How’s school going for all the first years out there? Orientation already seems so long ago! I’m sure it was a little nerve-wracking but fun time for everyone, and I’d like to take quick a look back and share how things went for us here at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University. Our orientation was scheduled for the week before classes started, and was divided into morning and afternoon sessions, then evening activities. We learned a lot about upcoming classes and programs, and had a great time getting to know everyone!
Here are a few highlights from my PCO Orientation:
1.) Getting to know the school and class schedule
Orientation included introductions of all the important people at PCO, a financial aid session, overview of academic policies, and information about services available to students. We received our fall class schedules and got an overview of what to expect in our next 4 years of optometry school at PCO (it’s going to be a busy 4 years!). Courses at PCO are divided up into 10 modules. We also learned about opportunities for advanced studies as well as the Master’s in Public Health program that’s offered to PCO students. I thought the most helpful part of orientation was the student panel. We were able to anonymously text in our questions for the upperclassmen to answer, it was really informative. The upperclassmen at PCO are so friendly and always willing to help!
2.) The guest speakers
Bojana Coklyat was such an inspirational guest speaker at our orientation! She is a legally blind artist from Jersey City who was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 10 years old. By the age of 27 she experienced kidney failure and vision loss. Now she’s legally blind. She described her vision as looking through a dim, foggy windshield. Even with her diagnosis, she kept a positive attitude. With the help and encouragement of her doctor and brother, Bojana was able to retain as much sight as possible. She became an art teacher at St. Joseph’s School for the Blind, where she was able to show visually impaired children how to express themselves through artwork. She displayed some of her artwork both from before and after she started losing her vision. Bojana told us the importance of being compassionate and supportive to patients when sharing a life changing diagnosis. I loved our guest speaker, how was yours??
The evening activities were a great time! We really got to know our classmates better and had a lot of fun. Admissions and upperclassmen hosted some evening activities for us after orientation. There was an ice cream social and student organization fair, barbecue, trivia night and movie night. Students also organized their own activities together on the weekends. I especially enjoyed running the Pennsylvania Warrior Dash 5k on one of our days off. My favorite activity of the week was a night out in Philadelphia planned by the upperclassmen, we had a blast! We were bused into Philly as a group, and enjoyed an evening out together after a busy week. Not only was it nice to have some fun before classes started, but it was nice to see some familiar faces on the first day of classes.
So happy to finally be starting this journey with the PCO Class of 2017! How was YOUR orientation week? I hope you’re all settled in and getting used to our busy lives as optometry students! Check back as I continue to share my experiences as a first year student on OptometryStudents.com!