Your first thought about an optometry school in South Florida is most likely “those students live right by the beach, how do they get any work done?” I’m here to share that yes, at Nova Southeastern University we enjoy an afternoon at the beach and an occasional study session by the pool, but we have much more to offer than sun-bathing.
Waking up is often the hardest part of the day. One of my favorite things about being a student at NSU is our option to wear our “surgical green” optometry-designated scrubs. How can I be mad about getting up when I know I am essentially wearing professional pajamas to class?!
Another aspect that drew my interest to Nova was the feel of the campus. It is an extremely large school including both graduate and undergraduate programs. While many students live off campus, there are many apartments that are within walking distance. We also have an elaborate fitness center that includes workout classes to keep us working on our fitness. After all, we don’t want to scare off our patients once we correct their vision!
With our large graduate program offerings, we share an inter-professional learning environment within the classroom. It is a great way to integrate professions and get an appreciation for what others will do with their professional degrees.
All about the books:
Regarding education and training, our patients are diverse people that come into clinic with many diseases and problems that offer our students ample exposure before setting off into the real world. Optometry students at Nova also have the opportunity to explore different optometric specialties within the clinical setting. Whether your interests lie in pediatrics, ocular disease, contact lenses, or low vision, they have us covered!
At Nova, every student has an iPad so that we can take notes, record lectures, and take exams on them. How nifty! For those who are not tech-savvy, no need to fret! They walk us through everything, and you will truly come to appreciate how organized and accessible your notes are. Let’s be honest, most of us are Type-A and crave organization in our lives.
Nova also offers a variety of exciting opportunities that enhance our educational experience. During our third year, each student goes through a mini-MBA program to give us a practical business background so that we can establish successful careers. All of us will be involved in a practice at some point and apparently money does not grow from trees.
Another great opportunity that students take advantage of is dual enrollment. I am concurrently in the Masters of Public Health program in addition to my optometry courses. Having this extra health background will be beneficial in my career for health promotion and education both within my optometric practice and additionally among the general population.
Just do it!
The most important part of optometry school is being involved! We all know how hard optometry school is. Studying is always our priority, but it is crucial to keep a balance between classes, friends, and extracurriculars. Taking advantage of food and presentations from successful optometrists that clubs offer is exactly the motivation we all need.
My personal club involvement has given me the opportunity to go on one of Nova’s three annual optometric mission trips. Before the fall semester this year, we are heading to Nicaragua. I could not be more excited for an abroad experience to practice some of the important skills we have learned so far. Involvement has also lead me to active membership in the AOSA. This leadership role took me all the way to Seattle for Optometry’s Meeting this summer as a first year! I was able to network with professionals, meet fellow students from across the country and Canada, and understand the importance of advocacy for the profession.
Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry offers many opportunities for success. As students, we have to remember that no matter where we are, we make our own success by actively learning and getting involved. Good luck to everyone in the upcoming school year! Feel free to visit us in sunny South Florida anytime!