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Fortune Cookies Know Best

Posted by on Jul 16, 2015 in Blogs

image1 (4)image1 (5)Morning Coffee

This morning for breakfast I had a rather hefty cup of espresso with exactly one sugar cube and two splashes of skim milk; typically it’s only one splash but I was extremely tired and my hand slipped. To accompany this brain booster, I had a fortune cookie from last week’s takeout. I’m glad I saved it instead of devouring it post egg drop soup. I always knew these crisp, golden treats had an eerie way of predicting the future (after all, they are fortune cookies) but this morning made me a true believer.

It read: “You are soon going to change your present line of work”

This got me thinking about how true this statement really is. In exactly two weeks I’ll be leaving my job as a LensCrafters technician and I’ll be starting my transition into becoming an ICO optometrist. Soon, I’ll be stepping onto campus and calling the RC my home. In between sips of coffee I let that sink in.

Although I’ll still be in the eye care profession, I consider my line of work to be changing drastically. I am going to become someone that others look up to. I am going to have the power to help people, maybe even change their lives. Wow, what a cool thing to think about. I hear from students and faculty that the ICO process gives you a complete mind, body, and spirit makeover to shape you into a successful optometrist… kind of like what a fortune cookie must go through in the manufacturing process, right?

Please enjoy the following cheesy analogy:

Per YouTube, fortune cookies start out as a bag of sugar, flour, and other extraneous ingredients that are thrown into a huge vat for mixing. I’d like to think that I have all the necessary “ingredients” to become an optometrist, and the ICO curriculum is the mixing vessel that is prepping me to become a professional clinician. As first year progresses, I imagine as students we will become more robust versions of ourselves and will be ready for the next step: the oven. Or, if you prefer, we can call this second year. Here, we will come out steaming hot from first year and be ready to take form as a more experienced student. We are no longer a one dimensional hotcake, but we have some grooves and indentations and are eager to be folded into a pretty little cookie… errr, I mean optometrist.

During the fortune cookie manufacturing process, one batch of cookies can have as many as 5,000 different fortunes in their lot. I think as ICO students we will be no different; I anticipate our education here to encourage our diversity and embrace our range of purposes for wanting to pursue an education in optometry. Once ICO helps fold and mold us into the right shape, we will be neatly packaged, boxed up, and shipped out, excited to become someone else’s morning espresso accompaniment. Or, if you want to be all technical about it, excited to make an impression on someone else’s life.

I’d be lying if I said this little cookie today didn’t cause me to think about my future and consider the metamorphosis I’ll soon undergo. I’m feeling pretty fortunate to be where I’m at in life. Hey, maybe I should take my lucky numbers and go play the lottery 😉

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Neighbors to the North

Posted by on Jul 9, 2015 in Blogs

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One of the great things about going to school at the Illinois College of Optometry is that you meet people from a variety of places. From the East to the West coast, from the South to the very coldest North, students are from everywhere- including Canada.

There are a few differences between The United States and Canada. While visiting my boyfriend (a fellow student) in Windsor, we started a list of things that are different between our two countries:

1. Alcohol, but mostly beer. Apparently, American beer is too light and watered down. Americans also like their IPAs and craft brews, which some Canadians do not like. Also, alcohol is cheaper in the States. A case of Budweiser was $40 in Windsor this summer!

2. Official Languages. My boyfriend’s first language was French, and then he learned English; both are official languages of Canada. While I speak English and Spanish, the States do not have an official language. However, Spanish is much more common than French in most places.

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3. Guns. I actually noticed Canadian reactions to guns when my roommate saw an officer in a restaurant still wearing his gun. Growing up in the States, we get used to the idea of guns way too easily.

4. Fast Food. First off, fast food is cheaper in the States than in Canada, so Canadians, eat your hearts out! However, we do not have “fries supreme” in the States. This is a travesty, because I just had them for the first time this summer and I already miss them (to any Canadians, please bring some back for me.)

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5. Toque. A toque is what Americans call a winter hat. Do not make the mistake of calling it a beanie because beanies are those knit hats that are baggy in the back. According to Danny, a beanie is a subgroup of a toque.

6. Volleyball. Volleyball is a boys’ sport in Canada. Obviously we had co-ed volleyball at my University, but it was not normal to have a grade school/high school boys’ volleyball team. Volleyball in Minnesota was mostly a girls’ sport. The main point of number 6 is, if you want to make an intramural volleyball team at ICO, make sure you get some Canadian men on the team.

7. Take/Write an Exam. In Canada you say “write an exam,” whereas in the States you say “take an exam.” There have been many debates over these two at the Cafeteria table, but neither side has won. How can you “write an exam” when it’s all multiple choice? However, we do pick up our exams and then “take the exam(s)” into the lecture halls…

These examples are not all the funny things you will hear fellow students say, but they give you an idea. At ICO, you are surrounded by different cultures and you should try to absorb it all. Even the differences between two states are prominent! For example, ask a Minnesotan to say “bag” (I’ve been told we say it funny.) You might even expand your vocabulary by hearing new words at the bubbler (a.k.a. water-fountain.)

 

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Tick Tock

Posted by on Jul 7, 2015 in Blogs

Summer time in Chicago always seems to move quickly (time becomes less noticeable when every second outside doesn’t hurt your face.) This year is no exception. Friends, family, work, and prep for school have been pulling me in all sorts of directions lately, but I have no complaints; my life is about to dramatically change!

They say you don’t value what you have until it’s not there anymore. Time- precious, lovely, lazy, free time is what I am attempting to cherish as the clock rages forward to the beginning of first year. A year ago, binge-watching Netflix would have caused me some severe guilt and a violent need to re-evaluate my life, but for now, I just stretch and happily click forward to the next episode. I will most definitely miss this kind of care-free luxury once school starts, but I would not trade anything in this world for the opportunity that lies ahead.

When I’m not being shamelessly lazy, you can usually find me working. I have been at LensCrafters for the past several years. Through this experience, I’ve gotten to meet a wide range of ICO alumni. I am so happy to say that I have never met a doctor, young or old, who did not like ICO. When asking for advice on how to navigate through my studies, the nature of the responses vary. “Make sure to watch your diet and make time to exercise! It’s easy to eat unhealthy when you’re stressed” is probably the one that stuck with me the most (future friends-PLEASE tell me if I get fat, I really need to know.) Some of my other favorites include, “Get help right away if you get behind,” and “Buy pepper spray.” Throughout all of my conversations with these lovely ODs, the take-home message always stays consistent: the next four years are bound to be some of the most influential and transformative of my life.

A lot of my friends have been asking me how I feel about starting school. They know that eye care is my passion, and that I have been wanting to pursue optometry for a while. It’s hard to put my emotions into words, so forgive me for using this cliche analogy. Sitting on the cusp of an adventure of a lifetime feels a lot like standing in line for a giant roller coaster. I am excited, yet slightly terrified. Still, it is usually when this feeling creeps up that I know that I am moving in the right direction. A little healthy fear can do a lot to propel you forward. I, for one, am ready.

For now, I find myself day dreaming about what life in the RC will be like, and just how awesome it will feel to be able to call myself an official ICO student come August 17th. In the meantime, as I keep checking my watch, I plan on cherishing these moments that I have by hanging out with loved ones, watching House of Cards, reading some books, and enjoying all that the warm summer months have to offer… along with waiting in line for an actual roller coaster or two!

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Let Freedom Ring (or BOOM… whatever you prefer)

Posted by on Jul 3, 2015 in Blogs

American Flag Sunnies

Ahhhh, it’s summertime. I’ve got beaches on the brain… which is ironic, since my bikini fits a little tighter than last year. This is, of course, due to the inevitable 5 pounds I’ve gained during all of my spontaneous ice cream trips: “Would you like one scoop or two?” “Ummmm is that even a question?”

Summer also brings morning coffee on the porch, fun concerts, food truck festivals (there’s another 5 pounds,) and of course, one of my favorite holidays. Maybe I love the 4th of July so much because I get to raid my closet for all things flag related and come up with the most obnoxious but very patriotic outfit. Maybe it’s because I get to revert to childhood a bit and paint my nails whatever combination of red, white, and blue I please. Or maybe it’s because I enjoy hearing the mighty BOOM of the fireworks at Navy Pier as their glitter falls from the sky. Or just maybe it’s because I get a kick out of watching my cat creep around the living room with her tail bushier than Mr. Big’s eyebrows. She “loves” the BOOM of the fireworks, too.

So naturally, as I write this, I’m refreshing my weather app every 2 minutes to make sure this Saturday is going to be free from the grips of a rain shower. Hopefully, I didn’t just jinx it!

…And while I’ve still got beaches on the brain, I haven’t forgotten the real reason we celebrate the 4th of July. Around this time, I go through the lists of reasons I’m thankful for my freedom. This year, I get to add a new freedom to the list: the freedom to not only attend optometry school, but the freedom to choose where I want to attend. It seems surreal that this is my last summer before I start this amazing journey with, from what I’ve seen so far, some pretty rad peers.

This holiday has caused me to reflect and dig deep on why I chose ICO in the first place. In the jumble of my thoughts, there is a recurring theme. ICO is offering me the freedom to express myself, the freedom to be a little quirky, the freedom to explore my creative outlets while getting a science-based education, and the freedom to make decisions about my future. I’d be lying if I said that the most exciting thing about the summer of 2015 is Lollapalooza. While it’s a very close second, I think the ride of preparing for ICO takes the cake (and ice cream).

Now, please excuse me while I take a trip to my closet; I still can’t decide between the flag-printed shorts or the red, white, and blue dress.

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