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  • Writer's pictureLFaits

Pencil Crayons and Other Memorization Tools

As my fellow blogger Fatima has noted, spring quarter is upon us. It’s crazy to think that in two months I’ll be able to call myself a “second year,” and it makes me realize how fast the the school year as flown by. I’m already counting down to summer–our first and only summer off during our time at ICO.

We’re a four weeks in, and at about this time each quarter I find myself getting extremely overwhelmed with the course load. The amount of work we have seems unmanageable until I’ve gotten a few exams under my belt. Fortunately, we now only have two exams per week instead of three, as in the previous two quarters. Still, I already feel exhausted and ready for the next break (despite the fact that our last break ended only a month ago). Unsurprisingly, some of my classmates have made fun of me for this.


At the end of the previous two quarters, there have been certain topics and concepts that I’m happy to leave behind. Only, it turns out we’re not really done with them. These troublesome concepts come back to haunt me in subsequent quarters and I’m forced to learn the again.

The structure of the blood supply to the brain and brainstem is one such topic. You’ll notice how many colours of pencil crayon (Canadian phrasing represent!) I had to use in order to construct very informative picture above. I thought I was done colouring at the end of grade 8, but dust your drawing tools of choice and bring them with you to optometry school, because you will certainly need them–ALL of them. I’ve even found myself cracking out those colours no one ever really uses, like “sienna” and “metallic gold”–you know, the ones the manufacturer throws in just so they can add “Two bonus pencils!” to the box. Adding colour to pictures is one of my favourite techniques for memorizing all these parts of the anatomy.


One of my colleagues makes up cute nicknames to aid the memorization process. She calls this nerve cell a “happy tree waving,” and demonstrates it by sticking her foot out and holding up her arm. I gotta say, it’s an effective technique–how could I ever forget what a nerve looks like now?


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