I cannot believe how quickly this semester is flying by. Somehow it is already the end of week 9, and my fellow first years and I have survived our first round of midterms.
To be honest, adjusting to being in class for nearly 8 hours each day while still finding sufficient time to study, sleep, grocery shop, and relax has been difficult at times. I have never taken as many classes in a semester as I am currently taking. I spend more time studying than I have ever before, and it is still easy to feel overwhelmed by everything I am expected to learn. My busy schedule has forced me to change up the way that I study in order to learn more efficiently and thoroughly.
When I was visiting various optometry schools during my application process, many current students told me that they spent a lot of time studying with their classmates. As someone who studied almost exclusively on my own during undergrad, I remember thinking, “oh, that will never be me”. But this year I tried studying with my classmates more, and it was one of the best decisions I could have made. At first, leaving the comfort of my previous study routine, albeit a slow and somewhat lonely one, added to the stress I was already feeling about taking exams in general. However, studying with my classmates helped me hold myself accountable for keeping up with the material and made me aware of what I did and did not understand. Actively quizzing ourselves helped us all gain a deeper understanding of the material as well. Best of all, the encouragement and support we gave each other helped make studying more fun. I won’t soon forget the time I spent with my classmates studying histology slides in the lab late into the night (well supplied with snacks, of course) to prepare for our first practical.
Even though optometry school requires a lot of dedication and hard work, I have already learned so much—both in the classroom and about myself. Of all the things I learned while preparing for this first round of midterms, the importance of embracing change and trying new things is one of the most meaningful lessons yet.