As many of you know, the Kentucky College of Optometry (KYCO) accepted its inaugural class in the fall of 2016 and I was lucky enough to have been selected for one of the 60 seats. Currently, we are in our second semester of classes and just recently moved into our new building. Although there have been a few bumps along the way such as last-minute schedule changes, which is to be expected from an inaugural class, it has been a great experience overall and we are all excited to be here!
Along with a new program comes a new building, about which I wanted to share more information! If you are applying to schools, or are just curious and haven’t checked out KYCO’s website, I encourage you to take a peek. Our new building came at a price upwards of $55 million, and as our founding dean, Dr. Buzzelli, put it, they “spared no expense.” There are seven stories total, with floors two through six dedicated to optometry students and clinic space. The lecture halls are state-of-the-art, with 360 degrees of wall-mounted televisions and projector screens that drop from the ceiling, and lecture podiums placed near the center of the room so the professor can walk around as he or she lectures. Each table seats up to six, but in a circular fashion, so that students face each other, with each table equipped with plug-ins and microphones. Throughout the building there are open spaces with chairs and whiteboards for studying. Every space feels like a combination of a luxury hotel and a modern convention center. At each end of the middle floors (three, four, and five) are conference rooms that seat 10-12 people, with white boards and televisions in each, of course. The middle floors also have spacious lockers located among numerous study spots and rooms to hold group study sessions or small meetings. And don’t forget the floor-to-ceiling windows to help bring in the views of Central Appalachia!
As of now, four of the seven stories in our new building are ready to use and all of our classes have relocated to the new space. The stress of last-minute schedule and location changes are in the past and we now have a dedicated space to call our own. Our typical schedule is 8 A.M. to 3 or 4 P.M., with an hour for lunch at noon. Some evenings have sponsored events and structured study sessions. Once all construction is completed, our building will add a large indoor/outdoor event space on the top floor and a food court with Chik-fil-A, Einstein’s Bros Bagels, and a small “grab-and-go” style snack bar. Then we will truly be able to eat, sleep, and breathe optometry!
Over the next few months, I will be posting more information about many different aspects of the program and the local area, including the way labs are run and tests are administered, and also about the experiences and skills learned as a first year optometry student in general. Also, I will be attending my first professional conference as an optometrist-to-be with the rest of the OptometryStudents.com crew at the AOA+/Optometry’s Meeting Conference in Washington D.C. this June 2017, so stop by the OptometryStudents.com or KYCO booths and say hello! I look forward to meeting new faces and sharing experiences with one another as we journey through this exciting time in optometry school!
Check out student experiences at other optometry schools in our Schools in Focus series!