When incoming students ask me to describe life at NECO I have one word: family. Although I haven’t known the first and second year class so long, I treat them as if they are my close friends. Coming from a large undergraduate university in Chicago, I was skeptical on attending a small optometry school because I was always used to meeting so many new people and attending lectures with 400+ students. But now, after being at NECO for two and a half years, I know I have definitely made the best decision.
The first, second and third year students support each other in school and outside of school. Sometimes when I have a question about anatomy I like to ask the first year students because they are currently taking that course. When I am in clinic and have a patient with binocular issues, I like to ask the second year students for guidance because they recently took a course on binocular vision. We all help each other out because in the end, we want to be successful colleagues and provide the best care to our patients. The friends I have made at NECO will last a lifetime and the amount of knowledge I have gained will travel with me to any practice setting I choose to work in.
Outside of school, my classmates and I enjoy spending time together whether it is going out to grab a drink or attending an event hosted by one of NECO’s student clubs. Last week, we attended Casino Night held by the VOSH organization to help raise money for their upcoming mission trip to the Dominican Republic. The school was transformed into a casino for the night, complete with professional dealers. In addition to roulette, Spanish 21, black jack and poker tables, there were numerous prizes given away including an iPad, Volk lenses, and restaurant gift cards. Many students dressed in fancy cocktail dresses and dapper suits. It was an unforgettable night to remember!
I have made so many close-knit connections with my classmates that I will be sad to begin my clinical rotations without them next year. My first fourth year rotation will be at the Eye Centers of South Florida in Miami, which I am very thrilled to experience. The site is a combined OD/MD practice where I will be working with ophthalmologists to assist in pre-operative and post-operative care. I will then be at a VA in New Hampshire and will then finish my last two rotation sites in Boston—one of which is a community health center in Dorchester. I was recently talking to one of my classmates about how in three months we will go our own ways to explore the various clinic sites and provide the best eye-care to our patients. While it will be bittersweet to leave my friends and classmates, I am very proud how far we have all come and I will be sure to visit them wherever they are!