Putt-Puttin’ Along

Third year rules. I’ve been in class for three weeks now and I am fully appreciating the extra time that I have outside of the classroom. By contrast, I am taking 16 credit hours as opposed to the 41.5 credits I took last Spring. That’s a huge difference and I will admit I still feel a lingering guilt if my nose isn’t buried in a book… the good news, though, is that feeling is dwindling, and fast. When one is used to constant studying, it’s as though there is a homeostatic imbalance that must be restored when things return to normal. Not that I’m complaining…

…that’s not to say we don’t have any new responsibilities this year. In clinic, for instance, there is more that is expected of us than ever before. Beyond the ability to do a complete eye exam, we are tasked with doing it within one hour in addition to improving quality and accuracy. An hour might sound like a lot of time for a regular optometrist, but for a student it’s a tremendous task. By comparison, most other schools in the U.S. require that all students perform an eye exam within two hours by the time they graduate. This sets us apart and prepares us for the demands of the real world when we leave and go off on our own.

Though that day is another two years away, I amazed by all that I have gained since walking through NECO’s doors for the first time… yet I realize how much more I have yet to learn. As I gain more experience, I’m trying to tie everything together to get the big picture in clinic – applying my knowledge is by far the most rewarding aspect. I’m beginning to really see the value in the clinical program here at NECO, because the best way to solidify what we have learned in the classroom is to apply it. Sometimes all it takes is one eye exam with a patient who has an ocular condition we skimmed over in class in order for it to really stick. I have very high hopes and self-expectations for my clinical abilities this year, and hopefully by 4th year I can say that I have met those goals.

So, on the list of things to do in the 2012-2013 year:

1. Do exceedingly well in clinic, get my time well under that hour without sacrificing quality of care and patient experience.
2. Learn how to play guitar and piano (already have a head start on both!)
3. Enjoy the remainder of my time in Boston, meet people, hang out with friends outside of the school walls.
4. Go to a Celtics game.
5. Unpack all of my boxes in my new apartment before I have to move again.

I’ll let y’all know if I add any more.

Currently listening to: “Roxanne” by The Police

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