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Recent Posts

  • On Finales
  • 500 Multiple Choice Questions Later…I’m Back!
  • Spring “Break”
  • Now Boarding
  • Notes, Tegrity, and survival
  • Thinking Like a Doctor: In and Out of the Classroom
  • Springing Into Second Year
  • Student Ambassadors, the AOSA, and other February events!
  • Spring Semester Happenings
  • Circle of (Optometry School) Life

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  • Virgilio Gozum

    On Finales


    …well, how did it go? Did boards bore a hole into my soul? Or was boards more like a boardwalk, easy and breezy?

    Neither, I suppose. Sure, it wasn’t great. However, it wasn’t awful. Oddly enough, I personally enjoyed it. It was just me, my thoughts, my knowledge, and hopefully a little bit of luck, armed with a pencil, an eraser, and good songs stuck in my head. Hopefully such a combination proved to be unstoppable!

    I’ll tell you something that’s been on my mind about third year, spring semester. Life before boards is easy. You see, all you have to do is focus, and study. Not much else. Outside life may fall by the wayside, but it’s ok, because you have a pretty good excuse.

    Then, after boards comes a whirlwhind of everything you put on hold! It has been an avalanche of activity since March 19th. In fact, I’ve probably only had two or three days since in which I had absolutely nothing planned. I wouldn’t have it any other way, though.

    I’ll briefly summarize everything since then in one word: finale. For example, I gave my last tour as a Student Ambassador during Discover Optometry, and I couldn’t have asked for a better ending to my Ambassador career. I believe that in the future, SCO will be seeing many of those bright students interested in optometry, and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to represent the school in this regard.

    There are other finales underway as well. This is my last semester of classes, after all (Good riddance, hmm?). My last set of finals, my last intramural games. Last official school portraits. Last club meetings, for me anyway.

    Last time in which I’ll be in constant proximity to some of my closest friends before the fourth year diaspora. Of all the things I’ve mentioned, this coupled with the fact that these could possibly be my last few months of living in Memphis have me a bit pensive.  It’s not fair, how quickly time accelerates without my permission. Duplicitous, even. But with or without my leave, time rolls on, and the symphony of my third year approaches its conclusion.

    Finale closely resembles the word “finally, ” if you think about it. As in, with the conclusion of this school year, I am finally at the threshold of my goals, my dreams. However, this finale comes with the bittersweet understanding that this exciting chapter of my life is coming to a close, and I’ll only come back to it in memories, pictures, and stories about the old days.

    Goes without saying…the next few months will be spent coming up with a few more memories to recall, pictures to share, and stories to tell when that time comes!

    Amy Puerto

    500 Multiple Choice Questions Later…I’m Back!


    Hello Blogosphere:

    Oh, how I’ve missed you all these past few months! Thank you for your patience, it’s been a rough winter in Memphis. Beyond the snow, sleet, and pounding winds that have uncharacteristically defined our spring semester, the Class of 2015 was fighting deep in the trenches of studying for our Part 1 Boards.

    SAY WHAT?! Yes, time has seriously flown that quickly readers! Since November (and probably much earlier for some of my classmates,) I have been preparing for the first of three boards exams I will be taking within the next year. On March 18-19, 131 of my classmates and I took the longest 500 multiple choice question test in our lives- talk about pressure! The exam covered all aspects of our optometric education, including ocular and systemic disease, binocular vision and visual perception, pharmacology, neuroscience, ophthalmic optics/physics, and even cellular biology harkening back to our undergrad sciences. It’s really been quite a marathon of mental training and comprehension- and in the end, the connections definitely started clicking!!

    After the many, MANY hours of studying, it’s hard to believe that in 14 hours of boards test–poof–it was all over. In a way, it’s bittersweet. While it’s been an exhausting experience, I feel I’ve accomplished a lot in my studies and hope all the hard work pays off. My classmates have brilliant minds, and we’ve really held each other accountable in our study preparations. As you can imagine, I’ve got high hopes my classmates might break records like our SCO Class of 2014 predecessors have done with their Part 2 Boards, and garner ourselves a 100% passage rate! Without a doubt though, SCO provided us the strong background of clinical and scientific knowledge to master Boards. Combine that with SCO’s morning review sessions and the KMK boards review course, I can confidently say, my classmates and I were well-prepared for the variety of challenging questions that came our way. So now what? For starters, grading scantrons for all the 3rd year students across the U.S. can be quite the labor-intensive process. So even though we can add a few more hours back to our days with Part 1 out of the way, there’s still that lingering anxiety as we await our scores to be released in May. In that regard, please continue to keep those fingers crossed, prayers said, and plenty of ‘good lucks’ passed our way–the Class of 2015 can always use all the encouragement we can get!

    How did I keep mental fatigue at bay over the past few months? Let’s just say I have a new fondness for +0.50 reading glasses…and my usual running ;) I’m proud to say during my ‘study breaks’ I completed my second Winter Cross Country Road Race Series and the Germantown Half Marathon (2 days before boards at that!). I’ve included a few photos below:









    I’m heading to NYC for Vision Expo East next weekend, and will be sure to give you all a full report when I return. Thanks for hanging in there, blogosphere, during my extended Boards preparation, you wouldn’t believe how every minute counted towards my studying. I’m excited to be back and share more of my optometry adventures with you all!

    Carpe Diem,


    Lisa Russell

    Spring “Break”


    Howdy, readers! Spring Break is finally here for the students here at SCO. While it has been a great opportunity to catch up on sleep (and TV shows), a lot of students (including myself) are using this week off as more of a “catch-up” time than an actual break – especially the third-year students who have Part I of their National Boards next week!

    While the first-years may not have National Boards coming up, it is still a busy time at school. In addition to lots of exams and lab practicals on the horizon, we also have multiple scholarship and travel grant application deadlines approaching. I may have mentioned this in an earlier post, but one of the things I love about SCO is that the students are made very aware of every applicable scholarship application out there. I’ve been taking advantage of this as much as possible this year. My giant “Spring Break To-Do List” contains quite a few scholarship applications – two of which I completed today!

    Speaking of scholarships, I was actually just notified this morning that I have advanced to the regional level in a partner scholarship competition based on “The Future of Optometry.” While the first level of the competition was just a one-page business proposal about an optometric innovation idea, my partner and I will have to create a presentation or a video to present to judges at the regional level next month. The 21 optometry schools in the US are divided into eight regions for the regional competition. If we advance beyond the regional level, we will have the opportunity to showcase our idea on a national level at the American Optometric Association Optometry’s Meeting in Philadelphia in June! Besides the obvious financial benefit of applying for these scholarships, the competitions are also a great way to get a head start in networking within the profession. We are both very excited about the opportunity and we can’t wait to present our idea to the regional judges next month!

    Once we hit the books again after Spring Break, final exams, then summer break will be here before we know it. Just yesterday, the clinic I work at on weekends offered me a full-time position for the summer. I absolutely love working there and couldn’t be happier about having some solidified summer plans in Memphis! While summers in Memphis may be hot, it’ll feel wonderful to me compared to my last 18 summers spent in Houston, Texas – the most hot and humid place in the world.

    I hope everyone is having a wonderful break! Mine not might be spent somewhere sandy and sunny, but I am definitely enjoying all of this “catch-up” time and the absolutely beautiful weather we’ve been blessed with these past few days! I’m off to check more some more things off of my “to-do list,” but I’ll write again soon with more updates on the spring semester. :-)

    Virgilio Gozum

    Now Boarding


    As of this writing, I take Part I of the NBEO in six days. Six!

    How do I feel? Not quite like panic, but I do feel a growing sense of urgency. Nervousness. Brain is a little tired.

    The last time I studied like this was probably for the OAT, but even that can’t compare to the sheer volume of studying required for boards. Everything I’ve ever learned in optometry school thus far could be a question, just about.

    I suppose the last time I did something truly analagous to the past few months was back in high school. I participated in Academic Decathlon, a program of which some of you may be familiar. In a nutshell, Decathlon was a team-based knowledge competition. Nine students (three with A averages, three with B averages, and three with C averages) competed with other teams in subjects such as math, social science, science, music, literature, art, economics, speech, interview, and essay. The first seven subjects listed above centered around a different theme (ie, China my senior year, and the Renaissance my junior year).

    Particularly for my final year, Decathlon got pretty intense. I lived, ate, and breathed it for most of senior year. Therein lies a huge difference between then and now, I think. Learning from prior experience, I honestly have been more relaxed this time around with studying. Let the information flow. Plus, the semester doesn’t stop simply because boards are around the corner. Classes still have tests, patients still come to clinic, clubs still have events and need leading. When studying for boards, balance becomes more important than ever.

    Another difference is the type of material, of course. Do I remember much about climatology, or the order of dynasties in China? Ha! I once could rattle off everything about those topics. But of course, with boards, I will need this information for the rest of my career, so hopefully I’ll retain everything that I need.

    Studying for boards, just like preparing for Decathlon, is certainly a grueling, difficult process. It may seem like an impossibility, but remember that classes upon classes of optometrists passed them too; as will you. You will be well prepared, and you know more than you realize. Ha, I say this for you as much as I say it for me (…maybe more so for me!) Indeed, I will need such confidence six days from now. But until then – back to review!

    Lauren Lusardi

    Notes, Tegrity, and survival


    Between studying for exams, practicing every day for the next upcoming practical, and preparing for my SVOSH mission trip to Colombia, I often wonder how I can keep my head on straight. And that’s what made me think of the perfect topic for this blog. No, it’s not my first roadtrip vacation to New Orleans and Nashville, which I’m about to take over spring break, nor is it how I finally got my anterior segment exam practical time to under 8 minutes (woo hoo!). My topic is SCO’s note-taking service and Tegrity.

    If you are an SCO student, you owe your lives and sanity to one or both of these things. Don’t even pretend that you don’t. You might be smiling and nodding your head right now. Prospective students, listen up because I’m about to rock your world.

    You know when you professor just said a super complicated procedure, and you missed writing the entire thing down because your jaw was on the floor and confusion was in your eyes? You can’t ask your neighbor because they are either in the same boat as you or weren’t paying attention because they just beat another level of Candy Crush. You are lost and have no hope of getting the right information. I felt that way more times than I could count during my organic chemistry classes in undergrad. But that fear and foreboding does not exist at SCO because of a wonderful invention called Tegrity.

    Tegrity is a program used at SCO that records an audio, video, and computer screenshots of every single lecture. After the class is over you can log into the Tegrity website to watch the class again and pick up anything you might have missed. This is a great tool for audio learners right before an exam. You can relax in class and not worry about catching every single word because you know you can just relisten to it at your own pace later.

    Now, what if taking notes was just never your thing. I’m talking to you, the one whose doodles are intertwined with the steps of transcription and translation. Well, you can have perfect notes for every class as well. Every class has a class note-taker. It is this person’s job to take notes for the class and up load them every week to our class website. Between taking notes in class, relistening to the Tegrity, and looking at the note-taker’s notes, there are no excuses for why you may have missed a piece of information. I have been a note-taker for two semesters (and so has Feyi and Lisa-other bloggers!) and have benefited tremendously from writing notes and reading the other notes. I know that if I didn’t understand a specific topic, I can look at the class notes and see it explained in another way.

    When the stress of the semester hits, have no fear because Tegrity and class notes are here! Prospective students- SCO has the tools and resources to help you succeed in the classroom. The class of 2014 didn’t have a 100% passage rate of Part 2 of National Boards for nothing. I’m sure the class of 2015 will be setting the bar high with their sitting of Part 1 in a few weeks. Me? The other 2016ers and I just want to make it thought pre-clinic checkouts, exams, and practicals in one piece. But that is the fun of optometry school. Don’t you want to be a part of this legacy also?

    Feyi Aworunse

    Thinking Like a Doctor: In and Out of the Classroom


    Hello beautiful people!

    I’m finding myself halfway through spring semester of second year and wondering, where has all the time gone? With days filled with labs, lectures, conferences, extracurricular and social events, time really does fly by! On the academic front, our courses have had more emphasis on patient-cases and treatment protocols. It’s been great to finally use what we’ve been learning during the past year and a half and apply it to the discussion of patient based cases. Our labs have also had a special emphasis on new techniques in regards to anterior segment evaluations and various technologies used in the The Eye Center. And I must not forget our preparations for Pre-Clinic checkouts at the end of the semester. It’s evident that everything we are learning and practicing is geared towards ensuring that my classmates and I are prepared to see our very first patient in a few months!

    As part of the Hayes Center for Practice Excellence, we have career counseling sessions throughout our time at SCO, beginning in first year. The second-year class has the opportunity to meet with one of the clinic chiefs to discuss our specialty interests, goals and plans after graduation (and remind us that it’ll be here before we know it!). It’s never too early to begin working towards the career goals and plans we have — whether it’s completing a residency, joining/starting a practice, research, or the other numerous avenues available.  My career counseling session definitely got my wheels spinning and gave me that additional motivation to continue to work towards my professional goals. I’m thankful for SCO for the fact that they not only prepare us to successfully obtain our O.D. degree, but also prepare us to become successful optometrists.

    Last week, over 40 students (including myself) had the opportunity to go to Nashville, TN with the Student Society of Tennessee Association Optometric Physicians for a “Day on the Hill” and Legislative Reception hosted by TAOP. Many students were able to meet with various state representatives and discuss the importance of our proposed bill, which is currently in legislation. We had the unique opportunity of sitting in on the Senate Health and Welfare Committee meeting and heard a budget presentation by the TN Department of Health. Later that evening at the reception, I had the opportunity to reunite with State Representatives I met at the Legislative Reception hosted by SCO in January and connect with new representatives as well. As a bonus, TAOP also provided Continuing Education (CE) courses that were open to students. I participated in the Women in Optometry segment where we discussed the impact of personality on patient communication, the importance of work-life balance, and personal branding. As a bonus, we also got to hear from the Speaker of the TN House of Representatives, Beth Harwell. She happens to represent my district back home in Nashville, so it was great chatting with her for a few moments. I’m definitely looking forward to next year’s trip for sure!

    1794623_10152232514526138_894727366_nSimilar to the experience I had in Washington, D.C. last semester at the AOA-PAC Congressional Advocacy Conference, this event further reminded me of the importance of remaining engaged in the political realm of optometry. Even as students, our presence and engagement in advocacy is of utmost importance. Not only does it give us insight as to what takes place in the legislative aspect of the profession, it prepares us to remain involved on a local and national level as optometric professionals. SCO administration, the AOSA, and the various State Clubs do a great job of making sure that we are informed about current events in legislation in regards to optometry. [Pictured above: ssTAOP members on the front steps of the Capitol Building (Nashville, TN) -- Photo Credit: Virgilio Gozum]

    In one of my previous posts, I mentioned my (then) upcoming trip to the American Academy of Optometry meeting in Seattle, WA. Well, I’m happy to say that I (along with 13 other SCO students) completed requirements for Student Fellowship during the meeting and received my pin in January! The Academy is an organization that has quickly captured my heart and there are many details of the trip that I want to share, so I’ll reserve those for a separate post. [Pictured below: AAO Student Fellow Class of 2013 at SCO (I'm on the front row and my big sib/fellow blogger, Amy, is at the top right!)--Photo Credit: Jim Hollifield]


    In additional exciting news, I was recently appointed as the AOSA National Liaison to the American Public Health Association! I, along with 4 other SCO students, have the honor of serving as National Liaisons to one of the 13 AOSA Allied Organizations. I’m elated and cannot wait to get started on promoting the importance of public health in optometry and involvement in the APHA and specifically, the Vision Care Section. I’m hopeful for an increased awareness and engagement in the matters of local and global public health among SCO students and optometry students nationwide. I’m definitely sure that I’ll have more on this topic in the future!

    As you can see, there’s much that goes into the life of an active optometry student, in and outside of the classroom. My schedule and to-do lists can be daunting at times, but I truly enjoy every moment of it. Like I always say, balance is key! Speaking of which, I must get back to prepping for these upcoming exams and practicals that I have to conquer before spring break and SECO in Atlanta, GA!

    Until next time,


    Preslee Trammell

    Springing Into Second Year


    Wow, I can’t believe it’s almost March! I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun! Honestly, the spring semester of my second year has gotten off to a lot smoother start than I anticipated. I’m used to the heavy course load by now, but I really was expecting it to be the toughest semester so far. But, like I said, it has been smooth sailing so far!

    I’ve realized this semester we are really focusing on eye health, ocular disease, and the clinical procedures and treatments that go along with these topics. I’m spending most of my time in the labs practicing the new techniques while also touching up the skills we have learned in previous semesters. As second-years, we are in labs 4 out of 5 days of the week. We have Wednesday mornings free, so if we’re lucky, we’ll get to sleep in sometimes. Most of the time though, we’re up early using our free time studying or practicing in the lab. We’ve realized how important it is to spend time outside of our scheduled lab periods to practice on our own. We often want some guidance, even outside of our lab time, and the professors are so great about working with us whenever we need it. The professors also have Wednesday mornings free, but most of the time they end up spending their spare time helping us in the lab. I even had one professor give up her lunch break to come help me last week before a practical! It’s pretty amazing how dedicated they are to making sure we are the best clinicians possible.

    My classmates and I also spend a lot of time in the labs after class in the late afternoons and even going into the night. The professors have usually gone home by that time, but don’t worry, SCO still has our backs: they provide Teaching Assistants in the labs during certain hours at night and even on the weekends. The TAs (as we call them) are work-study positions, so they are getting paid to be there, and we are getting the extra help we need. Usually the TAs are students from the class above us- so the TA for second-year lab is a third-year student. They have helped me tremendously! We are so lucky as students to have these amazing professors and older students to help us do the best we can. The third-year students are crazy busy studying for boards coming up in March, but they still take time to help all of us!

    Even when we’re not practicing in labs, we are doing many other things that go towards our clinical education. As second-year students, we get the opportunity to either go shadow in the Eye Center or go on a school screening somewhere in the community. I actually just got back from a school screening this morning where we screened about 70 four-year-olds! It was so fun, and allowed us to get so much practice on some of our basic clinical skills.

    So…next time you hear from me, I hope I can still say it’s still smooth sailing through this spring semester of second year! Spring break is coming up in a few weeks so you’ll probably be hearing from me again after that!

    Lisa Russell

    Student Ambassadors, the AOSA, and other February events!


    Happy Sunday! It’s been a few weeks since my last post and there have been a lot of exciting events taking place for the students at SCO. This month has been very special to me because after a professor nomination process and student interviews, I was chosen as one of the ten Student Ambassadors to represent the Class of 2017!

    The Student Ambassadors played a huge role in my decision to come to Memphis rather than staying in-state back home, so it means a lot to me that I can be in that position now for prospective students in the future.

    In addition to leading campus tours and assisting in the admissions interview processes, the Student Ambassadors help with events put on by SCO such as Homecoming and new student orientation events – as well as serving to represent the institution as a whole and to show the general public what SCO and optometry are all about.

    Last week I was able to tag along on a couple of campus tours to get an idea of what it will be like – it was an awesome experience! Needless to say, I am thrilled about the opportunity and I can’t wait to really get started and to get even more involved at SCO.


    In addition to the Student Ambassador interview process, the AOSA at SCO recently held applications and interviews for the Class of 2017 representatives. The AOSA (American Optometric Student Association) is the student branch of the AOA and it allows optometry students to work closely with the AOA to get an idea of what it’s all about. This past week, a new Trustee-Elect was selected as well as multiple Liaisons for various organizations affiliated with the AOSA. These students will play a role in SCO’s relations with the AOA and they will gain a lot of invaluable experience in the process. Congratulations, guys! I can’t wait until the AOA Optometry’s Meeting in Philadelphia this summer!

    School is going well this semester – I’m loving that our classes are becoming more clinical and we’re starting to have to think like doctors for the first time. So exciting! On that note, it’s hard to believe that Spring Break is only a couple weeks away. A number of my classmates will be attending the SECO Convention in Atlanta over the break, which is a great conference and a wonderful opportunity to learn a little more about life as an optometrist. Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it this year, but I can’t wait to hear about it from those who are going!

    Other than the information on the Student Ambassadors and the AOSA representatives, there aren’t a whole lot of updates to share from the last few weeks. Thanks so much to those of you who wished me luck at the New Orleans Rock ‘n Roll marathon a few weeks ago! My time wasn’t fantastic, but I did run the whole 13.1 miles without stopping so I was very happy. I am pretty jealous of Ben who ran the full 26.2 miles – I don’t think I could ever run a full marathon, but I have a lot of respect for those who can! I’m not sure what’s next for me in the running world, but I definitely plan to run in the St. Jude Marathon this December – weather permitting. :-)


    Lisa Russell

    Spring Semester Happenings


    Howdy! Now that the spring semester is picking up speed, I have a little more to share. We haven’t had a lot of exams yet this semester, but we did have a practical in our Theory & Methods lab last week. This lab serves as our pre-clinical training and it is a great way to learn all of our clinical skills and exam procedures because we get to sit as each other’s patients. Lab is a lot of fun because we get to work with our classmates in a hands-on setting to find the best way to perform skills that we’ll be doing on real patients for the rest of our lives.

    Before I started at SCO last semester, I joked to my friends about how all of my classmates would want to have me as their patient for lab practicals because I have such “easy” eyes. I have a small myopic prescription, no astigmatism, big pupils, and no eye problems… so I thought. After only a couple of weeks in Theory & Methods lab last semester, I learned more about my own eyes than I ever could have expected. It turns out, my eyes are anything but “easy.”

    Throughout the course of the semester, I learned that I am a very high esophore, an intermittent alternating esotrope when I’m tired, I suppress my left eye when I read and my right eye when I am looking at a distance (so I lack depth perception – oops!), and I have an accommodative spasm. While this might sound like jargon to somebody who isn’t taking a Theory & Methods course, it was a huge eye opener for me (excuse the pun!) It was an invaluable and educational experience because it taught me how tricky it can be to diagnose patients when they THINK they are asymptomatic. I had no idea that I had any visual problems, but once I knew what problems I have I was very aware of the symptoms – it just took some digging. Long story short, I start vision therapy at the Eye Center tomorrow afternoon and hopefully my brain will let me start using both of my eyes soon!

    Besides educating myself about my crazy eyes, there have been a lot of other exciting things to occupy my time this year! I was recently elected as a paid class note-taker for one of our courses this semester, which means I get to make detailed notes and outlines for my classmates every week. I’m really excited about this because I love making fancy notes and charts (I’m a little bit of a nerd.) While it might be a little time consuming, it’ll help me really learn the material for that course (Visual Sensation & Perception) in addition to helping my classmates, so I’m thrilled about the opportunity.

    I think I mentioned this in my previous post, but I was all signed up to run in the St. Jude Memphis (Half) Marathon in December before it was cancelled due to bad weather. One of the options St. Jude gave us was to transfer our registration to another race, so that’s exactly what I did. This Saturday, I’m heading to New Orleans to run in the New Orleans Rock & Roll Marathon on SuperBowl Sunday! I haven’t had time to train as much as I would have liked, but hopefully I can finish the 13.1 miles and head back to Memphis tired and happy on Sunday night!

    On another note, this past weekend was one of the best events of the year – SCO’s Eye Ball! The Eye Ball was a dressy evening occasion downtown at the beautiful Cadre Building. A lot of students were able to make it and it was a great opportunity to meet students in other classes as well as our classmates’ spouses and significant others. The event was a blast – it’s always so great to spend time with everybody outside of school. While my boyfriend Ben was my date on Saturday night, I didn’t miss out on the opportunity to take a fancy photo with my favorite pup. :-)

    eyeball louieball

    Virgilio Gozum

    Circle of (Optometry School) Life


    Well, hello there, so good to see you in 2014!

    This semester is going to be a fun one. Third years have a little academic exercise in March called National Boards…should be a piece of cake, hmm? (Ha!) I’m sure I’ll be talking about that more a little bit later.

    But as a sign of how far I’ve come, I’ve had a few noteworthy circle-of-life moments recently. Early on in the semester, SCO had a legislative reception to show some of our local and state representatives our new academic complex. ssTAOP (the Student Society of the Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians, if you recall) was invited to participate, and it was a fantastic way to meet a few of our legislators and Tennessee doctors.

    After a few years of being in TAOP, I can say that I’ve learned a lot about how to interact with legislators and practicing doctors. As a happy introvert, meeting people in group settings has always been rather difficult for me. So, imagine me and my first year self, tossed into a circumstance in which all sorts of legislators and optometry enthusiasts were mingling merrily in Nashville, and I had no idea where to begin, or even how to start. Luckily, however, there was a third year around who let me follow her as she worked the crowd.

    Fast forward to that legislative reception later on. At some point, I noticed that one of the first years was in similar straits, so I approached her. “Have you talked to anyone yet?”

    “No, not really,” she said.

    “Well then, let’s talk to some legislators,” I said, and we approached a representative from West Tennessee. She did wonderfully.

    The other moment came after a recent SVOSH meeting. Another first year asked me, “You seem to be really involved in a lot of things on campus – how do you balance it all?”

    I had to smile after that encounter, because I can remember asking that very same question, verbatim, to the SVOSH Vice President at the time (come to think of it, he was a Student Ambassador as well…), and there I stood, roles reversed.

    And I answered him this way just as I was once answered. Balance is a very important part of optometry school. You do have to find your own unique balance between all sorts of different pressures: academic, group, social, family, health, etc. Thus, it is different for each person. But, I can say that being balanced now will help you much later, when those same pressures are still present, but amplified (soon, you’ll be a doctor, after all!)

    Yes, academics are highly important. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. However, consider this, too. You can learn so much about optometry outside of the classroom. By joining different types of clubs on campus, you can begin to fold so many perspectives on optometry into your own repertoire of knowledge, thus making you a more informed and more capable doctor. Furthermore, often these clubs will open doors for you in ways you won’t realize until you’ve stepped through them.

    So, all in all, don’t be afraid of busy. Busy is good. By incorporating additional commitments into your balance (if you can), and by learning to find that balance between all these commitments, you will make yourself a much stronger student, and more importantly, a better doctor one day.

    And so the circle of optometry school life keeps turning. Fresh first years will eventually give way to third years who run the student body, and in turn those third years make quick transitions to fourth year externs and finally doctorhood. It really is quite amazing to consider, and it seems like it just happens in the blink of an eye.

    Speaking of which… in a blink of an eye it will probably be the morning of March 18. On that note, I should probably return to studying for boards! We’ll chat again soon. In the meantime, dear friends…be wonderful!