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A Place I Can Call Home

Group of students at BBQ next to building

Where do I even begin! It’s officially been one month since I moved to Boston to begin optometry school and I can definitely say that I have never been this happy in my entire life. Let’s take it from the very beginning.

During my first weekend at NECO, I went through a lot of emotions. Being alone in a city where you don’t know anyone can be quite scary. Many thoughts raced in my mind. How will I adjust? Will I like school? Will I make friends? 

After my family left, I was an emotional wreck. However, that same night one of my classmates organized an event for everyone to get dinner together. Although I wanted to stay in bed and cry my heart out, I fought all my emotions and forced myself to get out of my comfort zone. My first impression of my classmates was, “Everyone’s just being this friendly because it’s the first time we’re meeting.” Little did I know, I was completely wrong. 

As time progressed, people only became friendlier. From the very first week of school until now, I continue to be amazed at how helpful all of my classmates are. From sharing notes, quizlets, holding review sessions, and reminding each other of important dates to buying each other coffee on long days, it is such a mentally healthy environment to be in every day. It really feels like a place where we all want each other to succeed. Even the upper year students who were recently in our shoes know exactly what we are going through and they are there for us at all times with guidance and support. 

During the first week of school, Student Council and organizations on campus worked very hard to put on events for the entire school. On the first Friday night of school, S-VOSH hosted a white out party at a local nightclub, where we had pizza and drinks, and danced away with our classmates and upper years. 

That same weekend, Student Council hosted the Annual Welcome Back BBQ and the NECO Olympics! At the barbecue, we enjoyed delicious food, drinks, and dessert. We were able to interact with our professors, classmates, and upper year students. Everyone had such a great time getting to know each other better and it was great being able to ask for advice before our classes started picking up! The next day, we woke up bright and early and went to a local park to attend NECO Olympics, where we competed in different games such as volleyball, basketball, and kickball against the upper years. Each class wore a different colored shirt to distinguish themselves. This was also a great event to get to know our classmates better and interact with second, third, and fourth years. Everyone had a wonderful time! 

Although I’ve only been in Boston for a month, it feels like home. School feels like home. The friends that I’ve made feel like family. I am comfortable and happy here. This is one of the most important decisions I ever had to make in my life, and I can confidently say that I made the right choice. 

Boston is an amazing place to grow and learn. My walks to class and the moments I have to explore the city brings tears to my eyes. Sitting in class, being taught by such intelligent, caring, and passionate faculty, feels like a dream. Not one person in my entire school walks by each other without smiling, giving a head nod, or saying hello. I don’t know what I did in my life to be able to live the life I am currently living. It feels so right. I know everyone in my school has worked very hard to get to the point where they are at right now. Everyone has a different struggle and a different story. It’s a few more years before we can call ourselves doctors, but I can already see the finish line and it’s a beautiful feeling. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, drive, and focus, but we will all get there. Everything will be worth it. This is just the beginning.

Pratima is a first year student from Cliffside Park, New Jersey. In May of 2017, she graduated from Stony Brook University in Long Island, New York, earning her Bachelor of Science in Health Science with a concentration in Healthcare management. Her interest to pursue optometry arose as a youth. Pratima admired how her optometrist built meaningful relationships with all of her patients. What Pratima most admires about the profession is the healthy work- balance, and the opportunity to be both a clinician and entrepreneur. Pratima spent her year before optometry school gaining experience as an optometric technician at a local private practice. During her free time, Pratima enjoys spending time outdoors, exploring coffee shops, and spending quality time with friends and family.