was released about a month ago. My friends and I may or may not have binge-watched the 13 episodes over a weekend (we HAD to finish before exams started!). The show is a reference point for some pretty important life lessons (for example, never trust politicians). So, I got to thinking, how does House of Cards relate to optometry students? Can I learn anything from Frank Underwood?

“If you don’t like how the table is set, turn over the table”. Optometry school is like politics. The student body is the House, and the faculty is Congress. We work together to find the best possible solutions to problems when they arise. Now, we don’t have 160 first year students ambushing the professors, but our class representatives do a great job making sure our voices are being heard. In fact, Dr. Mothersbaugh and Dr. Ittner decided to make changes early on–within the first two weeks of spring quarter–based on the feedback we gave.

“There are two types of vice presidents: doormats and matadors. Which do you think I intend to be?” I doubt anyone at ICO is trying to be vice president of the United States, but imagine if he had said, “there are two types of optometrists: doormats and matadors.” ICO isn’t teaching us to be doormat optometrists; they expect us to come here and act like matadors. If we don’t understand something, we practice and ask questions until we get it. Besides, who wants a doormat as their eye doctor?

“Even Achilles was only as strong as his heel”. Individually, we try to work on our weaknesses. Every day you hear students saying that such and such is their worst class, and so they study ten times more for that class than for any other class. However, collectively, ICO tries to strengthen its “heel”. If someone is having trouble with topics in a class, they can ask anyone and someone will help them. No one is looking for anyone else’s Achilles heel and everyone wants people to succeed.

“Treading water is the same as drowning for people like you and me”. Like most graduate schools, graduate students are used to being the smart kids in class. Last quarter was hard for a lot of people, and I saw one too many of my friends break down at some point from the stress. They would complain that their family and friends back home didn’t understand, and that is because they don’t. For people like us, treading water is the same as drowning. But we also need to remember that treading water is not the same as drowning, it just feels like that. We need to take a step back and realize that we won’t drown.

WWCUW? Ok, you got me, this isn’t a quote from the show but it is probably one of the most important lessons from the show. What would Claire Underwood wear? We can learn to be ruthless and powerful from Frank, but Claire shows us all that a great outfit can be just as powerful and give you the extra confidence you need.

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