Tis the season to get ready for final exams as the fall semester at NECO is winding down. The halls at NECO are decorated for the holidays and winter break is right around the corner. I have not begun studying just yet, but I have been keeping up with courses and all my notes and power points are ready for reviewing.
When I began optometry school, an upper classman told me studying is all about time management and I have carried that advice with me for three years. After each class, I quickly review the material we have learned and take further notes if needed, so when it comes to studying for exams I am well prepared. For classes such as ocular pharmacology, I like to make note cards and test myself when I am on the train to clinic.
I am currently doing a clinical placement at the Lynn Community Health Center. Almost all of my patients take medications, so it is useful to use what I learn in class to know more about the medications the patients are taking and the mechanism of their actions. Learning about the various ocular diseases in class and then diagnosing it on an actual patient in clinic is very rewarding. It is different learning what diabetic and hypertensive retinopathy looks in the back of the eye versus seeing it on a real patient with real symptoms.
The number one tip I have for prospective students is to manage your time and to study smart, not study hard. I have begun studying for boards since last month and my studying consists of reviewing material for one hour every day. The third week of March is when third years take their exams so starting early is critical. There is a company called KMK that offers boards prep classes. Earlier this semester, representatives of the company came to NECO to go through a brief review of all topics. Aside from attending those classes, I have been watching videos and reading the material KMK has provided. Of course my biggest fear is not passing, but with the right mindset and attitude that will not be a problem. When the time comes in March I will dominate boards!
This year my favorite course is Ophthalmic Business and Management Policy. The class gives basic knowledge required to manage an optometric practice in various types of settings. One of the requirements of the class is to create our own business plan including how much money we want to put in the business, the location of the practice, and any sub-specialties within the practice. I think it is critical for students to learn about business management and financing in order to understand the key concepts of how optometrists generate income. This is an important class for me because after I graduate, I want to further on my education by receiving my Masters in Business and ultimately opening a private practice. I am really looking forward to putting my optometric and business management into great use!