Chairs Missing by Joe, resident at the New England College of Optometry


Turn and Face the Strange

It's been a somewhat routine few weeks at the VA since my last post, but with a few new experiences sprinkled in. Overall the fall has brought some changes, some good and some bad. The bad is really just mildly annoying. It seems that after Labor Day, the Boston inbound commuter traffic has turned into a totally different, unpredictable beast. What used to take me about 50 minutes to drive in the mornings can now randomly take about an hour and ten minutes or more, and I avoid it completely only if I leave 20 minutes earlier than before.  It seems to be a log based curve; for every minute after 6:15 am that I leave it adds 1.25 minutes to the commute. So now I wake up the earliest I have ever since probably high school. The 17 year old me was unable to fall asleep before midnight, whereas now I am able to regularly fall asleep on the couch at about 9pm. I feel like I am finally understanding what the working adult world is all about, being really tired at the end of the day and losing track of current events because even watching TV is too sleep inducing.  On the flip side, the commute home is just about same and the Thursday and Friday traffic is actually much better than before, that is unless there is a Patriots game. Then I may as well sleep under my desk because I'm not getting home until right before the stadium parking lot fills up before kickoff.

On to the good changes, including the crisp, cooler, fall weather. Fall is my favorite season by far and now that I live in a more country setting, I feel like I can really enjoy the fall and its activities for the first time in several years. Living in Boston, you tend to forget about things like hikes in forests with changing leaves, farm stand corn mazes and cider doughnuts, Oktoberfest beer, and being able to play sports outside without immediately sweating profusely. Well, the first two things were hard to come by in Boston, the last two I guess are the same. But these are all things I'm looking forward to on the weekends for months to come.

Also, I've been able to dip my toe for the first time into teaching, which has been really exciting. I began working at the school's preclinic as a resident monitor, which means we are responsible for making sure students are practicing safely, as well as for answering questions, helping with techniques, and signing off on homework. It was a really cool but strange experience to be on the flip side of the student/doctor dichotomy. As time goes on, I'm sure to have a longer post about how I feel about this.  In addition to that, the residents at my clinic have finally started to be granted more independence and freedom. We no longer have to have our exams rechecked for every patient we see. Probably a topic for yet another upcoming post.

So that about does it for now, but I'll leave you with a nugget of unrelated good advice, particularly to any incoming 1st year students new to the Boston rental market. Renters insurance is really an awesome, overlooked thing. For a about $200 to $300 dollars a year, you can really save yourself big trouble in the event of emergency like a fire or theft, especially when at the mercy of fellow tenants in a building. Last week, our cat spilled a glass of water on a friend's brand new Macbook Pro laptop, destroying the motherboard and partially damaging the hard drive. Her warranty did not cover water damage and we thought we'd have to replace it out of pocket for her. Not only did our insurance pay her for full replacement, saving us over $1200, but it also paid for data recovery. So it covered not only our own stuff, but also other people's stuff too. Something to think about. I know I sound like an insurance company shill, but it really helped us, given money is tight for the next year as we continue to live somewhat like students on a reduced resident salary. Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.


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