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Halfway There!

Group of students in dresses and suits standing in row outside

The month of April was filled with lots of exciting adventures and activities! First off, the private practice club held three wonderful speaker events. I especially enjoyed listening to Dr. Kristin O’Brien speak about what to expect after taking boards examinations. Dr. O’Brien went straight from graduation to opening her own practice and she explained how to do everything from talking about salary to hiring the right associates. She also talked about budget management and where and how much one should allocate to their income. I always pick up helpful hints from the guest speakers and their words of advice allows me to see the light at the end of the four-year tunnel.

On April 20th, NECO held the 15th Annual “Visionaries: A Day of Student Achievement.”  Visionaries Day at NECO is an exciting time because the first year students present their posters they have been working and planning since the beginning of the year.  The posters focus on public health impact and how to expand the field of optometry throughout the global community.  The posters were judged this year by the National Preparedness Leadership Institute on presentation and impact on public health.  The winners are encouraged to submit their posters and abstract to the American Academy of Optometry, which will be held in Chicago this year.  

When I was a first year not too long ago, my group and I had an interest in low vision.  We presented our poster on the barriers to accessibility of low vision devices and its services.  We decided to talk to Dr. Ross who is the low vision specialist at the NECO Center for Eye Care.  Aside from glasses, there are numerous ways for low vision patients to be able to see and Dr. Ross does an amazing job working with each patient and how to meet their needs.  We may have not won first place, but I sure did learn a lot more about low vision than I did before.

The second year students had the great pleasure of attending a guest lecture by Dr. Danny Haddad, Chief of Programs at Orbis International.  Dr. Haddad has worked in over 50 countries as an advocate and practitioner and he talked to us about his international journey.  What inspired me most about his talk was that Dr. Haddad takes personal time out of his day and volunteers with organizations in different parts of the world.  His plan is to eliminate blinding trachoma by the year 2020. He allowed us to open our eyes to the various possibilities we can experience during our optometry careers - working at a VA, going on medical mission trips, volunteering at health centers. I am looking forward to going on my first medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic next spring with VOSH!

My favorite event this April was NECO’s 87th annual Eye Ball. This year’s theme was Under the Sea and what better venue to pick than at the New England Aquarium!  This wonderful event had three floors of amazing sea animals and delicious food.  The dance floor was filled with students and professors dancing the night away—it was an unforgettable night to remember! It was nice mingling with my friends and professors outside of school.

In less than two weeks, I will have officially completed my second year of optometry school.  It’s crazy how time flies!   This summer my clinic placement will be at the NECO Center for Eye Care in Roslindale.  I am looking forward to being efficient and more detail oriented, as I will be in clinic for 30 hours per week.  It will definitely be a change of pace as I am currently in clinic one day per week. Between now and then, I still have four examinations that will begin in a few short days - time to get studying!

Biren is in his third year at NECO. He is from Chicago, Illinois. During his free time, he enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and trying new foods. He always enjoys great company and making new friends.