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Boards On the Brain

Maria and two students by VOSH banner

My final semester as an OD3 is in full swing and every day that passes brings me closer to two major events. The first, of course, is Part 1 of the National Board Examinations. Part 1 takes place in March of this semester, and although I dread having to write this exam, part of me wishes March would hurry up and arrive so I can write it and (hopefully) be done with it forever. I’m also counting down the days to the end of this semester and as of mid May, I will officially be done with academic classes! I’m so excited to start my OD4 rotations this summer and get as much experience as possible before I graduate and start my optometry career.

The semester so far has had a different feel compared to previous semesters. I am spending less time in classes, and significantly more time independently studying for Part 1 of the National Board Examinations. It feels like almost every conversation I have with my classmates is about board examinations. I’ve reached the conclusion that there’s no “tried and true way” to prepare for Part 1. We’ve all been students for a very long time, and everyone has their own unique way to effectively study for difficult examinations.

My studying method for Part 1 is focused on being as efficient as possible when it comes to reviewing the material. The amount of material we need to know for Part 1 is immense and it is easy to get bogged down trying to remember every little detail.  My goal is to first gain a broad knowledge base on all the subject matter, and then try to work on deepening this knowledge after I have a strong foundation. I try to study every day (even if only for a short time), and I hope to get through all the material with enough time left over to review and focus on the subjects of which I am weakest. I’m trying to break down all the information I read into shorter, point form notes, so that when I review it all for a second time I can get through the major key points much quicker.

The NECO spring semester is chalk full of incredible events, and I hope to take advantage of as many as I can before fourth year begins and my life gets even busier. One of my all time favorite NECO events is the VOSH Night and this year’s event was as amazing as ever. The Student Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (SVOSH) NECO chapter runs a casino night to help fund their mission trip which provides vision services to developing countries. VOSH Night offered Black Jack, Roulette, and incredible Raffle prizes. This year, the event was able to bring out everyone’s inner  “80 year old” by offering Bingo for the first year ever. Unfortunately I did not get the chance to stand up and scream “Bingo!” but hopefully I’ll be able to go to the VOSH Night in 2018 to give it another shot.

In a few months the College will be holding its 87th annual Eye Ball, and the anticipation is already killing me. Not only will Part 1 of Boards be over by then, the Eye Ball theme is “Under the See.” If the eye puns aren’t reason enough to attend, the event is being held at a location truly befitting its theme: The New England Aquarium.

My NECO experience so far has been unbelievable and I can’t wait to find out what’s in store when I’m finally an OD4. So let the countdown begin!

Maria is a Canadian student in her final year of the four year OD/MS dual degree program. For her MS project, she is working with Dr. Vera-Diaz and Dr. Panorgias examining color vision and early age-related macular degeneration.