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Boston, I’m Falling For You

view from below looking up at Beacon Street College building

The semester so far has been an exciting one in a lot of ways. Midterms have come and gone (my second to last round of midterms ever!) and finals are already looming on the horizon. I am coming to the realization that in about four months I will be writing Part 1 of my board examinations and I will be graduating in a year and a half from NECO.

CLINICAL ROTATION ASSIGNMENTS: One of the best moments to date was receiving my fourth year rotation assignments.  I was lucky enough to get placed at clinic sites within and near Boston, so I get to spend another whole year in this vibrant city.  Going on rotations will definitely be bittersweet: it will be sad to not see my classmates every single day, but I know everyone (including me) will have an awesome time exploring new places and gaining new clinical experiences. 

STUDYING FOR THE NBEO BOARD EXAM, PART 1: On top of the typical third year course work, I have been dedicating one weekend a month this semester to the highly recommended review course for Board examinations provided by KMK Educational Services. This company provides an intensive in-class overview of the major topics that will be on Part 1 of board examinations. I consider the KMK course invaluable for two reasons.  First, it forced me to review the material early.  Even if it was hard to pay attention at times, any information I retained from these sessions is one less thing I need to spend time learning as I study for Boards in the future.  Second, the instructors helped to break down the vast amount of information into more manageable core concepts. Whether it was through clever acronyms, charts or diagrams, they provided a simple framework to the material onto which further detail and knowledge could be built during independent study sessions.  These sessions had an immense amount of information packed into them, but I’m confident that the tips and tricks the instructors provided during each session will help me study for boards more effectively.

HALLOWEEN: Another highlight of my fall semester thus far was getting to attend one of my favorite NECO events: The annual Halloween party. The OD2’s did an awesome job of organizing the event, holding it for the second year in a row at a local Boston bar called King’s. What was great about having the Halloween party here is that the bar has bowling, skee ball, pool and air hockey, meaning that those who don’t enjoy nightclubs were still able to attend and have a great time. There was also good food, music and a costume contest. I didn’t win the costume contest, but I fully intend to go to the Halloween party again next year and give it another shot. Is it too early to start planning my costume?

As I’m nearing the end of my optometry education, it’s interesting to look at how the school has been changing over the last year. The school recently underwent renovations in the basement to create a new community commons space. The new cafeteria and seating areas are beautiful, modern, well lit, and open. It’s exciting that new students will get to experience this physically different NECO than the one where I started. When I first started at this school, graduating and achieving my OD seemed a lifetime away.  But now, with clinic rotations set and board exams getting closer by the day, it’s hard to believe that my time at NECO is almost over. 

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.