What to Expect
Optometry students learn to work with patients to preserve and enhance
Ruby Arthur took the program at the New England School of Optometry. She
says students shouldn't panic too much about the admissions exams --
she found them "not that bad, just long."
Like other successful optometry students, Arthur has worked hard to develop
the academic skills she needs. Organizing her studies and persevering each
day are now old habits for her.
"This is a profession with a lot of teamwork and [you] need to cooperate
with others," she says. "You need to be well-rounded, able to interact
with patients -- it can't be all about the books."
Arthur is happy with her choice of study. "I can interact with patients
and give them immediate help. I can see immediate results in something that
really improves their lives."
Her studies kept her very busy, with little time for extracurricular activities.
"It is a lot of work, and not much time for them," she says. "This is a
crash course for four years."
Nathan Knezdcek studied at optometry school. He is still excited about
the rotations he completed in Florida and Jamaica.
In a typical week, he spent four of five days in the clinic working
with patients. One day a week was spent in academic study.
His clinical work began in the first year and he was very nervous. "You
are working not just under your own professors, but also visiting doctors
[who are] refreshing their skills, here to get experience with the Excimer
Laser at the laser center on campus," he explains.
Knezdcek estimates that homework took about nine hours a day for the
program in the first two years, and more in the third and fourth year
as clinic work increased.
How to Prepare
"It is important to get a good basis in all the sciences," says
Arthur. That's because tests and study later all require "the ability to comprehend
a lot quickly."