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A Promise to Myself

Posted by on Sep 25, 2015 in Blogs

I’m the kind of person who likes to have a little bit of everything in his life. Variety is necessary for me to stay sane. I tend to get restless when I’m missing some aspect of my life, but then again, I also get bored when there’s too much of something in my life.

So for second year, I promised myself that I would find my balance and do everything I wanted to do to the best of my ability. I was going to study harder, work harder, go out with my classmates and party harder, explore the depths of my mind and psyche through deep introspection, and attain levels of relaxation rivaling those of a boulder in a rock garden. I can say with confidence that I’ve fulfilled the first half of that promise (study, work, and partying).

Having survived first year, I have a pretty good handle on studying now. It’s an art form. You have to set the “mood.” Yes, you could just jump into it, but where’s the fun in that? My process is simple: set up your work space, make distractions invisible, be comfortable, follow a study method, and take breaks. When you do that, the studying comes a little more easily.

I’ve taken a work-study position as a tutor. It was necessary to offset at least some of my spending. I also get to work on my communication skills. Having to explain concepts to students and adapt to their way of learning is giving me some insight into how I express ideas. Tutoring also helps me brush up on first year material, which is awesome because it’s like I’m getting paid to study for boards.

And now: partying. I’ve gone out more in the first month of second year than I did for all of first year. I’ve had a blast with my class mates and increased my tolerance for alcohol (I’m not sure if that’s good or bad). So yeah. It has been fun.

It hasn’t all been about good vibes, productivity and fun though.

I still feels like I’m on the grind. First year felt like running 20 miles along a manicured path every day. This year feels like going for a 10 mile run on the same path, only now, it has been severely neglected. I’m still spending a significant amount of my time at school or studying – but that is what I signed up for when I applied to ICO. I shouldn’t be complaining. It just gets repetitive. It’s too much of the same thing for me.

The other problem is that my promise has been fulfilled at the expense of sleep, nutrition… physical and mental exhaustion. There isn’t enough time in a day to do everything I want to do.

Anything done well takes a significant amount of time. It seems impossible to fit all of my interests into my daily life (and trust me, there’s a lot.)

Over the past week or two I’ve been wrestling with the realization that I’ve expected too much of myself. I’m starting to find my footing; I need to be more realistic if I want to survive second year. I’ve imposed limits on some of the things I do so that I have more time for my priorities and I’m using my calendar to help manage my time.

I’ve also been catching up on sleep, which is nice.

My promise has been tweaked a bit. The emphasis is no longer on work hard, play hard. I need to be realistic after all.

I’m kind of partied out for a while, so my focus now is on “quiet social engagements.” School has always been a priority, but I need to be more organized when it comes to my work and studies. I’ve cut down a bit on work-study hours now that tests have started. I need to prioritize my health and rest – I’m thinking of no-work Sundays. And if at all possible, I would like to read and explore my thoughts in my spare time. That would probably be on Sundays. The rest of my interests will be pursued on a how-I-feel-in-the-moment basis.

So yea. What have you promised yourself?

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Breathe and Bust out those A’s!

Posted by on Sep 23, 2015 in Blogs

Although I am only about 1 month into my optometry career, it has become pretty clear that obtaining my goal of becoming an eye doctor will be a lot of hard work! Take this week for example: we have 3 exams, a lab practical, and two quizzes. Although there is a lot to do, it isn’t too bad because I am still doing what I love.

The thing is, even though I enjoy what I am doing, it can still be hard not to get stressed out and overwhelmed. Have no fear though- I have some fun tips to help decrease that built up anxiety. My not-so-secret secret- exercise.


Exercise has always been a way for me to relieve some stress and it is a path I highly recommend. Along with this, I also recommend joining group fitness classes if you have the opportunity. Now I may be a little biased (I am a group fitness instructor) but I find that having an instructor present to push you and motivate you is the best part about group fitness. …Well, that and the fun music! Here at ICO we have a number of group fitness classes to choose from ranging from yoga to kickboxing. Whether you want to kick your worries away or relax in child’s pose there are plenty of choices for you.











I am currently teaching spinning and kickboxing and I love it. This is a great way for some of my classmates and I to take an hour break from studying and blow off some steam. Some classes are in the morning and others are taught in the afternoon (for those who aren’t really early birds.) Overall, you can find a schedule online or at the school stating the classes for the month. Again, it is by far my favorite way to blow of some steam and get ready to bust out those A’s. Come join!


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Read the Last Page First

Read the Last Page First

Posted by on Sep 16, 2015 in Blogs

You’ve been told never to read the last page first. It ruins the book, of course. Instead of wondering if Harry Potter defeats Voldemort as you read every suspenseful word, or having doubts as to whether Frodo is able to destroy the ring, you already know. You ruined the entire book by succumbing to your curiosity.

Well folks, I let the curiosity get the best of me, too. So I’m warning you: this post is going to be chock full of spoiler alerts.

SPOILER ALERT: In 3 years and some odd months, I’m going to become an optometrist. In the midst of studying for three exams this week (turns out that it’s just a warm up for next week,) I started losing sight of the bigger picture. It’s easy to forget that you’re not a coffee guzzling robot and that you actually have a purpose in life; this is the beginning, but there is, indeed, an end.

SPOILER ALERT: I will make it out on the other side. The last time I doubted this truth was about 20 minutes ago. I worried I would have to drag my bed to class with me today because there was no physical way I was able to leave the covers. I was wrong. I was able to not only leave the covers, but open my notes to do some last minute studying (err, cramming) before our exam.

SPOILER ALERT: My life will not end if I make a mistake. Apparently, I’m human and mistakes happen. I might answer #11 incorrectly on the Anatomy exam (even though I know the answer,) or I might stay up too late the night before a test and pay for it the next morning as I’m pep talking my extraocular muscles to keep my eyes open. I might even repeat a mistake I vowed never to repeat… but guess what? Life continues.

SPOILER ALERT: Optometry school is a TON of work, but I read the last page. It turns out that I’m already making some of the best memories I’ll ever have. Instead of only referring to optometry school as a lot of work, the word “fun” will also be in that sentence. Apparently, I’ve already met some lifelong friends, and apparently, I will miss being here once I graduate.

I’ve never been more excited to read the last page first as I am now. This is the beginning of the rest of my life. While I know it’s going to be a wild ride, and I know there will be a lot of 90 degree drops and ambushing loop-d-loops, I’ll have that sweet ending to look forward to in: “Celina Goes to Optometry School.”



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ICO Blog Appreciation

ICO Blog Appreciation

Posted by on Sep 15, 2015 in Blogs

I went through my fair share of looking up which potential optometry schools I wanted to apply to. I have to mention how much the ICO blog played a role in my choice.

Yes, we all read the booklets and brochures that ICO mails us, and we listen to the admissions recruiters speak to us, but the entire experience wouldn’t be complete without the ICO blog. The ICO blog features many students from each academic year expressing their stories and thoughts to the public. Their words are pretty much golden.

The bloggers live and breathe ICO every single day. They are the ones who either had to move many states or a country away to continue their education here. They had to make sacrifices from their families and friends to focus more on their schoolwork and well-being. When you see it all come together in a single blog post, you can see how being at ICO has affected the individual and how ICO does a very great job at piecing you together to become an optometrist. Even being in the city of Chicago has had a different effect on students.

I am and will always be inspired by the upperclassmen and optometrists whom have graduated before me. Mind you, I probably read your posts a thousand times before I entered the doors of ICO! I’m even in awe of the blog posts of my own classmates.

There are a lot of great things we have to say about ICO, and this blog does a great job at helping us express it all. Even though we spend most of our time in the lecture halls or studying in the library, there is something different about ICO that allows us to be proud and mindful of the institution that we chose; you can clearly learn why through all the blog posts we have here. We could have been at any optometry school, but we all chose ICO.

We hope to share that with you on this blog.

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