The Rotations Experience: How to Pack for Rotations – July 7, 2014

Dear Diary,

Fourth year clinical rotations are the pinnacle of optometry school that all students are anxious for. It’s a time of freedom, learning, and exposure to parts of optometry you may never see in the school clinic. Or is it?

My name is Lawrence Yu, and I just started my clinical rotations as a fourth year student at the Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University. Through this blog, I will chronicle and share my rotations experience throughout the year at my four different sites. Join me as I leave the safety of the school clinic and enter the real world of optometry. Learn with me as I see some crazy eye diseases. Suffer with me as I endure moving every 2.5 months. Follow me and prepare yourself for your last year of optometry school.

Monday, July 7, 2014

How to Pack for Rotations: Day 44 of 79 at Naval Medical Center of San Diego

Packing to start a year of clinical rotations at numerous sites can be an immense challenge. For my pack rat personality, it was a terrible challenge trying to balance junk with necessity. Here are my tips and timeline on how to pack for rotations:

1. Winter break of third year – Start bringing your junk home when you travel home for the holidays.

For most people, this is a good time to load your car with the things you know you won’t need and store them at home. This will lessen your load when you have to start packing for the Big Move in May once third year ends.

2014-05-25 13.52.572. After Boards Part 1 – Clean up your room and throw away unnecessary things.

Your room will already be a mess from studying for a month for Part 1. As you’re cleaning up all your notes and study material, take the time to throw away or sell things you don’t need for rotations but don’t care enough to keep (like old paperwork or that junky bike).

3. One month before the Big Move – Save any paper grocery bags or boxes that you come across.

Moving boxes are surprisingly expensive, and paper grocery bags are free and surprisingly sturdy. I packed my whole life into paper bags used to hold catered food.

4. One week before – Sell all your furniture.

Unless you have an extremely strong attachment to your bed, it’s not worth the trouble to move a bed. Once you get to your rotation site, buy a cheap mattress on Craigslist or try to survive on an air mattress. Used furniture is extremely cheap on Craigslist, so don’t worry about eating dinner on top of a cardboard box.

5. Two days before – Start packing your car.

Give yourself plenty of time to pack your life into your car. Undoubtedly you will end up with too much stuff and too small a car, so you may need to make some hard decisions on what to throw away. Based on this, you should pack the most essential things first. You don’t want to fill your Honda Civic with half-necessary stuff and then realize you don’t have room for optometric equipment.

Here’s what my fully packed car looked like:

[youtube_sc url=””]

6. One day before – Test drive your car.

Take your fully packed car for a test drive around your car to ensure you can still see enough to know where you’re going. Try not to block your side view mirrors, although you could survive if your rear view mirror is blocked. Try your best not to block your front windshield.

7. The day of your move – Wave goodbye!

Today is the start of one of the most exciting parts of optometry school, where opportunities will shape the doctor you’ll be for the next 30-40 years. Embrace the change and say hello to the future!

Scroll to Top