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Second Year in Review

HOORAY! I’m officially a third year!

So this is how it happened: One day, I woke up, and I’m a third year.

No, seriously, it felt that way. Every once in a while, I get the feeling that school is never going to end, and I’m just going to drown in huge piles of assignments, labs, practicals and exams. Then, one day, it was all over. There’s no more pharmacology to study for, we just have to know it for clinic. No more PAP observation sessions, we’re going to be in our own rooms as student clinicians now. I felt so free, that it was almost a little empty. I say “almost” because who am I kidding?

The hardest part of second year The toughest thing this year was staying focused. I worked extremely hard first year, and I think I just got tired second year. It’s as if I ran out of steam or something. I sometimes forget that optometry school is more similar to a marathon than a sprint. So this year, I give myself a little more “me” time to relax. If I’ve already studied for nine hours non-stop, and the walls are starting to talk to me, it’s probably time to stop and take a break. Guess what? It worked out just fine.

This happened so many times to me this year, and many ICO students can relate. If it happens to you, it’s time to take a break, get a cup of coffee, breathe, and move on.

The most exciting things about second year Three-mirror gonioscopy was probably the most feared lab/practical before we learned the technique. We all cringed every time we thought that someone in our class is going to put a “contact lens” directly on our eye, and then spin it while it’s still on our eye. I bet you guys got goosebumps reading that. As big of a drama queen as I am, 3-mirror gonioscopy is definitely is one of the easier techniques to sit for and to perform. Once the anesthetic was on, I didn’t feel a thing! What you would actually feel is the Schirmer test you do in Ocular Disease lab with Dr. Gunderson, and Physical Diagnosis lab with Dr. Gabriel.

I thought I was going to cry with this piece of paper in my eye. I wish I did, because the test would have ended sooner.

I thought I was going to cry with this piece of paper in my eye. I wish I did, because the test would have ended sooner. Remember this is how my patients would feel.

The most difficult technique I learned this year has to be dynamic BIO. It was challenging because we have to be ambidextrous, we have to work with a teaching mirror that has a lot of glare, and also because we are dilated while we are practicing most of the time (and I stay dilated for more than 6 hours at a time). After many many weeknights and weekends of practice, it felt really satisfying to successfully pass all my practicals! I remember how I used to think This is impossible, I’m never going to learn this, but we’re left in the hands of some really good TAs and professors in lab, so believe me when I tell you now: it can be–and will be–done! 

BIO photo courtesy of Jonathan Dong - director of ICO's Macklemore parody music video.

BIO photo courtesy of Jonathan Dong (director of ICO’s Macklemore parody music video.) Don’t forget to like the video!

The most fun that I’ve had in lab this year is the foreign body removal lab. Here’s a recap of Fun with Foreign Bodies: 

Cow's eye suspended on the slit lamp

Cow’s eye suspended on the slit lamp

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A close-up shot. We used our tools from our foreign body removal kit to get a feel of what it would feel like to work on a real cornea, how much force we need to use, etc.

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We first used the spud (something that looks like a micro golf club to remove the metal piece from the “cornea” (which is made of gelatin), and then our alger brush to remove the rust ring left by the little bits of iron.

Celebrating the end of second year All good things must come to an end, and good endings must be done with fantastic celebrations. I missed my roommate’s birthday last year because I was in a huge rush to go home after finals ended. So to make up for it, I organized a surprise birthday party in addition to our celebration for the end of second year.

What better way to celebrate than pitchers of margaritas?

What better way to celebrate than pitchers of margaritas? A toast to the end of second year!

Tests were conquered, energy drinks were had, deeper friendships were made, museums were visited, and new restaurants were tried. I can’t wait to see my first patient in two weeks and give you guys funny stories and more interesting tidbits of student life in Chicago. I hope I learn to be a better clinician with every year that I attend ICO.

Next challange: board exams. Wish me luck!


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