Boards Are Over and Spring Is Here!

Congratulations, NECO third years! We survived Part I of our National Board Exams and made it through to the traditional post-Boards pub crawl on the other side. We spent months stressing and studying, carrying our Boards books from coffee shop to coffee shop, quizzing each other and preparing ourselves as best as we could. The air of relief around us is tangible; we won’t find out our scores until May, which is both unfortunate and a welcome relief from the Boards anxiety that has been permeating our lives for months.

With the end of Boards comes the end of winter in Boston as well, which I ironically celebrated this week by going to a new frozen bar that opened downtown near Faneuil Hall which features walls, couches, and even glasses made of ice, all enjoyed in 20-degree weather inside mandatory blueberry-colored (and blueberry-shaped) parkas. It feels wonderful to be able to celebrate by enjoying the city, and as it gets warmer Boston becomes more walkable and welcoming, ready to be explored.

The fact that spring semester, and third year with it, will soon draw to a close is bittersweet, especially for someone who has grown to love Boston as much as I have. I’ll be leaving in May for my first summer rotation site in Virginia, and after that my fall site in Maine, meaning that I’ll be away from Boston–and my NECO family–for six months. As excited as I am to be exposed to new practice modes and new areas of the country, I’m also sad to be leaving the city and the people I’ve grown so close to. I’ve decided to spend my last month and a half here taking advantage of the city, as well as working to complete my various third year projects. To ensure that I don’t miss out on any opportunities to enjoy the city in my last full year here, I compiled a post-Boards, pre-rotations bucket list that includes the annual NECO Eye Ball, a formal end-of-the-year dance at a fancy location downtown; running on the Esplanade; finding gems of used books at the city’s many secondhand bookstores and the Boston Public Library’s book sale; and exploring the historical side of Boston on the Freedom Trail.

This weekend, however, I’ll be leaving Boston for New York, where the 2014 International Vision Expo and Conference is being held. I’ll be traveling by bus with many other NECO first, second, and third years to attend the event where we can network with other students, optometrists, and vendors; learn through student education events; and discover new brands and vision-related products. I’m looking forward to learning about the field in a different way than I’m used to by attending my first optometry-related conference, and hopefully enjoy a little of New York City while I’m at it.

Once I’m back from Vision Expo, it’s project time: as I’ve mentioned previously, our class has projects to complete this spring for our Business, Clinical Reasoning, and Refractive Issues classes, parts of two of which are due next week. In the fictional world of my Ophthalmic Business and Management Policy class computer simulation, things are looking up: my group’s hypothetical practice jumped this week from second-to-last in profit to second as a result of our newfound “go big or go home” practice management mentality. My group was glad to see that our strategies paid off, and as we enter the simulation’s final weeks, we hope to increase our lead and improve upon our fictional business success.

I’d like to reiterate my congratulations to the class of 2015 for completing Boards Part 1, and I hope that everyone at NECO is able to enjoy Boston in the upcoming spring weather!

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