Suddenly, I’m a full-fledged optometry student. We just finished our first two weeks of fall quarter and most of my classmates agree that our lives are a whirlwind of classes, clubs, and even some fun (yes, there is time for that still). Taking six classes (feels like nine if you include labs) is no easy feat, but it’s still so exciting to finally be starting the final leg of my education.
Orientation was overwhelmingly daunting, but let me tell you that while ICO students work hard, they play hard too. The upperclassmen couldn’t stress enough that in addition to all of our studies, we also needed to make time for ourselves. Trust me, I was thankful to hear that I could still go to the gym and run or even spend time downtown with my friends. Chicago is such a great city and I want to take full advantage of it while I’m here.
As the first weekend started, the class of 2017 was revved up for a little fun after a tumultuous week of taking note after note in class after class. Lucky for us, we got our first taste of the ICOlympics. Classes compete against each other in like volleyball, ultimate Frisbee, limbo, water ballon toss, etc. I personally did the limbo (I used to be a gymnast so I thought hey, why not?) and took third place. Next year, I plan to really get limber and take first!
While we first years got some good team bonding in, unfortunately the third years (class of 2015) took the crown. Trust me, the class of 2017 will be ready next year, so all you prospective students–be prepared! It was really such a fun atmosphere being outside with all of our new colleagues and indulging in a little Saturday afternoon fun and barbecue. I will say though, I definitely had to fit in time for studying. But like I said–work hard, play hard.
The second week went by so much quicker than the first. By Friday, I was definitely feeling overwhelmed as our notes had doubled from 300 pages to 600 pages. Then I remembered how my “big sister” Olivia (a second year) told me to take it day by day and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. It doesn’t help to stress about how much I need to do by next week. It’s better to set relatively small goals and feel good about accomplishing them. Having a good morale is half the battle. Having a “big” has been such a stress reliever and she’s been there for me whenever I needed.
She boosted my morale just in time for the much-anticipated White Coat Ceremony. This was one of those feel-good milestone events that you know you’ll remember for the rest of your life. I truly felt like a student doctor, making all of those first-week jitters go away. It reminded me of the big picture: becoming an optometrist. I can’t even believe that there is a white coat hanging in my closet right now. Life really goes fast when you’re here, but I can say whole-heartedly that ICO has become my family and so much a part of me so quickly. I definitely made the right choice, but stay tuned as I try to stay afloat during the rigorous first-year exam schedule. Here we go!