01. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Uncategorized
     Ready…Get set…Go… you may be thinking is something you associate with a sporting event.  Yet, I have found the same could be said for the pursuit of academia.  It can be likened to a sport such as football or soccer, in that in order to score anything, you must have a ‘goal’ as well as a clear start and finish.  When I was exploring my options to transition from optometry in England to the USA, I found NECO to be the only school that had a program that would allow optometrists to realize the goal of attaining a Doctorate of Optometry degree within 2 years.  The program is well structured and bridges the gap between how optometry is practiced in foreign lands to the level expected in the USA.
     From day one it was go! Thankfully, I had spoken to students who had already graduated from the program and they helped me to mentally prepare.  Classes began in May 2012.  The first three months consisted of courses in Cell Biology, Histology, Human/Ocular Anatomy and Physiology, Neuroanatomy, Clinical Care, Diabetes/Glaucoma, and Principles and Practice of Optometry.  I commend my classmates who sit through lectures and manage to absorb information in English, which is not their first language.  Fortunately, the ‘language of optometry’ is fairly global and so it is just a matter of learning clinical terms used in the USA.  Doing the sight test, or as it is commonly called here ‘eye test’, in terms of 20/20 rather than 6/6 was also an adjustment.  For years, I aimed to get my patients to see the 6/6 line and now that seems like a foreign concept.
     I am at the stage now where I can reflect upon my time thus far in Boston.  For those of you who read my previous blog, you may recall that I wrote about my transition to Boston and how I have made a nest for myself here. Carrying on from that thought, I want to share my thoughts on two aspects I considered before even contemplating the notion of studying.  The first was the importance of finding study buddies.  This is a shout out to all my study buddies!  They each have a unique strength that I admire and I feel fortunate to have connected with them.  We not only help each other, but at times we also challenge one another.  Ultimately, we are all competing not against each other, but rather against ourselves.  Competing against yourself, you may be thinking, is an unnatural process.  The thought is, that whatever we achieve or fail at, for that matter, is a measure of our personal growth.  The new skills and knowledge that we have attained minus those that we presented with on day one of classes.  This is the clear ‘starting line’  I made mention to in the beginning of this blog.  Beyond the registrar’s office, how we measure against one another really has no longevity, as far as I see it.
     On a less philosophical note, I want to mention the other key factor I considered before setting up camp to study. My personal belief is that the phrase ‘active learning’ involves literally making sure you have snacks on hand while studying.  Any respectable school bag would not be complete without a stash of snacks. And at the top of my healthy study snacks list is…popcorn! Yes, I see you smiling.  Be it plain or with a flavoring (herb and spices is my personal favorite), popcorn rocks, or should I say pops?!?…You know what I mean.  My reasoning is as follows.  Popcorn is a happy food which is nutritious for the most part and satisfying, too! And hey, it fits most any students budget.  So, ready…get set…go… get out there and grab your study buddy and a bag of popcorn too!  See you at the finish line…aka Graduation May 2014!