Students are truly the heart of our College. Our students come from around the country and the world to form a vibrant student community. Although they spend a great deal of time studying for classes and doing clinical work, they also find ways to support both local and global communities by providing eye screenings at community events, attend and present posters at Optometric conferences, support one another and the profession through various student clubs, and form a lifelong network of friends and colleagues. Our diverse student body comes from across the United States and countries around the world. Through their clinical rotations, students serve children, elders, the disabled, veterans, and those with a range of eye and health care needs from the community. Our students are notable for their contributions, their work, and the community the join and the community they help form.
We asked our students, “What makes New England College of Optometry #NotablyNECO to you?”
NECO is different from other schools because of the diversity of the clinical experience. As a student leader, I have attended many meetings with other students and they are all surprised that our students are in the VA system and community health centers early on in their education. The best way to become a doctor is to be responsible for patient care as early as possible!
Professors are always willing to answer questions. Between recordings of lectures, Powerpoint notes, and notes from the school notetakers, course material is presented in a variety of formats so that you can study for one subject in many different ways. The most important resource, I've found, is your classmates - not only to study with, but as a support system. Since NECO is a small school, there is a sense of community that follows you from your first day as a first year student throughout your time here.
The tour guide at NECO really emphasized how everyone knows each other at the school and serve as a support system for their peers. I have found this to be completely true in the sense that every one of my classmates and I are “in this together” as opposed to viewing each other as potential competitors.
What's great about starting to work in a clinical setting is that classes become more obviously relevant to 'real life.' I'm no longer thinking what kind of test question this material could turn into…but I'm also asking myself how will I handle this condition if I see it in a patient.
In just a few short months, NECO changed me from a wide-eyed liberal arts major to a full-fledge optometry student analyzing patient’s prescriptions and solving eye-related cases.”
During the summer before my third year I saw some really interesting cases at NEEI, including my first keratoconic patient. Going through the whole fitting process of a specialized RGP lens with the patient really brought all of the things we have learned in lecture together. Experiences like these are the ones that remind me why I want to be an Optometrist!
I came to NECO for that warm, friendly, family atmosphere. I can walk through any of the halls or open areas and see people I know who greet me with a smile. And they know me. Professors care about your education and want to make sure that you are knowledgeably prepared for clinic experience.
There was one thing about NECO that stood out from the others, and that was the welcoming feeling I had immediately upon entering the school. I knew NECO was a place I would be welcomed and supported as I furthered my education. As I begin my second year I can confidently say that NECO was the right choice for me and continues to make me feel welcome and supported everyday.
For my fourth year rotations, I picked two sites that expanded my knowledge of unusual anterior segment issues and specialty contact lenses. These clinical experiences will enable me to carry out my dream of using specialty lenses to give clearer vision to those who have lost their sight.”
I feel that the clinical education at NECO is a true strength that the college's program has to offer. It's set up in a way that really builds on itself year after year, incorporating more clinical experience and less classroom learning as time goes on. I think there is a huge importance that lies within hands on experience that you can't get from strictly learning from a textbook. NECO does a great job at allowing the students to really dive on head first into dealing with patient's within a few short weeks of beginning their first year of academia.
I've had the opportunity to see eye care from many different perspectives on this rotation. Everything from the preparation of the operating room, to preparing the patient, to the actual surgery itself is such an amazing process.
NECO gives students the opportunity to administer screenings at area elementary schools. That practice will only culminate in greater passion for optometry and the confidence to be a good clinician.
The support system at NECO has far outreached my expectations. Not only do the professors care about individual students and will work with them on a one-on-one basis, my classmates are the best! We are always more than willing to help one another, share our notes, and act as a team. We will be each others' future colleagues, so the relationships we make now are our foundation.
Debi, OD14, shares her thoughts on her experience at New England College of Optometry.