Well, the second year is already off to a very quick start. Week 4 is already in the books somehow and the semester is hitting full gear. This week saw us take our first tests of the semester and next week has two more along with our first clinical skills proficiency.
Despite all the work in keeping up with notes and studying like we did last year, this year we are in the preclinic area learning all of the skills we’ll use in a routine exam. Learning all of that has been really exciting and rewarding. It’s really fun to go to lab each week to learn all the stuff we came to school for and I’m already starting to feel more like a true “doctor” each week. You can see me hard at work in the picture to the left.
In addition I’m the president of Optometry Ambassadors this year and combined with my involvement in a handful of other organizations at school, the start of the semester has been very hectic. A lot of meetings, classes, and studying has primarily been my life the last 4 weeks. Having good organizational skills has definitely been my friend recently.
Looking ahead over the next couple weeks, a few tests and clinic proficiencies remain but after getting through all that I will be headed to the annual East West Conference in Cleveland. East West is similar to the American Optometric Conference I went to in Seattle over the summer, just more regional and not as large. A lot of our professors at Ohio State speak at East West for continuing education so the entire college in a way moves to Cleveland for the weekend. It should be a lot of fun, just like Seattle. I’ll be sure to write a wrap-up in a few weeks. Until then, back to studying and practicing my skills!
P.S. – I hope you like the theme change! New year, new theme.
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!
Every spring, members and student members of the American Optometric Association descend on Washington DC for the annual Congressional Advocacy Conference. I mentioned in my last post that I was going to get the opportunity to make the trip this year, so here’s a recap of all that we did and of course a handful of photos!
Departure day. The conference didn’t start until Sunday late afternoon but my traveling partners, Amber and Taylor, and I figured we’d make a weekend of it and I’m very glad we did. Instead of going to DC on Saturday we decided to go to Baltimore for the day and night since Taylor’s boyfriend lives in Baltimore. The day started early, with a departure around 8:30 am so we could get into town mid-afternoon and still do things around Baltimore. While my classmates went out around town for the day and night, I headed downtown. If you have read my “About Kevin” page, you’re likely well aware I am a huge baseball fan – so much so that no matter what city I’m traveling to, I’m bound to check the local baseball schedules to see if anyone was playing at home. I think I could get written out of the family will if I didn’t…
Regardless, the scheduling worked out perfectly because the hometown Baltimore Orioles were home for a weekend series and I had never been to a game at Camden Yards! Besides finally getting a new ballpark for my list (now at 21 current and former stadiums), an added benefit to all of this was getting to go to the game with my older brother! He actually lives in DC, so he made a trip up to Baltimore to go to the game. The Orioles won, we got to enjoy Baltimore a bit, and the weekend was off to a great start.
My brother and I hung around Baltimore in the morning since neither of us had spent lots of time there. We grabbed some brunch and then ended up out at Fort McHenry, the site of the battle for Battle for Baltimore in the War of 1812. Fort McHenry is infamous for holding off the British and inspiring Francis Scott Key to pen the words to The Star-Spangled Banner. It was really interesting to see how they built these forts back in the day. Forts are surprisingly ingenious. It has multiple tiers, providing different levels of protection and is highly organized to keep people out and help more those inside effectively. My favorite by far though was the bomb shelter, complete with circa 1800s air vents.
After visiting the fort, we traveled down to DC. In DC I met up with Taylor and Amber, we checked into the hotel and then had a couple hours to kill before the first event of the conference. In the second fortuitous scheduling event of the weekend, the cherry blossoms were in full, and I literally mean, full bloom! We made our way down to the tidal basal, around the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial. If you get a chance, go check out the cherry blossoms. They were absolutely gorgeous. Be prepared to fight the massive crowds, but the trees don’t leave you disappointed as evidenced by my many photos of them.
After visiting the blossoms, the conference started with a welcome reception. That was a great time to mingle with doctor and students from other schools. In total, 11 students from Ohio State went to the conference and we all finally got to meet at the reception and meet many of the doctors from Ohio. A large number of the Ohio doctors are the members of the board for the Ohio Optometric Association (OOA) but we also met a number of others who were Ohio State alums. What is really neat about Ohio State Optometry is that the connections made at the school span all sense of time. Even with just being a first year (almost second year!) I felt as if I had been part of the Ohio delegation for 10 plus years. It’s really neat to see that the pride and excitement everyone has Ohio State never goes away. Side note: if you’re ever at an optometric conference and want to find where the Ohio State crew is, just shout a quick “O-H!” – you’ll hear us.
The reception was also a nice opportunity to meet other students who were there. I got to connect with some first year students from Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) and chat about their experience this year. It was interesting to hear how similar and different each of our programs are, especially since I had considered going to PCO.
Not a lot really happened on Monday. For most of it we were in meetings about the legislation we were going to be advocating for on Tuesday. In the evening after our meetings, the members of the OOA took all the students out for dinner. It was a great meal and a unique opportunity to chat and learn from doctors who are high up within the profession in Ohio. It also was a great chance to learn about the profession that occurs outside of the classroom we’ve been sitting in all year and in some ways, I think that’s equally important.
Seeing as we were leaving almost immediately after Tuesdays meeting to get back to Columbus, Monday was our last free time in DC to explore. Some of us ended up going down to the monuments at night, which is a really near experience. It’s a lot quieter since the crowds of the day have left and you can really enjoy the monuments I think. A crew of us ended up at the Lincoln Memorial and enjoyed a really nice spring evening.
Tuesday – Hill Visit Day!
Tuesday of the conference is “descend on the hill” day and it’s nothing short of that. Some 500 doctors and students from all around the country all hit the capitol to meet with as many representative and senators as possible. Collectively all 11 of us students were assigned to different congressmen and women from Ohio. In most cases we ended up talking with aids for the member of congress but I felt like each meeting was productive and effective in explaining the issues facing optometry and why our proposed legislation should be considered. Everyone we met with seemed receptive to our proposals and even if nothing else comes of it in the short term, getting the opportunity to directly talk with the men and women who represent us is a very unique experience. Hopefully I’ll be able to go again next year, school schedule permitting of course. Who knows, maybe I’ll get to another baseball game if the Washington Nationals are home next season!
Other than the DC trip. the mad dash to the end of the year is here. We had a neuroanatomy lab practical today and classes end on Monday. Finals begin on Wednesday and wrap around the weekend to the following Tuesday. The following week is something we call Keystone, a program designed to the best of my knowledge, to pull all of 1st year together. The light at the end of the tunnel of the next 2-3 weeks is our White Coat ceremony we’ve been working so hard this year to get to. I can’t wait for that day and the feeling that all the hard work over the course of the school will have paid off. It will be a special day and a very well earned reward for all of us.
Who knew Christmas came in March in Optometry school? Well it certainly does in first year.
About a week and a half ago we all finally got our hands on our own personal equipment we had been hearing about all year and it was a great reward at the end of a tough week. Coincidence or not, equipment pickup day was conveniently on a Friday afternoon right after a week in which we had 3 exams – one Monday, one Wednesday and one Friday. No doubt it was some great motivation for a long, tough week.
Getting the equipment has been great though. Regardless of if I really know what to do with my equipment it has started to make all of it start to feel even more real. Next fall we start into learning all of our clinic techniques and I’ll become intimately familiar with all this equipment to the point it will become second nature. But right now the novelty certainly hasn’t worn off just yet. I may or may not get some of my stuff out from time to time just to take a study break and shine bright lights all over the room.
We did get to use our ophthalmoscope and retinoscope in optics lab this week and that was pretty interesting. We’ve talked about the principles behind how ophthalmoscopy and retinoscopy work but to actually see it in action and in real human eyes was pretty cool.
Getting the equipment has been a long time coming and a sign that we’re starting to move a bit into 2nd year. Personally, I’m eager and excited to get into learning the skills we’ll use to apply everything we’ve been learning all year.
It’s also a going to be a bit of a mad dash to the finish. We still have a couple midterms and a practical before classes end in just under 3 weeks now. I made that realization the other day and wondered to myself, “how is that possible?” Finals begin in 3 weeks, following by a weeklong course called Keystone which ties together a lot of what we learned in first year together to solve a case study. Between then and now though, there are numerous end of the year meetings, elections of new positions, and of course, plenty of studying to be done.
Despite all of that I am headed out to Washington DC this weekend for the American Optometric Associations Congressional Advocacy Conference. The conference is an opportunity for students, doctors, and teachers from all around the country to go to DC and advocate to our congressmen and women to support issues related to optometry. It’s been on the calendar now for a long time and I’ve only heard great things about the experience from students who have gone before. It should be really cool to meet students from other schools, doctors from around the country, and the legislators who represent us in congress. Plenty more about the conference and a full recap is for the next blog post in a couple weeks.
I must apologize upfront about the hiatus of blog posts in February. In about the middle of the month we hit the first round of midterms which consumed my life for the better part of two weeks. So it some ways I don’t have much to report since my last post as I was mostly studying all last month. But round 1 is done, it’s March already, and Spring Break is 10 days away!
I’m really looking forward to Spring Break and the chance to catch up on some sleep, hopefully travel to Cincinnati to see some friends, and of course binge watch Season 3 of House of Cards. Although calling Spring Break a “Break” might be a misnomer considering we have 3 midterms the week following spring break, including one the Monday we come back so some work will have to get done as well. I’m certainly not looking forward to that but at the same time we have all week to prepare. I’ve studied for midterms with considerably less time before, so as long as I am efficient and use my time wisely it shouldn’t be a big deal.
Here’s a quick shot of a group of us that got dinner one night as we were all studying at the school for the first round of midterms.
Besides midterms, round 1, the big event in February was the annual EyeBall (more eye related puns!) Gala hosted by the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA). The event is for the entire college and it’s our chance to get together as a whole school to celebrate and have a good time. A handful of awards are also given out each year to people within the college who have done great things for the school in the past year. Awards can range from student leader of the year to faculty member of the year to clinical attending of the year. It’s a great event all around and so I’ll leave you with a few shots from EyeBall this year.
Tomorrow marks the end of the third week of classes and already a ton has happened to start the semester. Besides jumping straight into classes, there has been Epsilon Psi Epsilon (EΨE) rush week, our first day observing in clinic, and equipment ordering. It’s been a fast start and it’s already nearly February somehow.
Rush week for EΨE, the optometric professional fraternity here at Ohio State, was a ton of fun. All of us who decided to join got split into teams and sent on a scavenger hunt around school, campus, and Columbus. A handful of professors and staff around the college are a part of the scavenger hunt each year which just adds to the fun. The hunt was highly entertaining and a good chance to interact with some of my classmates I may not always get a chance to be around. I don’t want to spoil any of the good tasks but I’ll post a photo below of my group “finding the worst pair of glasses possible from the SVOSH room.” The best picture got bonus points too and I like to think we won those. Besides the scavenger hunt, pledge week also has other activities such as Games and Trivia night and Skit night, the latter of which is a night certainly not to be missed if you join EΨE.
As part of spring semester as a first year we get to observe in clinic under a third year student. Everyone has clinic every other week on the day you’re assigned and even after only being in clinic once I think it is a really neat experience. I really enjoyed being able to see some of the things we’ve been learning about in real patients. Textbooks and Powerpoints are great for the basic understanding but it becomes way more interesting to see it in real life and actually begin to apply the knowledge, albeit limited, we have as well as learn and see some new things. For example, when I was in clinic last week one of the patients we had came in for a follow up and he had a condition called Best Disease. Best is a form of macular dystrophy that usually has onset in childhood and can drastically affect visual acuity. I’ll put a picture I got off the internet below of what it looked like but what I saw was much worse with lots more pigmentation and scarring. It was really cool to see this and I’m already looking forward to clinic again next week to see what else comes in!
The other thing I really enjoyed about clinic was that even though I am three weeks into my second semester of optometry school, I was generally able to follow what the third year and attending were talking about. It really showed me how much I have learned already. It did, however, point out how much more I still have to learn. But seeing things like Best Disease and how, as an optometrist, we can help people with diseases like Best is really rewarding and motivating.
As if classes, clinic, and EΨE rush week hasn’t been enough, as a class we are right now going through the process of ordering our equipment. Thankfully at the beginning of the year we elect two equipment reps who do a lot of the legwork for everyone in class. They talk with company sales reps, coordinate lunches for companies to showcase and tell us about their equipment, and ultimately build an equipment bundle so all I have to do is basically choose from a few options and enter payment information. Kudos to them for making my life much easier. Although I won’t really know how to use any of it, I’m quite excited for March 27th, or as it was appropriately tagged by one of our equipment reps, “Optometry Christmas”, when all our equipment gets delivered to us! Ooo, shiny new things and bright lights to play with!
Finally, before school started this spring, a handful of us got in the winter spirit and went ice skating at the ice rink on campus. Here’s a picture from that night, with all of us standing even!
Until January at least. But one semester is in the books and it feel great! It’s kind of a weird feeling because at times the semester felt like it started ages ago and now that it’s over it’s like, where did the semester go? Either way, we’ve been done about a week now and I think I’ve finally caught up on all the sleep I missed this semester. I think I had maybe 5 hours of sleep for 3 straight days at the end of finals and I’m pretty pleased with that actually. Despite the allure of sleep, there may or may not have been moments where my study partners and I were questioning our sanity. That’s especially true on days I left for school around 8am and didn’t typically return to my apartment until midnight. But through the long days, the stress of finals closely packed together, and sheer quantity of information to get through, I really wouldn’t trade it for anything else because ultimately what I am learning now will allow me to provide great care to my patients in the not to distant future. I kind of liken it to people who asked me in undergrad “how are you a biochemistry major? You must hate it!” Well, maybe to you it wouldn’t be much fun but I’d say the same about being an English major. From the outside, sure, it looks (and is) a ton of hard work. In a way though, it’s stuff I enjoy learning about which makes it much easier to get motivated and do the work. Plus there are 68 other people in my class to help push me on those days I just want to be a bum and not study.
It’s great to be on break this time as compared to Thanksgiving. Since we are between semesters, I have no school work that absolutely has to get done during this break so I can sit back and enjoy it more. The 2 ½ weeks from Thanksgiving to winter break was such a marathon of studying for 2 practicals and 5 finals that I got so use to being busy nearly every hour of the day that when I suddenly had nothing on my schedule it was admittedly odd for the first few days. I think I’ve adjusted just fine though and it’s giving me a chance to catch up on the to-do list items that couldn’t get done during the semester. I’m going to try to soak up these last 2 ½ weeks of break as much as I can as lots to work lies ahead but I’ll be recharged and ready to go in 2015. See you then.
Thanksgiving has finally come and it’s nice to get away for a few days, assemble the family, and enjoy a chance to get caught up a little bit (on sleep at least).
Since I last wrote a post about a month ago we’ve all survived a second round of tests and really only have a week left of classes after Thanksgiving. Finals are looming in just about 2 weeks, which is kinda insane to think about. There’s a lot of work to be done between now and then so it will be a bit of a sprint to the end of the semester. I’m certainly looking forward to the 3 ½ weeks over winter break where I will be able to get in some Netflix binge watching and recharge for spring semester.
Besides all the studying thought, as I’ve mentioned before, we still find ways to get away from school. A program the College of Optometry started this year called Social Eyes helps with that as well. In Social Eyes, a small group of about 9 students are paired with a faculty member and meet about once a month. Dinner is kindly provided by the faculty of the school (we’re basically a big family anyway), and it also gives us a chance to get to experience parts of Columbus and get to know classmates and a faculty member a bit outside of school. A couple weeks ago my Social Eyes group met up at a local Columbus favorite, Schmidt’s. Schmidt’s is well known for their authentic german food and cured meats (I recommend the original Bahama Mama) and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Neither did the cream puffs we all shared for dessert. If you’re ever passing through Columbus, Schmidt’s, located in German Village, is a must stop.
As a group we also went to a neat local bookstore in German Village called The Book Loft. “Book Loft” might be a misnomer, as The Book Loft is like no other bookstore I’ve ever been to. It’s hard to describe other than The Book Loft is really a collection of rooms and each room has a theme, such as sports, politics, food, etc. I think there are 20 plus rooms and you can find any book you probably ever wanted there but having worked in a bookstore before, I’d hate having to do inventory there.
Now onto finals and Winter Break will be here before I know it.
A lot has happened since my last post a mere three weeks ago. We’ve made it through our first full round of midterms (mostly unscathed thankfully) and round two quickly approaches next week. It’s remarkable how quickly it feels like the semester is going. Strictly counting the weeks, we’re just past the half way point in the semester. It really just felt like we started a month ago, not two. Crazy.
In spite of all the studying though, there has still been time to get out and do things around campus. One thing that has become apparent is that even though I do have to study a lot, there are times you need a break from school. So last weekend for the OSU vs. Rutgers game, I made it over to the football tailgate hosted by the school’s fraternity Epsilon Psi Epsilon (EYE, eye, optometry school, EYE – I think you get it). EYE hosts a tailgate at their house for every home football game and it was a nice chance to get away from school for a few hours, grab some food and drinks, and talk with some people from other class years as well.
Beyond that, I played on a co-ed sand volleyball team this fall. Sadly our season was cut short of the championship game, but we did extremely well by making the quarterfinals of the tournament! Perhaps to add insult to injury we got beat in the quarters by another optometry school team. It still was a lot of fun and we’re already planning for a repeat run next year.
Our class is also starting to get involved in organizations around the school. We had class elections a couple weeks back and I am happy to say I will be serving as the Class of 2018 Treasurer. Additionally, I know many people in my class are similarily getting involved with the wide variety of clubs the Ohio State Optometry offers. I just went to a Private Practice Club (PPC) meeting last night and we got to hear from a doctor who made some great points and provided excellent insights into the operations of a private practice. I think it was valuable information and look forward to picking the brains of numerous other doctors over the next three and a half years. I really appreciate all these opportunities Ohio State Optometry offers because, much like people like to say about undergrad, I think the education doesn’t end with the classes. Instead these programs, speakers, opportunities to travel to conferences, etc. are also part of the education and will help me be a great optometrist in a few years.
Between going to talks, playing volleyball, running for office, there is a lot a studying to be done. I pretty much need to be looking at something each night to keep up as best I can on the material. That way, I can get questions about material answered in a timely manner and I’m not trying to cram all the information ahead of the test, especially as we enter this next round of midterms. In one sense they started today with a general anatomy lab practical, but it really picks up next week with 3 midterms followed by 2 more midterms the following week. The biggest thing I think that helps make it all possible is time management. There are times where I’m unable to look at material some nights because we’re in class all day, there is a speaker I want to go to, I need groceries, and clothes need washed. No matter what it is though, as long as I manage my study time well I know I can get it done.
I’ll see you on the other side of the second round of midterms!
Fun fact (video) of the blog: Our pathology professor showed us this video a few weeks back and I found it really remarkable. Clever manipulations and solutions to complex or common health problems is fascinating to me and one of the reasons I love learning about developments in health care. They can completely alter the lives of people.
So admittedly, this blog blast is a week late but that’s what happens when we had our first two midterms this week. The level of busyness (and stress levels) has certainly increased in the last couple weeks. But, I’ve made it through week 1 of midterms and now to get through 2 more next week to finish off the first round of midterms.
In the meantime though, I did get a chance last week to go to the Student Volunteers for Optometric Service to Humanity’s (SVOSH) sorting party and it was a really awesome time. SVOSH is one of our many student organizations and SVOSH focuses on providing eye care and eyewear to people in developing nations who are unable to access such care. As part of that, students in SVOSH sort thousands of donations of used eyeglasses so they can be provided to patients on SVOSH trips. I’ve heard the trips, which are usually somewhere in South America or the Caribbean regions, are fantastic. It’s great exposure to unique diseases rarely seen in the states, a chance to make a huge impact on the lives of people in need, and of course, an opportunity to sight see a little bit as well. I’m hoping I’ll get the chance to go on a trip during my time in school.
So back to the sorting part of all this. Literally, SVOSH has boxes upon boxes upon boxes you didn’t know existed worth of glasses. It’s really impressive actually. The president of SVOSH organized this big sorting party to try and get through some boxes and we had a great turnout. The cool part though, was getting to sort through all of them and find some pretty ridiculous styles of glasses. We had a competition going on for who could find the most outrageous pair and we found some gems. I wish I had more photos of what we found, but the picture below will give you a decent idea.