I’m Stephanie, an OD2 and part of the OD/PhD program at NECO. I was born and raised in central Florida, attending UCF in Orlando for my undergraduate degree. After living in Florida for 21 years, I was ready to branch out of my comfort zone and relocate. I’ve made it through my first winter in Massachusetts (which I’m told was mild) and I’m still loving New England! I’ve learned a few things about the north so far: (1) leaves fall off the trees like it’s raining in autumn, (2) walking through snow feels the same as walking through sand, (3) rain boots are essential, and (4) earmuffs, earmuffs, earmuffs!
After my first year at NECO, I got to visit my family briefly in Florida. I soon headed back to Boston to complete two lab rotations at the BU med campus as part of the OD/PhD program. Over the summer, I learned much about lab work and many new techniques for working with DNA and protein. It was also interesting to see all the collaboration and development at BUMC. The labs I worked in studied pathology and immunology related to ocular disease. It was a great experience. At NECO, I have learned about abnormalities in the eye, but at BU I was able to delve deeper into those pathological processes in a hands-on way.
Now it’s time to get back from research and head into clinic. I am very fortunate to have a pediatric clinical assignment for my first OD2 clerkship. Exposure to pediatric optometry is not extremely easy to come by (so I’m told) before you’re deciding whether to do a peds rotation or not for your final year of optometry school. With this early experience, hopefully I will gain confidence in working with children as well as insight into my own patient population preferences.
My clerkship is very exciting already. It’s a fast-paced environment filled with interesting binocular vision abnormalities. We see every possible type of amblyopia and barely touch the phoropter at all. Children are much more comfortable with free space retinoscopy and a loose lens refraction, so my first year screening experiences are very helpful! I recently attended a screening at Fenway Park (which was an awesome location) to get in some more practice with my ret rack since I will be relying on it so heavily.
At my clinical assignment, there is me (the OD2), one OD3, and three OD4s. Needless to say, I’m the amateur. But my preceptor and all the upperclassmen are so helpful and are making my transition as smooth as possible. Going from OD1 screenings to the clinic is a big jump, and now I can see that OD2 to OD3 is an even bigger jump. I can’t wait to be as proficient and refined as the upperclassmen I am watching now.
I thought I’d share a picture I took on the Esplanade this summer. I love the sense of community it gives off, which is something I see in Boston very often and makes me love the city even more. Until next time, best wishes.