The first semester of optometry school should be a memorable experience. You meet the friends you will have for life, receive your white coat (depending on your school), choose your optometric instruments, explore your passions, and much more. But with a global pandemic and state regulations, all of that has been canceled and moved online. So, what’s next?
Welcome to virtual optometry school!
Many students are discouraged or disappointed when they come to the realization that they will be living out their first semester of optometry school via webcam. Many students also struggle when trying to focus on online classes. And while online school typically has a negative reputation, it is very easy to make the most out of it!
Here are a few tips to handle your online graduate classes:
- Set up your own schedule — most likely you will be given an online class schedule where you will have to log onto your computer and attend virtual lectures. But, if you treat this schedule like you would a real-life schedule and set up a routine for yourself, it will be much easier. Find time for breakfast or a lunch break in between virtual classes. Make a personal study schedule so you do not fall behind. Making sure you’re organized throughout the semester is more important now than ever before!
- Eliminate distractions — When you’re in the comfort of your own home, it’s very easy to get distracted. Family members, pets, television, or the most enticing, the cell phone. These are all distractions that can make online school much harder. Do yourself a favor and turn your cell phone off, just like you would in any in-person class. Close your bedroom door and let your family know you are in a lecture. Remember that this is all temporary; those little sacrifices will make a big difference in the long run.
- Don’t forget about yourself — Just like you would in a traditional, in-person school setting, take time for yourself. Work hard and study hard, but also don’t forget to take a day to recharge. Do something you enjoy, such as exercising or laying out by the pool. These self-care activities are necessary to keep your mind and body feeling its best throughout the semester.
- Enjoy it while it lasts — While online school does not seem ideal at the moment, you will miss it. You’ll miss waking up at 7:50 AM to attend your 8:00 AM lecture because all you have to do is roll out of bed and turn your laptop on. You will miss the luxury of getting to stay in pajamas all day. You will miss being able to eat chips during class without worrying that you’re disturbing someone else. Therefore, try to enjoy the little things while going through this time.
Optometry school is a journey, but it is one of your many journeys. Keep an open and positive mind. Schools will reopen, and you will be able to smile looking at the real “Welcome to Optometry School” sign before you know it!