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3241 S. Michigan Ave.

Chicago, IL 60616

312-949-7409

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  • Kashifa Ansari

ICO Orientation Week 2019

I cannot believe that ICO Orientation week is over and that school has already started! It feels like it was just yesterday that I had graduated from undergrad and was making plans for summer. Orientation week was a great way to ease us into optometry school. It helped us recognize expectations and allowed us to meet faculty, staff, and students.


The week kicked off with Move-In Day, which I had been excitedly, anxiously, waiting for. Believe me, I was definitely going through a whirlwind of emotions that morning! I decided to live in the Residential Complex (RC) during my first year at ICO. Because this is my first time living in the city and away from my family, I felt that this would be a good transition for me. I also assumed it would help with getting to know my classmates. Being across the street from the school is very convenient and safe; there is 24-hour security on campus. Living in the RC will also keep me focused on my schoolwork, since all first years have the same schedule for classes and exams.


Honestly, on my drive to ICO, I was extremely nervous. As soon as I pulled up to the RC, I was enthusiastically welcomed by current ICO students who were our Orientation leaders for the week. They helped my family and me transport all my belongings from the car to my room. Everyone was so welcoming and kind that I immediately started to feel more at ease.


The next two days of Orientation were filled with many activities. We started off by listening to speeches by Dr. Mark Colip, Dr. Stephanie Messner, Dr. John Baker, and Dr. Erik Mothersbaugh. They each gave us their personal perspective on their time at ICO and advice on how to be a good student, and later, an optometrist. It was very inspiring to hear each of their stories and how they ended up at ICO.

Basic Optometric Equipment for First Year Students

One of my favorite moments from these first two days was when we had an optometric and ophthalmic equipment fair. Here, we got to test out diagnostic sets that we would later purchase to use during our first-year labs. The skills we are going to be learning during our first quarter will help us second quarter, when we will be paired with upperclassmen in the clinic. ICO has a very strong clinical component in their studies. We are trained starting week one.

WelchAllyn Diagnostic Kit

Tall Ship Windy with the Chicago Skyline

The highlight of our last day of Orientation was the Chicago River and Architectural Cruise! We traveled downtown by train and got to learn about the architecture and design of the buildings and bridges in the city. I was able to get some really awesome pictures which I hope you will enjoy as well!

I am so excited to finally start school. I cannot wait to share more of my ICO journey with you all!