We all know this harsh truth about optometry school: life happens. If you haven’t experienced it yet, trust me, you will. Just because you got accepted into your school of choice, doesn’t mean the world stops turning around you. In fact, it seems that when you walk through the doors on the first day of optometry school, a big heavy foot steps on the gas and accelerates every aspect of your life. You or your loved ones may have children, get married, unfortunately fall sick, or even die. I wasn’t the first student to have a major life change while in optometry school, and I certainly won’t be the last! Here is some of the best advice I can give from my experience so you can celebrate the little things that make life worth living.
1. Prioritize Everything
First off, it is important to realize that your prioritization skills should not just be for classes, tests, projects, and practicals. They should be transferred to every part of your life. Your calendar needs to include important things like birthdays, anniversaries, and milestones that you don’t want to miss. These small breaks will make a big difference when you need to pull the next heavy study session, so don’t take them for granted. When I was planning for my wedding, I scheduled time to be with my fiancé Lisa. It was important to me to be extremely involved with my wedding but it took work to get there.
2. Experiencing the Little Things Will Pay Off More Than You Think
Just because you are in optometry school doesn’t mean you will never live again or that life is just something to deal with while studying for exams. Even in the midst of what is sure to be one of the most stressful times of your career as an optometrist, you can still live and love those around you even better than you did when you started. Take the time to be with the people you care about and be open to meeting new people. Do not fall down the slippery slope of neglecting relationships. You will need them when the going gets tough.
3. Keep Plans
When you have a lot of things pressing you for your time, it’s easy to let your personal life get the boot. On the flip side, you don’t want to let your personal life keep you from your success. When you build a reputation as someone who keeps their word, and doesn’t ditch plans at the last minute, people will be more willing to accept the fact that you have plans when something comes up last minute.
The best thing about all of these pieces of advice is that they are not only things that will keep you successful in optometry school, but they will also help you form and keep great relationships for the rest of your life. Always remember that you are building habits and developing skills that will define your character and help you be the best doctor you can be!
About Peter Jacques
A second year optometry student at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, Peter serves as the Editor-in-Chief of OptometryStudents.com. He leads the UMSL Private Practice Club and also enjoys serving as the Treasurer of UMSL’s SVOSH. In his personal time, Peter enjoys spending time with his wife Lisa and their two month old Isaac.