Thursday, February 21, 2013

turning this whole act around

Hey everybody,

Still alive and kicking. I abandoned this blog for a solid few months there, and it's actually not because life is totally sucking. I think I've pinpointed the reason for hiatus after hiatus: I honestly lost interest. The Q&As were getting repetitive and no offense, but a lot of them were things you could find either by reading my blog/searching old Q&As or Googling. I also got tired of the role of "all-knowing optometry student" (which I'm obviously not) and after being in the program for this long, it's hard to sympathize with the stresses of things like passing an undergrad organic chemistry class. My grades don't matter to you, what I did to get here doesn't matter, none of that should matter because I am not and never was a textbook candidate for optometry school. Because there is no such thing. The schools tell you what they want in a candidate. There are forums and sites out there specifically designed to help you get into optometry school. It's unfortunate that it took me this long to realize this, but I don't want this blog to be one of those kinds of resources. I want to talk about where I'm GOING, not where I've been (over, and over, and over).
(If you want a good blog to follow:!)

So I think I'm going to take the Q&A function down. Comments on posts are still welcome, of course, and if you do have a burning question for me, feel free to leave it in a comment under a post.

So, what's actually going on? Well, part 1 of boards is four weeks away. I'm trying not to freak out. KMK, the prep course for boards, was a huge help and I don't think I'd be remotely close to as level-headed as I think I am if it weren't for that. I've been studying since winter break but I don't know if I'll ever feel prepared enough. I can't wait to get it over with!

I've been trying to maintain a pretty normal life in spite of boards. It's hard sometimes when I still have to go to school and the classes can seem like they aren't worth attending. I don't mind clinic at all and wish I could have more of it if it meant I had less class. Studying for midterms when I should be studying for boards is annoying and exhausting. I don't know if this is true, but I've heard that other schools (SCCO?) get a whole month off to study for boards. We only get the Thursday, Friday, and Monday before the 2-day test off, and in my opinion, not a whole ton of ground can be broken in that amount of time. Anyway, I'm still trying to make time to hang out with friends, spend time with my boyfriend, call my family, and refocus my mental state when needed. In addition to all this I'm looking for housing for my rotations, figuring out when to take parts 2 and 3 of boards during 4th year, and trying to get started on the post-grad planning. I'm undecided on whether I want to do a residency or not, but the more I think about it, the better of an idea it becomes. If I have any hope of moving back to California, I need as much of a competitive edge as I can get. Cali isn't necessarily the goal at this time, but it'd be nice to have it as an option.

Anyway, maybe I'll start writing in here a bit more now that I've freed myself from the pressures I put on myself from the beginning. I don't know if my little internet audience will appreciate it, but it's either that or forget about the blog forever.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Q&As from forever ago

Are classes in Opto school exclusively science classes w/ labs? Or is there any variation? From a nervous social science/humanities major haha...

First year consists of a lot of core science classes to build your foundation. You have them all throughout your time at optometry school (pharmacology, optics, systemic and ocular disease, etc), but later in the curriculum you get some less science-y classes like pediatrics, lifespan, low vision, things like that. There are also practice management courses throughout. There aren't many courses that don't involve science and/or math, though. Everything comes back to the eye and the brain after all, so if you aren't into science, that's something to think about.

Hi Krystal. I love your blog and optometry. Do you think it will be challenging to find a job once you're done with school? So far, that is my only concern about the profession. It's hard to get a feel for it when I talk to older doctors

I've touched on this previously. I honestly have no idea how hard it will be for me to find a job once I graduate. It's all about networking and the connections you make while you are in school.

Hi. I am nervous about all this. I realize that school will be hard, first semester being the hardest? Can you tell us your have written about first semester but does it get any easier? Please say it doesn't get any harder???

I think I've written about every semester I've completed so far... all 5.5 of them! Maybe look a little harder? Every semester is difficult in its own way. I'd have to say second year takes the cake for most difficult, though.

i was wondering how you're able to remember all the information you learn from class? I am an undergrad student and i feel like every time after a final, i for get EVERYTHING! But during the quarter i know the details well. how do you keep on top of this?

To study in a program like this, there isn't much you can do besides the "binge and purge" study bulimia method. As for the things I retain, basically you learn and revisit the fundamentals over and over again in multiple classes, and when you are practically applying what you've learned while you're in clinic, the most commonly encountered and important details stick. Your career is real life, though, and nobody expects you to know everything about everything off the top of your head. That's why text, smart phone, and internet references are your friend. :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

did you want to hear from me?

Heeeey guys... It lives! Soooo it has been a 3-month hiatus and I'm not 100% sure why that happened. I have a lot going on with school and clinic and exams and TAing and being a real human and blah blah blah excuse excuse. I got a comment earlier this month: "Where are you, optogirl? I miss your blogging!!! Does this mean third year totally sucks...?" so I guess some kind of explanation is in order? No, third year doesn't totally suck. I think second year was a lot harder to deal with! I've honestly just been lazy with my internet presence and have been focusing more on "real life", whatever that means.

Here's a little synopsis of what's been up:

  • I'm doing pretty well in clinic. I remember being so terrified when I first started in the summer, and it has gotten a lot more manageable! I wouldn't say "easier", but things come together more smoothly for me now. Diagnosing a condition, carrying out tests, and prescribing medications and executing treatments make a LOT more sense when you have an actual human in front of you. Clinic learning seems to involve a completely different side of my brain than classroom learning. I see/hear/learn something once in clinic and I won't forget it. So that's pretty neat, since when I study for classes I have to review something like 5 times for it to sink in.
  • On that note, classes are fine. We only have each one once (well, one we have twice) per week, which means we have fewer midterms and it's easier to keep up with material. I do not miss the days of having most classes 2-3x a week! This kind of schedule seems to continue next semester, which is nice because...
  • NATIONAL BOARDS PART 1 IS IN LIKE 4.5 MONTHS AHHH!!! I registered for Part I yesterday and also registered for KMK (the prep course + study materials for NBEO), meaning I just sunk $1125 into one part (out of 3) of a test. I know this isn't the first time I've talked about optometry school being expensive, but seriously. This excludes the cost of Canadian boards, which I may/may not take depending on where I go with my relationship.
  • Speaking of which (do you like these segways from point to point? I'm on a roll) things are just peachy and lovely with le boyfriend. He's coming down to California with me for Thanksgiving, which I'm excited/nervous about. I have no doubts about my family adoring him, since he's already met and charmed the most intimidating members anyway (parents and "over-protective" uncle), but I do wonder what he'll think when he sees what I meant all along about growing up on a mountain and having too many pets and living in a pseudo-hippie town and such. We have lots of fun things planned though. I can't wait to just get to it!
I'm currently in California visiting my family on fall break, which is the same thing as the AAO (American Academy of Optometry) Meeting for people who don't actually go to the AAO Meeting and get to take 3 days off in the week because practically the entire faculty is gone at the meeting. I'm heading back to Oregon on Sunday so I'm enjoying this little taste of Cali while I can. I was feeling kind of homesick and I'm getting more than enough of home to hold me over until the holidays begin...

I don't want to go too crazy since this is my first time writing in three months... I gotta take it easy, otherwise nobody will want to read it, ya know? So in the next couple of days I'll try and get to the Q&As that have been ripening in my inbox for too long.