Professionalism and Uncertainty

I’ve been at ICO for more than three months now. It’s been busy to say the least. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but here’s what a typical weekday is like for me. Keep in mind that this may vary slightly depending on the person:

First thing in the morning (aka waking up up 15-60 minutes before class/test)-4 p.m.

  • brush teeth
  • get dressed
  • (skip) breakfast
  • go to class
  • doze off in class
  • skip class to sleep
  • lunch
  • more class

4-6 p.m.

  • study in the library or study lounge
  • work out (sometimes)
  • dinner

8 p.m. and beyond

  • study some more OR
  • get fed up with studying and:
  • go downtown
  • OR browse the internet
  • go back to studying
  • ponder the meaning of existence
  • decompress with reading or more philosophical pondering

So yeah, that’s optom life.

But I’m not here to impress you my dedication or work ethic; everyone here learns all that stuff within the first two weeks of school. Don’t worry–if you’ve been accepted into ICO or any other professional school, you’ll make it to the end. Never doubt what you are capable of or let the pressure get to you…

I’ll probably write something about that later. This post is going in a different direction.

Professionalism. It’s the main thing I’m trying to wrap my head around. We’re expected to be professionals here–even as students–and in about three years and six months, I’ll be graduating. I’ll be thrown out into the world of full-time work, and I’ll have to put my best foot forward–as a “professional.”

The hard part about being professional is that I’ve been unprofessional for the past 22 years of my life. I think I’m going to need a bit of time to adjust. I don’t think I even know what it means to be professional. There are a lot of rules to follow and a standard of conduct that I should adhere to as a representative of the school. But I still feel like a kid.

It doesn’t exactly scare me, but it is different. It feels… uncomfortable. I feel unsure of myself. It feels like I’m expected to act like I know what I’m doing, but I have very little experience to back it up.

I suspect that there’s going to be some soul-searching in my near future.

Anyway, this reminds me of something I learned a while ago–fake it till you make it. One day, you’ll realize that you have finally made it. Amy Cuddy did a really good TED talk on it. You just have to put on your best game face and act like you know what you’re doing. But I’d like to add that it’s also important to ask for help if you can’t do something or if you’re unsure. You don’t have to know everything. Ask for help, admit your mistakes and be confident in your ability to learn. That’s all you can do to be professional as a student.

…I guess I just needed to give myself a pep talk.

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