The Student Perspective: On to Third Year and Direct Patient Care
For my classmates and me, this month marks the halfway point of our optometry school careers at Western University College of Optometry. We are one step closer to becoming optometrists.
I've come to appreciate each year of optometry school as a unique experience. Third year stands out as the beginning of our highly anticipated immersion into direct patient care. It's also known as the year when students take part in one of the dreaded National Board exams.
I had a short, but memorable summer break leading up to this year. I had time to reflect on my first two years in optometry school, and I began to appreciate how great of an experience it's been so far. I have learned a lot about the clinical aspects of optometry and grown as a person, but most notably, I fell in love with the profession. I've met hundreds of students and optometrists from around the world through optometric conferences and volunteer trips. I've gained new friends and mentors along the way, and I've come to see the profession as a closely knit community of doctors and students dedicated to supporting one another and advocating for public well-being.
I spent the first part of the summer visiting family and friends in Colorado before traveling to Chicago to attend the National Optometric Association annual convention. The NOA is an organization that is near and dear to my heart. I have been a member of the student branch of the NOA (NOSA) since my first year in optometry school, and this year I'm serving as NOSA's national president. The mission of the NOA and NOSA is to advance the visual health of underserved communities. I have loved being involved with these two organizations because they bring together highly motivated people who are compassionate and have a true passion for service.
My goal for this year is to refine my clinical skills and develop my personal exam flow. I'm also looking forward to selecting my fourth-year rotation sites. I'm hoping that my rotations will offer me an opportunity to grow my knowledge in clinical specialties such as vision therapy, specialty contact lenses, and neuro-optometric rehabilitation. My hope is that this will help me achieve my ultimate goal of owning a private practice after graduation and specializing in these three areas.
I'm not sure what the next two years of optometry school hold for me, but if they are anything like the past two years, then they will surely be a blast.
Faiz Mahgoub is a third-year student at Western University College of Optometry, and incoming president of the National Optometric Student Association.