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  • Kashifa Ansari

My Last Summer Break Amidst COVID-19



Soon after I started my first year at ICO, I started to look forward to my last summer break which would take place between my first and second academic year. Throughout the school year, it is hard to make time to go out and travel. Breaks are usually spent preparing for the next exam or relaxing after a long quarter of hard work. I think it is safe to say that most of my classmates had plans to enjoy this summer to the fullest before we would spend the next three years without any summer breaks.


Personally, I had planned a trip to Turkey and Dubai with my family. Soon after my first year at ICO was switched to online in March, due to the coronavirus pandemic, my family and I also realized that it would be best to cancel our trip. I was pretty disappointed, as I was looking forward to it as a reward for completing my first year, which was probably the most stressful year of my life.


Instead of riding in a hot air balloon while watching the sunrise in Cappadocia, I decided to make the most of what I was able to do in the present with the situation we are in right now. I took this time to focus on myself and my mental health, something I really never have had time to do for as long as I can remember! All the summer breaks I have had since high school have always been filled with volunteering, shadowing, working, or preparing to apply to optometry school.


I started my summer off by taking walks on a trail near my house, which goes over a small creek. It felt incredibly refreshing to breathe in all the fresh air, be surrounded by the forest, and enjoy the simpler things in life. I picked up some quarantine hobbies (which I hope to always continue) like yoga and cooking new recipes.



I also worked on my optometry Instagram account, @eyeconicgirlod, and played around with photo editing and photoshop, something I have been wanting to learn for a long time. I attended some optometry webinars as well and learned a lot about different topics that interest me, such as makeup and the eye. Here is an example of something I created using photoshop!



Some of my days I spent doing absolutely nothing, and that is totally okay as well! We do not always have to be productive in order to have said that we accomplished something. Some days, spending the whole day in bed, watching Netflix made me feel good, and that your mental wellbeing is all that matters.


Although this summer wasn’t what I had in mind, I’m content with the way it ended up being. I was able to relax in a way I have never been able to before. I feel refreshed enough to tackle second year with full force and hopefully still include some self-care activities I’ve picked up during this time.


To all my (soon to be) second-year classmates, or anyone who felt like they were robbed of the year 2020, we will all get opportunities to do great things in the future, and please remember to take care of yourself. We are all in this together!

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3241 S. Michigan Ave.

Chicago, IL 60616

312-949-7409

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