Have you joined yet?

group of students standing in front of colorful buildings

Have you joined yet?

Happy October! School is in full swing, students are getting used to the new academic year, and the fourth year externs are on the path to a new rotation site.

For this blog, I want to talk a little bit about the student life and student clubs at New England College of Optometry.

As a fourth year student nearing the end of my education, it is difficult to describe my school experience in just a few words. NECO has played a positive role in shaping the clinician I will become. NECO is very family oriented and everyone, from the students, staff, and faculty, are close knit.

Something unexpected that I have learned is that the upperclassmen are always willing to help other students and very helpful to me personally when I needed it. When I struggled in a certain subject or needed help picking a rotation site, the upperclassmen were there for me and this definitely enhanced my experience at NECO.

Attending school activities outside of classes is a way to learn more about other students and get to know one another. At the beginning of the school year, the NECO student council hosts its annual barbecue. What I learned is that it is a chance for the first year students to get to know their classmates but also to get to know the upperclassmen. Apart from the barbecue, there is always an event going on about once per month for students to mingle and just enjoy life outside of classes.

I am a big advocate on becoming involved at school and making the most of your time at NECO. Joining extracurricular activities at NECO really enhanced my experience. There are numerous ways to get involved, whether it is joining a club or hosting a school event for everybody to get together.

At the beginning of each year, the school hosts a club fair and students are encouraged to check out the various clubs. From Spanish club to Private Practice Club to Lions Club, there is pretty much something for everyone. I urge all students to find the clubs that match their interests. For me, it was of the Private Practice Club and the VOSH club.

VOSH in an international non-profit organization that provides eye exams to underserved populations in third world countries. Anybody and everybody is welcome to join. I joined my first year and slowly completed the necessary requirements to go to the Dominican Republic on a medical mission trip. In order to attend the mission trip in your third year, students are required to fundraise, volunteer, and perform a certain number of vision screenings by the middle of their third year.

Looking back at my NECO experience, one of my greatest accomplishments was joining VOSH and traveling to the Dominican Republic this past April. My classmates and I performed eye exams on over 800 patients in a span of ten days. Feel free to check out my VOSH video—it was truly an amazing, eye-opening, humble experience. If I can do it all over again, I would do it ten more times and I HIGHLY encourage everybody to join!