by Virgilio Gozum
Going to be honest here. Most of this blog post was written right after the end of spring semester. For one reason or another, however, I never fully connected all my thoughts together. First, after finals I went to the spring TAOP meeting in Florida. Then, I began the process of moving to a new apartment. Next, I had an awesome time in Merida, Mexico, for SVOSH, and now I’m in the middle of my career as a fourth year intern at SCO. Time whooshes by, and if I’m not careful the summer will pass by without a word from me here.
But let’s talk about what I meant to say before I got distracted by…everything. I wanted to talk about the Class of 2015.
It’s interesting to see how far we’ve come since the very beginning. Scattered strangers were we before the fall of 2011. From California to Nova Scotia we hailed, scarcely aware that roughly 130 other souls would soon cross paths with ours.
Suffice it to say that a lot has happened since then for the Class of 2015. Lectures and practicals led to school screenings, which soon gave way to checkouts and clinic. Part I of the NBEO followed our initial clinical experiences, and now here we are: 4th years, externs, almost-doctors.
How did we get here so quickly? Where did all the time go? These are questions everybody has been asking recently, and there really is no good answer. No matter what, however, it is supremely evident than none of us got to this point by ourselves. Everyone has had a little help from their friends, fellow 2015ers who have helped carry the burdens of optometry school.
My summer group, I can confidently tell you, is pretty awesome. We will soon be preparing for Part III of boards (the clinical one, in Charlotte, North Carolina) together. However, roughly 90 other classmates are right now elsewhere. While I definitely miss many, many people in my class (more than I can mention here!), certain people come to mind for purposes of this blog post. Allow me to introduce you to just a small sample of the people in my class who have made these past few years some of the most memorable thus far.
I’m not sure if in my head I’ve ever formally named this group of people, but I’ve always associated them in the same circle relative to me. But this group, consisting of Mark, Jordan, Maddie, Kaitlin, and Kelly, is a nerdy one, and proudly so. (My kind of group!) So, I am now retroactively calling this group The Nerds, at least in my head.
Have you seen the Lego Movie? “Everything is awesome?!” is a phrase in that movie, which I saw with The Nerds plus my roommate Andy. Indeed, we have had many legendary game nights and a few trivia nights with some assortment of this group, and everything was in fact awesome.
After that movie, we all headed to a Ben and Jerry’s nearby and spent nearly an two hours enjoying each other’s company. Checkers was played, piano keys were tickled, songs were sung. As Mark, Andy, and I burst into “Do You Hear the People Sing” from Les Mis, I wistfully realized that such fun, spontaneous outings with my classmates would soon be a thing of the past. Future gatherings will have to be planned out, and this sentiment has weighed heavily in my thoughts of late.
Carissa, Aaron, Jessica, Alanna, and Kaeli. I have spent a lot of time with these people; they’re among my closest friends in my class. This is quite an active group – I’ve played many a sport with some combination of these people: Frisbee, tennis, basketball, volleyball, flag football. We’ve celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving together. We’ve also participated in many school events, as well. All except for Aaron have participated in SVOSH at least once, and Alanna and Kaeli were SVOSH officers with me. Also, I have been involved in TAOP with this group (with the exception of Kaeli), and we have attended many events for the future of our profession.
I will sorely miss the proximity of this group as fourth year continues. Our friendships are an honest, simple, genuine kind, the sort that you look for in lifelong friendships. I’m glad to have them.
The regular absence of three particular classmates in my life will be most painfully felt on a daily basis: my brothers, Pinto, Michael, and roommate Andy. Oh goodness, how I miss these three. We’ve seriously run the full gamut of optometry school friendship. From practical practicing to last-minute test preparations to TAOP/SVOSH/RAM events to Eye Balls and eyeballs, we’ve survived and done it all together.
We’ve played the same combination of sports as noted above with The Gang. We’ve lost our voices cheering for the Grizzlies. We’ve run the Urban Dare scavenger hunt, and Pinto and I were a Main Street and a balloon sword away from winning this year’s after placing third last time. We’ve celebrated new love and supported each other through heartache. I honestly cannot imagine optometry school without my bros.
I remember when I met these three. Andy had posted to my Facebook wall and asked if I really did speak 21 languages, as Facebook suggests. Eventually we talked about becoming roommates, and looking back, I have never been more thankful for a Facebook post. As for Pinto and Michael, I met them at some first year orientation pool party when we noticed that all the Asians in our class were somehow standing in a circle. We talked of our common experiences at UT schools, and we’ve been friends since. Now, here we are, fourth year externs at SCO in different semesters: me in the summer, Michael in the fall, and Andy and Pinto in the spring. At least we had an awesome time saving vision in Mexico for SVOSH!
As I dwell on these things in my too-quiet apartment, I take note of an important distinction between high school/undergraduate friendships and those made during optometry school. Friendships made before optometry school form the foundation upon which other connections later in life are built. However, there is a key difference: optometry school friends will also be colleagues as optometric physicians. That in itself is a link that will continue to connect all of us and will help sustain our professional careers in the future. We won’t just be friends in the future, we will all be optometrists, and darn good ones at that.
Thus it was true, that scattered strangers were we in the fall of 2011…but scattered friends and colleagues we will be for a lifetime after graduation in the spring of 2015. So here’s to you, Class of 2015. Thanks for all the memories these past few years, and good luck with the rest of this final year of our adventure called optometry school.
I get by with a little help from my friends.