Scientists say that the brain cannot multitask. Technically true, but you may find yourself frequently multitasking. The brain cannot perform two tasks simultaneously, but must quickly switch between (among) the multiple tasks you are demanding of it. I’ve also read that people do not tend to perform as well when they are multitasking. Let’s ignore that claim for now because in third year, you do a lot of switching gears.
Many older students will tell upcoming third years that being an OD3 feels like a reward or a vacation from the intense second year curriculum. Although in terms of curriculum they are correct, I think that third year is almost as demanding as second year, but in a less focused (more multitasking) way. OD2s are inundated with lectures and labs, where as an OD3 you are constantly switching among seeing patients in clinic, attending lecture (and labs), working for work study, completing research projects in some cases, and studying for your electives you have enrolled in for the semester. I imagine this scatterbrained, multitasking life we are living this year is a foreshadowing of the rest of our lives. That’s what entering the “adult” world is, right? Constantly jumping from project to project to keep up with your work, with family and friends, and with new opportunities you have undertaken.
Not every adult has that “adult” life I just described. It is a great privilege to work at a sort of “self-actualization” level in our lives and careers. Optometry school is overwhelming as a student—you feel like you know very little and there’s a ton of new information in front of you waiting to be learned—but we are some of the luckiest people in the world to be where we are right now. How many obstacles did each classmate of mine overcome to get their one spot out of 120 seats in the class of 2015? What classmates had few difficulties, but seemed to be destined to professional school or always knew what they wanted? Either way, we were all successful. We were probably all lucky enough to have a great support system of family and friends to help us get to where we are today.
Soon we will be providing eye care to patients and become capable of supporting ourselves and our families. Although optometry school is stressful and we may feel like we are working way too hard sometimes, there are many people who would have loved to occupy our spots in the class of 2015 and been given the opportunity we have now.
With that in mind, keep your spirits up during this midterms week, NECO! I know we can all help each other come out on top. Good luck, everyone!