As I continue on my journey to becoming an optometrist, my experience would not be complete without the people I’m surrounded by every day here at ICO. Although I haven’t met EVERYONE in my class yet, I have to say: our bonds are growing strongly at a fast pace. Usually, I’m not the one to develop friendships this quickly, but I tell myself that I will be in the same lecture hall, labs, and living area as my classmates for 3 years and 9 months. Why not develop these friendships now?
Thanks to the students who never allowed the class to starve by telling us when there was free food in the RC kitchen. Thanks to those who went the extra mile by compiling flashcards and study guides and sharing them with the entire class. You guys are the real MVP! I can walk into the RC lounge and find my classmates for help on material. I can also find friends to play board games with during our study breaks. I’m never alone to eat at the cafeteria during breakfast, lunch, or dinner. A group of us even started the hashtag #ICOFoodies on Instagram to document our foodie adventures in Chicago.
Not only will we be spending all this time going through the ICO program together, but we’ll also be future colleagues for the rest of our optometric lives. During orientation, the faculty and staff told us that, in the lecture hall, we’ll find our best friends, our bridesmaids/groomsmen, and possibly even a significant other. This made everyone laugh, but I can only imagine what the future holds for everyone.
I let my new friends know that if they ever want to visit the Dallas/Fort Worth area back in Texas, my home is open to them. I would gladly be their personal tour guide, and they say the same to me. I now have future vacation spots in Canada, Boston, California, and more! Being here at ICO gave me more Canadian friends than I have ever had in my life, which was zero to none back at home. It’s a good feeling to know that you are welcomed and accepted into their lives.
To the Class of 2019, let’s not hesitate to say hello to each other in passing or make small talk while we’re struggling to work the non-contact tonometry equipment (air puff test for all those who don’t know what that entails.) Let’s keep everyone in the loop. We should all vow to not leave anyone hanging for the next 3 years of our professional careers. We’re all in this together, and for the future more to come!