Archive for September, 2013
This Monday officially rounds off the first two weeks of OD1 for our class of 2017. It’s all kind of a blur thinking back, but my one sentence of summary would be: It’s strange to be an adult and still feel this young on the academic totem pole. Everyone at NECO is nothing but extra friendly towards us, which is awesome! Not to mention, it really deters the feelings of being the “newbie” that I know I am. And that’s something that I have counted on since my interview day at NECO. Since the school is relatively small, it was really important to me that the environment be homey. I wanted to go somewhere that embraced the students as family and that is supportive rather than competitive…and NECO has proven to provide exactly that!
The first few weeks have consisted of orientation, a few provided lunches (yay, free food!), becoming CPR certified, and settling into lecture and beginning labs. Because we all have the same lecture classes together (and therefore the same destination as one another), it often feels very much like herding lost cattle. Many of us are just getting acquainted with the campus, so it becomes a game of “following the leader.” If you look like you know where you’re going… well, there was probably at least five other people following you then. In a way, these first “herding days” were a good experience and I feel one that is critical to bond as OD1s, and in another way, I was very much reminded of how much there is to learn beyond the academics of optometry. Coming to NECO from the West Coast makes everything a learning experience. Aside from the obvious studying, I’m learning my bike path to/from school (and how to avoid getting hit by cars that seemingly follow no traffic rules!), how the Boston T works, and where all the secret hallways are within NECO. I found it deliciously pleasant that almost every office I walked into on campus had a bowl of candy waiting for me and all the staff and professors have tried really hard to make the OD1s feel welcome.
At the annual welcome back BBQ, I met more upper years than names I can remember, but they were all silly, engaging, and seemed genuinely happy to be hanging out with us. Getting to know all 135+/- of my fellow classmates might prove to be almost as challenging as memorizing the bones of the human skull (OK, the skull definitely wins), but I take comfort in knowing that there are so many fellow colleagues that will walk this program with me. When I put in library hours, I almost always find a classmate already there and when there are events, such as the amazing FREE Mix Fest concert this past weekend, (featuring Backstreet Boys, Gavin Degraw, and Of Monsters and Men!!), I found plenty of friends to join in on the fun. Hopefully along with the studious, there will be many more fun Boston events to attend!
On top of that, by some scheduling miracle, both of my housemates and I have the exact same schedule this semester. That means every single lab, every lecture are all exactly the same! We’re not sure how this happened, but we promised each other that in an effort to avoid getting overly attached to each other, we’d try to branch out by sitting with different people during our labs and lectures. And by doing so, I was able to become friends with so many others, so I’m grateful for my charismatic housemates. It’s a running joke that we’ll probably want to hurt each other by the end of the semester, especially because we met as strangers, but we have gotten along surprisingly well so far. So thank the graduate Gods for giving me Tammy and Yan.
It’s only been two weeks and the true highs and lows are still to come, but I’m looking forward to it all! Aside from feeling like I have not seen a lot of sunshine lately (library hours, labs hours, and lecture hours add up to a lot of time indoors!), I have no regrets about graduate school, about my chosen profession, and definitely not about choosing NECO. I can’t wait to cry, laugh, and be tired beyond belief with my classmates for the next four years. If you ever see me lurking around NECO, please say hello! (Or give me candy/ coffee…much appreciated in advance).