WOW. It hardly feels like only two weeks have gone by since I arrived at ICO.
The first few days of my journey here were a daze of getting settled in, Orientation actives, and explorations of this beautiful city. In the blink of an eye, my class was able to mingle amongst ourselves while being introduced to many of the amazingly kind second years, as well as faculty/staff. I am so impressed by what a fantastic job ICO and the Orientation team did to make us feel so welcome. All of the upperclassman were incredibly warm and approachable- something that I definitely appreciated since I’ll take all the advice I can get! I was even set up with a mentor and a “big” who I could contact in case I have questions further down the line-, or just want to talk to someone who’s been through the ups and downs that graduate school is notorious for.
Most schools only show you what they want you to see during your interview process. I have to admit that I was a bit nervous about what the actual ICO would be like. To my relief, what I saw on interview day is exactly what I have been experiencing as a real student thus far.
One thing I was told during my interview was that at ICO, you “hit the ground running.” Boy, is that true! Our schedules might be jam packed, but you can tell that the professors here want you to learn and do well. They teach us at a fast pace, but are very fair in their expectations for us. Most of them manage to slip in a little bit of advice or a joke or two throughout lecture. My favorite line thus far is, “Your patients are not going to give you extra credit and neither will I.” I can tell that I am going to learn A LOT during my time here- both about eyecare and life.
Dr. Bakkum’s words of “Welcome to doctor school” ring in my ears often as I experience new things here. It’s a great feeling. I even got to spend my first “late night” in the Eyepod this week practicing taking auto-refracts and IOPs with many of my classmates. Along with practicing skills that we will eventually need for clinic (and getting a bunch of hilarious Snapchats,) it felt SO good to be physically interacting with equipment that we will be using in our real careers. For lack of a better word, it felt very “doctorly”.
In the midst of preparations for our first round of exams, ICO gave us a break this past Saturday by presenting us with our White Coats. The ceremony was beautifully done and an emotional one for many, my parents and myself included. This simple, white, fabric has now publicly solidified our student status of being in “doctor school”. Now its up to us to acquire the knowledge that we will need to live the part!