The past year has been filled with numerous “unprecedented” events, and we had no choice but to go with the flow to navigate the infected waters, so to speak. From having NBEO part 1 cancelled 10 hours before the exam, to finishing up clinic with online cases, our experience is unique. However, we will be stronger doctors for it as we persevered through the layers of PPE and countless 90 D lenses fogging up.
As we prepare for graduation, take a moment to reflect on our time in optometry school. The failures and successes. The favorite classes that brought you joy and, inevitably, the dreaded courses that brought stress and anxiety. For me, I enjoyed Ocular Disease 2, learning about the pathologies that affect the eye and how to treat or manage the patient. I dreaded Ocular Motility the most, because it was difficult for me to wrap my head around the concepts. Regardless of what our difficulties were, we have all succeeded to get to this point. So now what?
Some will be moving on to residency programs where they will build upon the foundation of knowledge built in school. Others, like myself, are ready to enter the work force. For those going into the work force immediately, know your worth. Advocate your strengths and why you are an asset. Negotiate salary and benefits wisely. And try and find a setting that will make you happy.
Most of us having been living near our schools and at our rotation sites for the past four years. This is the first time for many of us that we get to decide where we want to live and practice. So choose wisely; consider location, salary and, of course, scope of practice. Check out the AOA’s helpful guide for determining the scope of practice in each state!
Remember to always keep learning. Let’s move the profession of optometry forward and practice our full scope of knowledge and training.
Congratulations, Class of 2021. We did it!