Advice going through optometry is tough, mainly because each year has its own mountains to climb and goals to achieve. As you enter optometry school you have completed undergrad, which was a time commitment within itself. By using your study skills and time management skills you obtained in undergrad, you can build on those when you get to optometry school. For myself, I did not build the best study skills in undergrad and this put me at a disadvantage.
When you begin your classes, my school did a good job of easing the students into a dense schedule. We started with classes that most people have taken during undergrad, with a couple other classes sprinkled in that relate to the field of optometry. Although this schedule is less strenuous then the future schedules (2nd and 3rd year specifically), it still requires the proper time commitment in order to succeed. Now, because I did not build the best time management skills during my days in undergrad, I would encourage all students to use this first semester to create the foundation for these skills. To be more specific, take out a part of your day after class to sit down and go back over what you were taught that day. I do not necessarily mean to “study” the material, but use this to better organize your thoughts about the subject. Optometry school will consist of many more classes per day compared to your previous college experience. So, with this heavy course load my brain felt congested with all the material thrown at me during a normal day. By using an hour or two to go back over the day’s work, it will create that foundation that help you succeed in the future.
As the end of my 3rd year is approaching, I have been able to look back on my experience here at the Kentucky College of Optometry. I have made amazing friends and colleagues of the profession. Having these people by my side, as I have put in countless hours of studying and sacrifices, has been my saving grace. Although, your family and friends outside of school will always be there for you, only the people going through these four years can truly relate. Surrounding yourself with people that will push you to be better and pick you up when you are down is one of the greatest things I found here at KYCO. Without them, I do not believe I could have been as successful here at school. The quote, “strength is in numbers” rings so true when it comes to optometry school. Although your success is based on your own decisions, surrounding yourself with friends and colleagues that make you a better student will have a the most positive impact on your success.
My last piece of advice is something that I have seen being in clinic with many other classmates of mine. Although all of the classes we take here at KYCO are important, our main goal is to be the best clinicians possible. Your school will give you every opportunity to help you become this successful clinician. I would encourage all students to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the school. It is the student’s own decisions and dedication to the program that will make them a better clinician. No matter what school you decide to go to, the decisions and commitment you make to that program will determine how good of a clinician you will become. I am trying to take my own advice and get as much out of the next year and half I have left here at the Kentucky College of Optometry. Soon, I will be in the real world helping many patients get exquisite eye care.