One quarter down…
The first quarter of optometry school is definitely an experience I don’t think I will ever forget. It was a mix of every emotion you can imagine- happiness, loneliness, stress, excitement, and a little bit more stress. I grew tremendously in such a short period of time and am grateful for it.
Life is a compilation of the memories we make as we change. Optometry school will change you… and the change will be for the best. You will move to a new city, have a new home, make new friends, and be challenged academically. As scary as it all seems, it’s also an incredibly exciting time. The world is at your feet and you’re in a school that will help you achieve your dreams!
I have so much advice I want to give to new students. First, you should take time for yourself and find your peace when things get overwhelming. Find whatever it is that brings you calm because it’s vital for your mental health to detach from the worry of graduate school. This can be working out, Netflix, talking to friends, etc., but find what brings you some perspective because it is integral to your academic success.
Second, do not compete with other people; it will only cause you unnecessary stress. You are in this for yourself and for your own degree. This doesn’t mean that you should not collaborate with your peers. It simply means that competition is not necessary, but teamwork is.
Remember that you are your own greatest critic, so be kind to yourself. Through this process, it is easy to get caught up, to feel like you’re falling behind, or like you’re not where you should be. Take the time to celebrate you, to remember that you are worthy of your own kindness and empathy. Give yourself the support you deserve in the hard times, and the good times, and all of the time.
Optometry school is hard, but it is four years of growth and adventure and I feel so blessed to have the chance to live through it all.