It’s Still Early in the Mountains!

Greetings from the Land of Enchantment!

So, somehow, despite my best intentions, it has once again been many moons since my last opt school update. In the last post, I was just beginning to adjust to life as a 4th year, and eagerly looking forward to my upcoming rotations and travels, and now, here I am – nearly halfway through my final rotation, and a mere two months from graduation. I know it’s a recurring theme in my posts, but time truly does fly. What have I been up to? Check it out!

August of 2018 began my last rotation in the Columbus area. For this, I jumped between clinics at the College of Optometry and clinics in the surrounding areas. Over these past months, I have realized the impossibility of determining a favorite rotation, as they are all so unique. On Mondays, I spent the day in a joint OD/MD practice getting as much exposure to ocular disease as I could. This was my first time really seeing any ocular disease, so I loved the opportunity to grow more comfortable in the diagnosis and treatment of various conditions. On Wednesday’s, I had the opportunity to be at The Ohio State School for the Blind in the mornings, and Twin Valley Behavioral health in the afternoons. Both places provided exceptionally unique experiences that I doubt I’ll ever be able to replicate. Finally, on Fridays, I worked with a well-known private practice optometrist in the Columbus area and gained more exposure to the ins and outs of owning a business. As much as I enjoyed my time here, however, come November, I was ready for a new adventure outside of the Columbus area. So, I packed my bags (and mom) into my little car and headed south to beautiful North Carolina.

Before beginning my rotation, however, it was only fitting to make good use of my allotted week of vacation, this time, in the form of a trip to San Antonio for the annual American Academy of Optometry meeting. For those of you who may not know about Academy, it’s a 4ish day conference full of continuing education lectures, presentations by vendors, and networking opportunities.) This was my first time in attendance at Academy, and it turned out to be a great experience – even if I’m not sure which I enjoyed more, the conference itself, or my explorations of San Antonio.. 🙂 After a whirlwind trip though, it was time to return to my new reality – life at the VA.

For me, VA life was a solid adjustment. While I was fortunate to be assigned to a location with free, on-campus housing, after living at the EYE house, I was unaccustomed to the silence that permeated the living quarters regardless of the hours. In addition, from the first day, we as externs were in charge of the complete care of 7-9 patients, many of whom had multiple ocular diseases. This was a significant change from life in Columbus where a crazy day might entail 3-5 healthy patients. I admittedly went home from clinic may nights overwhelmed and discouraged, feeling that I would never be able to reach the standards that the attendings held for me. After time, boards, and a few understanding conversations with close friends, however, I came to appreciate life at the hospital. Through countless failures, I began to realize the importance of challenges to promote growth – as an individual and clinician alike. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the veterans and loved learning from the doctors who I was working with. And so, despite my early frustrations, I was surprisingly sad to see my time at the clinic come to an end in late January.

This sorrow, however, was short-lived.

Anyone who knows me can probably attest to my ridiculous energy and general love of adventure. From this point, it should come as no surprise then that I was eager to hop in the car with my faithful travel guide (thanks, Dad!) and begin my first official (27+ hour) cross-country road-trip.

It. Was. Amazing.

No, there aren’t pictures, because when I wasn’t driving, it was too dark to get pictures of the scenery. However, I may have been reminded a few (dozen) times to keep my eyes on the road instead of the scenery around me. I was captivated. Every new state held new wonders – from the bayous and swamps of Louisiana, to the ranches, deserts, mesas, and mountains of Texas. I loved it all.

Eventually, after 4 days on the road (and a residency interview along the way), we made it to the Land of Enchantment, just for me to fall in love once more – with my house, my town, my coworkers and job, and, of course, all of the unbelievable scenery around me.

I may never leave.

But that’s a decision for another day. Until then, I’ll keep enjoying this crazy awesome life that I am blessed to be living. Hope y’all do the same!

‘Til the next time