In three weeks, I will be leaving Boston and starting my first rotation of fourth year at a small private practice in Virginia. It’s simultaneously frightening and exhilarating to think that I am not only three-quarters of the way done with optometry school, but also that I am about to transition into full-time clinical care. Thinking about leaving Boston is bittersweet: I’ve loved living here so much, and I hate the thought that I won’t be returning for six months. The city has so much to offer, and leaving my NECO friends will be extremely difficult, but it will also be extremely beneficial for me to explore different modes of practice in environments outside of the city. In the past few weeks I’ve had some amazing times with my NECO family, making the most of what Boston and NECO have to offer before I begin my fourth year externships.
A few weeks ago, I, along with many of my classmates and first year students, travelled to New York for Vision Expo East. I had never attended the Expo before, and I was interested to learn more about the different products being displayed there, and also to network with students from other optometry schools. Vision Expo offered a formal student program that included presentations about different types of optometry practice as well as different optometric companies. My favorite part of the student program was that we were initially divided into random groups, forcing us to meet students from other schools, and then given a project to complete. My group consisted of myself and three first-year students from MCPHS in Worcester, and we were assigned to gather information from the Expo about developing an electronic medical records program for a hypothetical practice. In order to complete the project, we needed to explore the Expo and speak with representatives from different companies. In the process, we also visited many different vendors’ booths and tried to absorb as much information as we could.
On Saturday, NECO students and faculty celebrated at the traditional 84th annual Eye Ball at the Hyatt Hotel in Boston Harbor. Despite being a rainy day, it was a gorgeous night with delicious food, dancing, and great times with friends. The Eye Ball included a cocktail hour with gorgeous views of Boston Harbor at sunset and a photo booth with fun props, many of which were glasses-related. It was great to see my classmates dressed up and enjoying themselves before many of us leave the city for rotations.
Now that spring has finally arrived, I’ve also enjoyed spending time outside in the city, particularly enjoying the Esplanade and Public Gardens. Last week was the Boston Marathon, which I was able to watch from Newbury Street, a few blocks from the finish line on Boylston. It was inspirational to see the athletes who have worked so hard to attain their goals, and to also see many members of the National Guard running as well. Perhaps the most heartwarming part of watching the marathon was seeing and participating in the incredibly warm and encouraging reception that the crowds give to each runner, clapping and shouting encouragement for hours to people they have never met. The most incredible thing I witnessed, however, was the athletes who ran while pushing a child or family member with a developmental disorder along with them; the amount of strength and love that this takes is an inspiration to anyone striving towards a goal and an example of the indomitable nature of the human spirit. The reception that these runners and their family members received was thunderous, and well-deserved.
In conclusion, I’d like to wish my fellow almost-fourth year students good luck on their rotations. I’ll miss everyone and I hope that during this year we all learn a lot about optometry and the direction our careers will take next year.