On Saturday, August 29th our class of 2019 received our white coats. Personally, I had been looking forward to this moment since my acceptance to ICO.
To me, receiving a white coat is a symbol of our past, present and future.
The white coat is a symbol of our past because it shows how far we have come. Each of us has worked extremely hard to be here. We have come from all over the United States (and Canada) to Chicago to pursue a career in optometry. Our backgrounds range from business, to biochemistry, to English, and our accents are just as unique. Some come from places where the snow rarely stops, and others have never experienced a snowy winter. Although we all are very different and come from different places, one thing is similar: we are each here to become the best eye doctors we can be.
In the present, we are facing a challenge. The white coat is a symbol of this challenge. We have been given thousands of pages of note (yes thousands!) and will take an average of 3 exams a week. We are already spending our nights with our noses in our books, trying our best to stay on top of our work. In the present, we are balancing these challenges with curiosity. We want to explore the new city we have not yet gotten to know and find the best places in Chicago to study. As we continue to explore and challenge ourselves, we are all coming to the realization of what this coat really means. A white coat is the symbol of a clinician. Although we are only at the beginning of our clinical education and patient care, we are looking towards the future at what is up ahead.
The white coat reminds us of our future. It fills us with excitement about what is to come! In 3 years and 9 months, we will graduate from ICO and enter the world of optometric physicians. Some of us will take over practice, some will start practices cold. Some will work in hospital settings, industry, or research. Others will sit on the throne of a vision care empire. Together, we will all proudly wear our coats as representatives of ICO’s graduating class of 2019.
After overcoming the challenges placed in front of us, we will receive our doctoral hoods and be given the title “Doctor.” Receiving a white coat is a symbol of all this and so much more. It inspires each and every student at ICO to be the best that we can be and achieve the goals we have worked so hard towards.