By Kelly Hart, SCCO Class of 2020
I know it’s on your mind: what will my day to day look like as an optometry student? Will I have the dreaded 8 a.m. class every day? Am I ever going to have time to talk to my family and friends from back home again?
Relax. Lucky for us, MBKU does a good job of easing you into the new demands that optometry school requires. Ask most MBKU OD students and they will tell you that fall quarter of first year is the least grueling time in your optometry school career.
I know what you’re thinking, “So does that mean I can slack off first quarter, never go to class, and watch Netflix instead of studying?” Certainly not. Although the class load and amount of exams is less during first quarter, it is still a period of adjustment; some of you may be moving out of state and far away from home for the first time, while others are getting back into the routine of school after being in the working world for several years. Whatever your story may be, we all have changes that we must get used to — all on top of making the transition into optometry school.
When you come to school in August, you will have already been placed into a lab section. For first quarter, labs are generally all in the morning, beginning at either 8 or 9 a.m. and running for 2-3 hours. You do not have lab every day, which means that you have some mornings off (yay for not having 8 a.m. class every day!).
The afternoon is usually when all 100 of you will come together for lecture. You will be taking about six classes (two of which have a lab). Each lecture meets once or twice per week and lasts two hours. TWO HOURS?! If you’re like me who came from 50 minute classes in undergrad, then you may also be shocked by this information; I mean, who can possibly pay attention for two hours? Luckily our teachers do give us a 10 minute break after the first 50 minute chunk, which makes it much easier to get through.
Although we do have class Monday through Friday, the latest time you will end lecture during fall quarter will likely be about 5 p.m. Some days, however, you do end earlier than this. This gives you a little bit of time to relax before you start studying for the evening.
Speaking of studying, I suppose now is a good time to address the elephant in the room: exams. Here at SCCO, we do our exams a little bit different. Instead of taking them during lecture — as most of you are likely used to — we have a separate one hour time slot in the morning which we take our exams. Again, it does start off a little easier with only one test per week, but it does increase to two exams in the winter and spring. But don’t worry! You will have a few weeks free from tests when you first begin. After that, it is an exam every week until finals in late October.
But this is optometry school, when do we learn how to ask which is better, 1 or 2? Never fear: you will begin learning this (along with many, many other clinical skills that the average Joe does not know we can do) starting in the winter quarter. Until then, enjoy your time free away from the dreaded “proficiencies” (which I will not get into now, but you will quickly learn about after spending some time here).
Half way through writing this, I realized that it is much more difficult to talk about our typical day than I expected. The reason being that we do not really have a “typical day.” Our schedules often change from week to week; some weeks you may not have to go to a particular lab, others you may have to attend a vision screening at a local elementary school. Some days you will have several club meetings to attend, others you will sip margaritas at Taco Tuesday with your new friends. Although you do eventually establish your own routine, the day to day is always changing here at MBKU. But rest assured: however busy you may get, you will have time to make a phone call home to your friends and family, as well as get to know your new family here at school.
Best of luck to each and every one of you!