'Twas the Night before Boards...
Nerves were running high as I was trying to get some sleep the night before taking NBEO Part 3 on Wednesday (and NBEO Part 2 a few weeks ago.) Both got me thinking about how I’ve had this feeling before- this nervous feeling of, "This is what it all comes down to." At the same time, it’s having enough confidence that you’ve done all you could to prepare for this moment. No big deal, right?
I realized that I used to get this feeling the night before playing in a very important softball game, such as a high school state championship or NCAA regional playoff game. These situations- optometry and softball- are somehow so similar and yet so different at the same time.
(High school swing vs college swing)
Game-time situations were similar to NBEO prep in that I spent hours, months, years practicing and studying. All my blocking drills as a catcher and swings off a tee during softball practice were worth it... but the night before boards, especially Part 2, felt different. Although both challenges require studying, board exams come down to, "Do you know it or not?" Success mostly relies on what your knowledge base is.
I was a competitive athlete, relying on my hours of practice and having confidence that my hard work would pay off. With Part 2, it’s not physical. I didn’t practice motions. I practiced words. I practiced how to properly diagnose and care for my future patients. It made me realize how much I’ve truly grown in my last four years of optometry school. I’m FOREVER grateful for the things softball taught me, like a competitive work ethic, giving 100%, leading by example, and juggling time management. I’m thankful I can take those same things and apply them to my brain to understand the correct diagnosis or antibiotic drop for my patient.
I don’t know, this might sound crazy, but it’s so cool. Going from depending on my body to exercising my brain in order to have a good outcome- it’s a really cool feeling.
Unlike softball, I wasn’t 100% confident going into Boards. I don’t know absolutely every treatment of every disease that I’ve learned the past four years at ICO, but you have to trust that it’s enough. Nervousness means you care! So, I went in trying to be confident, knowing that I did all I could do to prepare for this exam.
Part 3, which I more recently took, almost felt like another softball game. I was able to spend a few weeks practicing script and skills with different classmates. I went in with a little more confidence knowing that, once again, I had done all that I could to prepare. I had to rely more on my hand-eye coordination and muscle memory skills. However, we still had to point out the different things we were seeing in our patients and correctly speak in lay terms to help the patients understand. You had to be confident in your findings.
All in all, I’m so thankful for the growth I’ve seen in myself throughout my life and how I’ve learned to apply different lessons and feelings to different situations. My fingers are crossed for that passing score!
Congrats Class of 2020, go enjoy some time with your fam. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!