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Optometry Graduation 2017: Looking Back, Looking Forward

It was nearly four years ago that I first joined ICO as a student and as a blogger. It’s a bittersweet experience for me to sit here after it’s all over, knowingly writing my last blog and thinking back to the four years that have brought me to this point. I’ve gained some great friends, lasting memories, and invaluable clinical pearls during my time at ICO.

When I think about some of my favourite times at ICO, I recall my circle of friends and our spot on the second floor by the security office. We drank multiple cups of coffee before the morning exams while firing off quick questions to one another and reviewing difficult concepts. The same group of people would sit next to me in every class, sit for me as patients, and be there to support me when times were tough. They have become my group of consultants. If I get a difficult case or I’m unsure of something, they’ll be the ones I ask for advice in the future.

I can’t help but reflect on life in the RC (Residential Complex). This was such a fun experience, especially for someone who thought they were too old to live in “a dorm”. I loved selecting my diagnostic set and BIO, wearing my white coat for the first time to clinic, and seeing a patient on my own for the very first time.  Most recently, I loved going up to the Registrar’s table after the graduation ceremony and collecting my degree from Ms. Hamlin, who was the first one to call me “Dr. Enns.”

ICO’s Capstone program was a nice opportunity for the entire class to get together again, sit in our old seats in the Lecture Center, and quickly say “Hi” then “Bye” to all the people we hadn’t seen in a year. I’m glad the Capstone program handout listed all the residency candidates, because there’s no way I’d be able to catch up with everybody and find out where they’re headed in a few weeks. For everyone else, I assume they’re headed back to their hometowns!

ICO’s 174th Commencement was held at the gorgeous Rockefeller Chapel on the University of Chicago campus. From what I understand, it might be the last time they will hold it there. I’m glad we had the opportunity to see the chapel while walking down the aisle, side by side, scanning the pews for our family and friends, trying to keep just the right pace to keep the flow. Following us was our faculty, administration, Board of Trustees, and the Alumni Council. It was nice to see all the faces that helped me get here.

Graduation ended close to 1:30 p.m., and after a quick bite to eat and a couple pictures along the way, I was on the road back to my hometown in Canada. It feels very different being home and not having to leave again in a week, two weeks, or three months. Now, it’s all about getting the licensing done and finally using the knowledge learned. First, I think I’ll enjoy this next month or two off and restart the hobbies that have been put on the back-burner for the last while!

Congratulations to the Class of 2017. I wish you all the very best, and I hope that I will see you again at Homecoming in 5 years! Best of luck!


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