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How to Survive This Weather: The Essential List

How to Survive This Weather: The Essential List

Posted by on Feb 13, 2014 in Blogs | 0 comments

So most students at ICO are taking finals right now. (As a fourth year, I’m done with all that.)

I’d commiserate and cry tears of empathy, but I’m not sure I can spare the energy.

As most of you know, Chicago and much of the country is under what may be called a deep freeze.

The great lakes are frozen over. Your legs haven’t seen sunlight in months, you aren’t entirely sure what T-shirts are anymore, and you can pop your head into the freezer for a nice relief of warmth.

from ashland

If a Calgarian is complaining about the cold, you know you’re in trouble.

Here are some tips to help you stay warm in this bitter, bitter cold.

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Posted by on Feb 5, 2014 in Blogs | 2 comments

So you know that class in optometry school that you just never understood?

The one that, despite your best and most earnest of efforts, you dramatically bombed?

Well, mine was Vision Rehabilitation (the artist formerly known as Low Vision).

It’s not like I suck at optics, but for some reason, when VAs aren’t recorded in Snellen fractions my blood vessels seize up and I just pass out. For once I’m not exaggerating–I legitimately have an awkward fight or flight reaction that results in me on the floor. Let me summarize a few of the salient points I get confused about:

  • I don’t think I’ll ever know how small 0.4/2M is.
  • I will never understand what distance you move the hand-held magnifier away from your face to get a clear image.
  • And don’t even get me started on Feq and how to calculate it

(A vast majority of you are scoffing because those things are so extremely basic for you. I commend you for being too cool for school. To the select few that share my low vision terror: Rest assured, we stand united.)

Anyway, it’s no surprise I headed to my first shift at Chicago Lighthouse with extreme trepidation. The Lighthouse is an organization that serves blind or visually impaired patients, and it’s home to the oldest low vision clinic in the country.

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University of Chicago’s Taking The Next Step

University of Chicago’s Taking The Next Step

Posted by on Feb 3, 2014 in Blogs | 0 comments

“What did you study and how did you prepare to apply?”

Across the roundtable from me sat a second year college student–wide-eyed, curious and ambitious. She was considering applying to healthcare professional schools and was seeking my advice. In response to her question, I told her and everyone listening in that I majored in biological sciences and took classes to fulfill my prerequisites that included biology, chemistry, calculus and so on. In addition to the required courses, I took other classes that interested me like theatre and virology. She followed up by asking about the clubs I participated in and other commitments I had while in undergrad. I was in Mission for Vision, a club focused on eye care. Outside of school, I worked in a corporate eye care center and later in a private practice to further immerse myself within the field.

After answering the student’s questions, I was met by the nods of eight others seated with us at the large dining table where we shared lunch. We were all taking part in a program last month called Taking the Next Step, an annual event hosted by my alma mater, the University of Chicago. During the event, alums of the university like myself interact with second and third year students and talk about life after graduation–what we’re doing now and how we got there. Students at the event attend two sessions: a formal lunch where they share a table with one or two alumni, and a group panel where they can ask established professionals about their career paths.

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Countdown to Boards

Posted by on Jan 22, 2014 in Blogs | 0 comments

The National Board Examiners In Optometry and the Canadian Assessment of Competence in Optometry exams were always a mystery to me. Until perhaps two months ago, all I knew was that I had to write some sort of exam that’s going to determine whether I get to practice my passion for the rest of my life. Although I’m Canadian, I chose to take the American boards to give myself more options when I graduate. Those of us taking the NBEOs begin the exam on March 19.

The most influential factor in my decision to come to ICO was the board exam pass rates. I scoured the internet forums, talked to optometry students, and went on program websites to understand how students from each school perform on board exams. ICO’s amazing pass rates were reason enough for me to brave the cold winters of Chicago. After all, the whole point of getting an optometric education is to achieve this one goal: obtain a license to practice optometry.

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Lab and Clinic Etiquette

Lab and Clinic Etiquette

Posted by on Jan 17, 2014 in Blogs | 0 comments

Half way through our second year, the class of 2016 has had plenty of experience in lab. By now, we’re all comfortable with practically pressing our faces together for Direct Ophthalmoscopy, or contorting the faces of our patients to get a good look for BIO. I’d like to give a few pointers on simple etiquette in lab that we’ve all learned since first year. Some of this may seem obvious, but as we get more comfortable and get into a routine, we often fall into bad habits unconsciously. On top of that, some people may not feel comfortable correcting you. This makes it even worse, because as you cross over and become an OD, these habits stick with you and could affect your patients’ experience, and determine whether or not they return or find somewhere else to go.

Quick disclaimer: I’m not saying I’ve necessarily experienced every item on this list this first hand. Some of this comes from joking around with classmates, casual conversation or just common sense.

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How to Survive 72 Hours of Flight Delays

Posted by on Jan 13, 2014 in Blogs | 1 comment

Happy New Year my little ones!

2014 is a big year–This is the year my amazing class, rowdy and rambunctious as we are, gets to cross across the threshold and add a couple of initials to our names.

The New Year is always a good time to aspire for great things. My friends and I were discussing resolutions the other day. I admire people who are determined to achieve something tangible by the end of the twelve months. Learn to play the piano. Read more books. Go to a foreign country. Do an eye exam in Spanish. But I’ve always been drawn to the quieter ones–express more gratitude, for example.

Maybe it’s the eggnog or something, but I felt oddly at peace when I left home to fly back to Chicago on January 4. The snow was gently falling atop the trees and settling onto the mountains. Cheeks were rosy red and the Tim Horton’s coffee was roasted warm.

Everything was still and calm and beautiful.

2014, I thought to myself, you are going to be an amazing year.

And then it hits.

The polar vortex descends and your resolutions go out the door. It is -40 degrees and you want to die. You are consumed by rage and angst and heavy metal music. All the season’s tidings and happy fuzzy feelings are minced.

Oh. Was that too harsh?

I should have known when I saw the screen at the departures check-in counter. I should have known that as soon as the word “cancelled” was flashing next to my flight to Chicago I was in for a long haul. I should have known if one plane is too cold, other planes are too cold. I should have known if my flight today could get cancelled, so could tomorrow’s. And the next day’s.

All in all, I spent 72 hours waiting in Toronto before I flew back to Chiberia.

Below, I’ve compiled some survival tips if you’re ever in a similar situation. (I hope you’re not, by the way. 2014 is a new Siva. A less vindictive one.)

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