The Big’un

Boards are looming a mere three weeks away. The process of reviewing and condensing all of the information I have been taught over the years is coming to a close and I know so much more than I thought was possible before I started optometry school nearly three years ago. At the same time, I feel there is so much more to learn and that I haven’t even begun to scrape the surface of all there is to know about optometry, eyes, and vision. In a way, it makes things more exciting, and at the same time somewhat daunting.

As my colleagues and I prepare for this, the largest exam of our lives, there is a silent tension growing. We are all increasingly focused on the task at hand and the suspense is becoming palatable. This is it – and it’s amazing how fast the time flew by and how much we have all grown in just a few short years.

First year, I came in and I was blown away by the third and fourth years – how did they know so much? Surely I would not be at the same level of clinical and scientific prowess they demonstrated. But alas, here I am…a big bad third year, wondering how exactly I got all of this information into my mind – a testament to how efficient the marriage of personal hard work and a tried and true education process really is. And yet, I often despair that I know so very little (a testament in of itself to the breadth of all there is to know about optometry).

As I prepare for boards, I recall all the hours I put into learning the material and the familiarity with which I process all of the notes and textbooks. Boards is not so much about passing an exam as solidifying what we already know and making it second nature. The process is not meant to weed out the masses, merely it is a vehicle for attaining the clinical expertise we came here for. The greatest advantage is that it provides us with the big picture – tying together all of the concepts we spent tireless hours learning and the skills we have been honing since our very first day in optometry school.

I see this stage in my education not as a hurdle, but a stepping stone – one of many – towards becoming the clinician I aspire to be. After all, my education is not over after boards or even after I graduate, for that matter… it is an ongoing process that I will be engaged in for the rest of my optometric career, and I couldn’t be any more excited about that prospect.

Best of luck to all of my fellow OD2014’s on boards. Let’s do this.

Currently Listening to: “Waiting Room” by Fugazi

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