New prospective and incoming students to the College of Optometry often ask whether we have lots of work to do on weekends and if we have any time for fun. My answer to both is YES!
So, what does a typical weekend look like through the eyes of a PUCO Opto student?
Fridays are a welcome end to the busy week. I was itching to get out of the Optometry building last Friday, particularly because it was a rare winter afternoon with sunny skies rather than rain. When the sun shines in the winter, we all collectively buzz a little higher than usual. My peers practically skip around campus, basking in the sunshine. I stepped out of the Optometry building to find the usual ‘sunny day’ scene: a few students unwinding after clinic on the slackline they often put up right outside the library. We all find our own style of Zen.
After lounging in the afternoon sun, break was over and it was time to put in another few hours before the weekend could start. Most of our procedural practice is on our own time, so we often get together to work in groups. Half of us dilated our eyes and sat as patients for the rest of the group to practice examining the back of the eye.
Saturday morning I had brunch plans, but before that I made a quick stop into the lab to practice procedures again. I often like to get into the labs early to beat the rush. To my surprise, I was met by a full house of fellow Opto students and their families. Sitting around the procedures lab were ten of some of the cutest and most well-behaved children in the world (most under the age of 6). While my classmates practiced procedures on each other, their children sat together and watched movies. The College of Optometry includes many families, and we do welcome the visits from fellow student’s children.
After practicing in the lab, it was time to head to my brunch date, with a few dear friends (also classmates) and to meet the parents of the hostess. We indulged in organic and home-cooked foods (much thanks to our hostess & family), and also indulged in a nice down-tempo, relaxing few hours of conversation. Leading such a fast-paced lifestyle, away from my own family in Canada, makes me appreciate family brunches like this even more. My peers and their families have become my family here, and downtime with them is most refreshing.
Two things I love: Portland and chocolate. So, naturally the next Saturday adventure took me to the Portland Chocolate Festival, an easy 30-minute drive from Forest Grove. It is an annual foodie event at which you can sample some of the region’s finest chocolate. It seemed like all the rage this year was chocolate that incorporated chilies and salts into decadent assortments. We sampled, we tasted, and we savored. Délicieux.
At this point the day had turned to evening, and seeing as we already had a sugar high, we thought we may as well check out a concert before heading home. Ra Ra Riot played at Wonder Ballroom, which is an awesome venue that showcases indie and great up-and-coming musicians. Whatever your musical tastes, Portland has something for you.
Sundays for me are usually days to catch up and prep for the next week. I found my own Zen on a Sunday morning run, up the West side hills of Forest Grove. The rest of the day I lounged at home with my dog, tea, comfy clothes, and books. My music, desk candle and I work well together for study days. All in all, some weekends are for work, some for play, and most include a bit of both.