The summer between first and second year of Optometry school is often referred to as ‘your last summer ever’ by students here at Pacific. We work very hard during the school year, and first year is definitely a big lifestyle adjustment, so when that summer arrives it welcomed with open arms. A chance to relax, get outside instead of studying in the library, and spend time doing your favorite activities without worrying about the next upcoming test or proficiency in the back of your mind.
That summer is bliss, but what about the next one? I just finished my first session of summer school ever in my decently long time as a student. The dreaded summer between second and third year – in which you have to start seeing patients for the first time as well as keep going to labs and lectures. Let me tell you, I was not looking forward to this summer at all. I did as many things as possible during my ‘last summer’ so when I was locked up in the library studying I could at least remind myself of the experiences I had the time and freedom to discover the previous year.
So I came back from our short break at the end of second year, having just earned my white coat and survived another round of finals and resigned to start summer school. Don’t get me wrong, I love Optometry school and Pacific, but I was just not looking forward to spending my summer indoors instead of out exploring. Thankfully, though, summer school did not end up being the prison sentence that I had imagined it would be.
First of all, you get start your clinical experience, which is what you’ve been working for the past 2 years and it is Amazing. Working with patients is a whole new challenge, and each week brings a different kind of encounter. Sometimes this can be a little overwhelming, but fortunately we have amazing peers. I loved both of my clinic groups and attending doctors, and learned so much from all of them.
Another great surprise for me was that even though I was in summer school and still had to go to class every day, I actually had time to do some exploring with my incredible classmates. We got to spend an Oregon summer together, which is definitely a great experience. One day some of us hiked Saddle Mountain, which isn’t easy but the view is amazing.
The coast is only an hour away, and during this summer we definitely took advantage of that, jetting over to watch the amazing sunsets and breathe in the sea air. Also, Portland is just a short drive and it was great to check out all the things going on in the city – food, drinks, and of course, the Timbers!
During the summer we were also lucky enough to have a few long holiday weekends, and that was so nice because we could get away and see family or just have a little more time to explore. I went to Crater with my family and it was breathtakingly beautiful!
Since Optometry’s Meeting is also during the summer, we got a little time off to attend that if we chose to as well, which I did. It was in Philadelphia this year and it was such a unique experience to check out Philly as well as get to interact with students from other schools as well as doctors (also Bonus! We got to meet Mrs. Philadelphia at Love Park while we were there).
Even though it doesn’t seem like I did much else besides have fun, I did still have to study during the summer. But on the bright side, studying for a midterm isn’t so bad when you get to do it like this:And, when August comes, and you finally do get all your studying done (for this semester at least), all the tests have been taken, all the patients have been seen, then you do get a couple weeks to get out there and do whatever you want before fall semester starts up. So don’t dread summer school, just take advantage of the time you do have off and do something amazing!