19. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Uncategorized

Do not worry, no PG or R ratings are required for this post. The title was inspired by one of the shows that I like to watch, called Taste. In it, aspiring chefs are asked to create dishes that could be considered guilty pleasures. The winner dished up homemade fried chicken along with macaroni and cheese. Two guilt laden delicacies on one plate guaranteed a win. When contemplating what to write for this blog, I decided to focus on my guilty pleasures. I want to convey how they have evolved over the years, as I have gone from being a “Professional Student” to now, soon to be part of the adult workforce.

As I approach the final turn of this journey towards achieving a doctorate in optometry, I cannot help but reflect upon my life as “professional student.” This term is mainly used to describe a student majoring in what are considered the professional degrees. The slang of the term refers to a student who stays in school for many years rather than embarking on a career. In either case, the term professional student carries with it the connotation of someone who has dedicated much of their life to being a student. Yeah, that sounds like me.  After having spent years as a student, it got me thinking about what my guilty pleasures have been thus far in this journey. The following list is in no way exhaustive, but I wanted to share a few of my guilty pleasures with you. You being my non-judgmental audience, of course :)

1.  Sleep! As a student, I managed to schedule in time for a short nap between classes. Even if it meant dozing off in the lecture hall for a few minutes, I felt entitled to take a mental break and never felt guilty about it. Now that I am on clinical rotations, this is no longer an option. In fact, if I even get a half hour to grab a quick lunch it is considered an indulgence.

2. Chocolate! I made it a tradition to eat a Snickers bar before every exam or proficiency, even if it began at 8am! The quick energy boost was my justification for eating chocolate at random times of day. While on the subject of chocolate, might I add that the chocolate chip muffins at Paulo’s cafe in NECO are simply divine!

3. Cereal for dinner! On a student’s budget, a bowl of cereal with milk became a staple part of my diet. Yes, cereal is not just for breakfast. I try and stick to the wholegrain cereals, but on occasion I mix in a sugary Fruit Loop type cereal. Hey, we all have been told that the more colorful your plate looks, the more nutrients you are taking in. There has to be some truth to this beyond vegetables!

4.  Fast food! As a student, I often felt like eating fast food was justified, given the fact that we had very little time to cook when we were supposed to be studying. As I have transitioned to a ‘working hours’ type schedule in my rotations, I have tried to substitute this guilty pleasure with cooking homemade snacks and meals. Even something as simple as homemade grilled cheese gives that feeling of a guilty pleasure while still satisfying that fast food craving.

5.  Coffee and the disproportionate amount of my monthly living expenses that I spent on it. Looking back, I should have bought shares in Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts. Seriously, as students, it is almost a necessity to buy and consume large amounts of coffee. Now that I am approaching the end of my student days, I have invested in a Keurig to get me through my rotations. I bought an insulated travel coffee mug and I take it with me to clinic. No more time to run out and grab a quick coffee between classes — in clinic there are patients to see and assessments/plans to write.

6. Facebook! Being a professional student has required me to ‘write off’ the last few years of my social life. In exchange for this sacrifice, a quick check into Facebook to see what was going on in the outside world became a guilty pleasure. I did not allow myself to get sucked into social media for the most part. But now that classes are behind me, I have time to actually read, post, and respond to my friends’ posts. And more importantly, I do not feel guilty for taking time out to make those bonds again.

7. Shopping! During my time at NECO, I always felt that I had to buy “sensible” shoes. Getting to class and clinic, via the T or walking the streets of Boston, required the donning of comfy shoes. Anytime I dared look at a pair of ‘girly’ shoes, I had to remind myself that they would not be a wise investment given the limited wear I would get out of them. Now that I am in my rotations and have rediscovered my social life, I am shopping guilt-free for shoes to hit the town with!

On this note, it is interesting to mention that as a student, my wardrobe consisted of jeans, fleeces and t-shirts. It was a guilty pleasure to surf the net during my study breaks and shop for the latest fashions, whether they were for class, clinic or going out. Very quickly the time came to start building a wardrobe of clinic attire. Even for those of you in your first year, I would advise to start building that clinic wardrobe. Perhaps it is not entirely a guilty pleasure. However, it is forward thinking and heck, it is fun to shop for grown up clothes, too.

These were just a few of my guilty pleasures. I feel as if I am evolving in terms of making the transition out of student life and into the real world. I am certainly looking forward to experiencing more guilt-free indulgences along the way!