First things first, I neglected to post back in May about our White Coat ceremony. It was really nice to finally reach the day of White Coat and celebrate all the hard work we put in this year. It’s kind of a weird thing to think about, at least of me, because really it’s just a coat and it’s white. I’ve worn white lab coats before as part of working in a chemistry lab but this was different. It’s hard to describe the experience perfectly but it was a feeling of great accomplishment mixed with “wow, this is real. I’m on my may to actually becoming a doctor.” It’s extremely exciting to be moving onto learning clinical stuff this fall but it’s also a bit nerve-racking at the same time because there is still a ton to be learned.
Besides White Coat, this summer has been pretty low key – just how I wanted it since this is our only summer completely off from school. Primarily I’ve been working in an optometrist office and enjoying free time as much possible. Working in the office has been a great experience so far. The first year of school is so much book work that we barely, if at all, touch the surface of the business side of the profession. Working in the office this summer has been a huge learning experience for me in understanding the business side of optometry. Learning how to read and understand insurance policies, working with electronic health records, and begin learning the optical side of things such as glasses and contacts is going to be really valuable after graduation. Some people have suggested to avoid working in anything optometry related this summer given it’s the only break between now and essentially retirement but personally it’s been really rewarding since I had never worked directly in the optometric field before. I would definitely recommend getting some experience working in a office either during school like myself or even working in an office before entering optometry school. It’s really valuable to see the other side of the profession and understand what you like/dislike as well as what you would be getting into.
The big event of the summer though was traveling to Seattle Washington back at the end of June for Optometry’s Meeting, which is held annually by the American Optometric Association (AOA). The meeting was really a great experience. I got to attend some really interesting talks as well as network a little bit with some Ohio State alumni and fellow students from other schools. I even got to run into some fellow students I got to know from my trip to DC back in April (see previous blog post) so that was really fun. The meeting was also a great opportunity to hear about and see some of the newest technology and products being developed in the field. Admittedly I did not completely grasp all the information from the talks or technology but I definitely felt like I was able to hold my own and that I really knew some things already from first year so that was really cool.
Probably the big highlight of the entire meeting was going to the Optometry Student Bowl! The entire event is staged like a big game of Jeopardy (minus having to answer in the form of a question) and includes a representative from each of the 23 schools in the US and Canada. Contestants are typically 3rd year students and at Ohio State our representative is decided by hosting out own mini Student Bowl in the winter. This year Bridget McMurray was our contestant and it was thrilling to cheer her on from the first round all the way to the finals. Bridget didn’t pull out the victory but we were all really proud of her performance!
The student bowl is also a chance to be a bit crazy, a bit rowdy, and show some serious school pride. While waiting for the doors to open for the event, numerous cheers and chants are being yelled back and forth between all the schools, all in good spirit. Each school comes up with a theme (ours being the undisputed champions of college football) and develop the best costumes and shirt design. While waiting, we may have busted out a few football cheers to go along with our theme as well a smattering of OH-IO chants. Once the doors open it’s a mad dash (literally) to get a collection of seats together as a school and at least to my knowledge, no optometry students were harmed in the process of acquiring seats. From there it’s a raucous event filled with lots of entertainment, lots of fun, and lots of cheering and school chants until a champion is crowned. If you’re ever at an Optometry’s Meeting in the future, the Optometry Student Bowl is a must.
Even with being in Seattle mainly for the conference there was plenty of time to go explore town. The group I traveled with hit up many of the sights such as Pike’s Place Market (including the original Starbucks, of course), the Space Needle, a Seattle Mariners game, and many others. A big highlight was taking a day trip out to Mount Rainier National Park and hiking around for the day. The park itself was gorgeous and the weather was ideal. Maybe it’s a good thing Ohio doesn’t have mountains because otherwise we all may not study enough…
I am posting a handful of photos from our travels around town and Mount Rainier below so I hope you enjoy them. Otherwise it’s going to be a quick 5 weeks until the start of school. But I’m looking forward to it, this year should be another great year!