What You Learn in First Year Is Not Only Optometry

Being the Associate Dean of Students allows me to share in and be a part of all of the experiences you have during your time at NECO, from your first day (orientation) to your last (commencement).

You have had many first days and first years and new ways of learning, forming and maintaining new relationships, and taking on more and more responsibility for yourself, your decisions, and your intellectual, emotional, and social life.

Your first day and first year of optometry school offer you the same opportunities, challenges, and adjustments, only magnified (no pun intended). You will find that there is more volume of work, less free time to study, and that a greater depth of knowledge is required of you. As you study, you are constantly wondering how what you are learning relates to patient care.

You will also enjoy a common bond among all of us in the NECO community. Since you and every one of your classmates have the same career goal, becoming an optometrist, all of your classes relate to optometry. We are all here to support you in achieving the OD degree.

As Dean, I so enjoy getting to know you, especially in the first year because I see so much growth in you, and because I know that each year you continue to grow in response to the opportunities before you.

Here are examples of your growth during first year.

• If you are living on your own for the first time, you truly learn to manage a household. You conquer grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, housecleaning and bill paying.

• You learn how to manage your time. Your priority is to study well, and you find the needed time.

• You adjust the way you study. You conquer exam anxiety. You seek out study partners or request peer tutoring.

• You become active in one of our many student activities.

• You bond with your classmates. You help each other out when needed.

• You realize that asking for help is encouraged. You find that proactively seeking assistance provides great relief and allows you to accomplish your goals. You leave my office happier than you arrived.

• You take good care of yourself. You eat well, sleep well, and exercise.

• You fall in love with Boston and find wonderful places to go with friends.

Being Associate Dean of Students allows me to find a little space within each of your hearts. You each have a big space in mine. On your first day at orientation, you are excited to arrive and I am excited to welcome you. On your last day, commencement, I am proud of you, but the day is bittersweet for me, because I must say farewell as you begin your new life. And when you do contact me as an alum, I am delighted.

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