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More to Explore as an OD 4

Maria and three friends sitting at restaurant table smiling

Graduation is quickly approaching, and I can’t believe that in 6 months my time in Boston will come to an end. Back when I was a fresh-faced undergraduate student researching different optometry schools across the USA, I was overwhelmed with the thought of having to make the life-changing decision of what school to attend. Every school had its own unique merit.

 Since I am from Canada, I had no significant ties to any particular state which could have influenced my decision. However, as soon as I stepped foot into NECO, I knew right away it was where I wanted to go to optometry school. Beyond the stellar clinical program, friendly staff and beautiful building, the city of Boston itself was what really made me want to call NECO my home. 

Coming from a small town, I feel much more comfortable living in a city like Boston with its local feel. Boston prides itself on being a walking city and I do recommend walking whenever you can. Boston has many historical brownstone buildings and picturesque parks that can’t be properly appreciated sitting in the back of an Uber! I have particularly enjoyed walking along the Esplanade, which is a waterfront trail along the Charles River. During the summer months, people enjoy sitting by the water to read or watch the sunset. There are even free movies and concerts offered in the Hatch Shell throughout the summer. The Esplanade trail is also great for the novice jogger who doesn’t like to run where there are stoplights or a great number of people. For those that love old buildings, the Boston Public Library is a great place to study, but be sure to take lots of breaks to admire its impressive collection of literature and breathtaking architecture.

The good thing about attending a school in Boston is that I am never short on options for food. Nestled in amongst the pricier eateries are always a few budget friendly restaurants that are just as tasty. I take every friend or family member that visits to Boston’s North End, where we eat an Italian meal and end the night with a quick stop at Mike’s Pastry.

During my last 6 months living in Boston, there are many Boston traditions and events I hope to take in. For this colder time of year, City Hall Plaza boasts a large outdoor Winter Festival with ice skating and a Holiday Market. I also hope to see “The Nutcracker” performed by the Boston Ballet. When the weather warms up, some activities I would still like to take part in include visiting Cape Cod, checking out Lawn on D (a park with free lawn games, light up swings, and concerts), and spending a day exploring the Museum of Science.

Living in Boston as an OD 4 means that (hypothetically), after I am done writing my Board Examinations, I will have more free time to see all that is left to see before moving back home to Canada. My time attending NECO and living in Boston has been an amazing experience thus far and I will sorely miss this city that I have learned to call home. 

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.