May 14, 2014, was a day I thought perhaps I would hear fireworks or applauds, but no such sound reached my ears. In my mind, a stopwatch of sorts did ring to mark the end of the journey that I set out on 2 years ago. If anything, that last day of being an optometry student passed by rather uneventfully. Although it was a Wednesday, it felt like a Friday with a very long weekend ahead. On the last day of my final clinical rotation, I felt rather nostalgic about all that had passed before my eyes and ears during the two year accelerated program. I started the day with the same excitement I had when I saw my first patient as an optometry student. When I finished the exam of the last patient of that day, I felt myself not wanting to let go. As the patient left my exam room, I recall mumbling to myself that you are my last patient. And then, I heard the stopwatch go off in my head. That was it, the end!
It has been a wonderful journey. Not an easy journey by any means, but nonetheless an important one. If asked would I do it again, unequivocally I would respond yes. After all, the sacrifices that I have made to complete this program will in return give me the opportunity to continue working within my chosen profession of optometry. During the course of the didactic and then clinical portion of my studies, I acquired a solid knowledge base and became clinically competent and confident to practice optometry in the USA. In the United Kingdom, I worked as an optometrist. With my soon to be bestowed title of doctor of optometry, I feel I have attained a life long dream and can continue doing the work that I am passionate about.
During these past 2 years, I have been fortunate to work with and be mentored by some amazing individuals. This extends to the patient populations that I have served. Most recently, in my VA rotation, it was an honor to serve those that served our country. I will endeavor to carry forward the knowledge that I have acquired from the clinical pearls shared by my teachers, as well as those learned in each patient encounter. One of the most valuable lessons was that success in an eye exam is not merely about getting someone to see 20/20 or views out to the ora serrata, it is about connecting with people and accepting the fact that they are entrusting you with one of their precious senses, their eyes. With this in mind, I feel I have done my part of attaining the highest degree in my chosen profession. I feel the Advanced Standing in Optometry Program was robust and helped me achieve my goal of becoming a doctor of optometry.
In the next few days, I will travel to Boston to walk up that aisle to receive my diploma. All the way, I will remind myself that this is not the end, it is merely the beginning of a lifetime that I will dedicate to my chosen profession of optometry!