Abby Williams smiling and wearing her white coatHello! My name is Abby Williams. I am currently a first-year student in the Doctor of Optometry Accelerated Scholars program at Salus!

A day in my life typically consists of watching lectures, attending labs, and seeing patients in clinic. Every day our schedule varies, so my schedule looks a little different each day. Usually, I wake up between 6-7 a.m. every morning, eat breakfast, and drink my daily cup of coffee. Then, I get going on whatever the day has in store for me. A typical day includes watching asynchronous lectures at home, attending in-person recitations and labs, and going to clinic at The Eye Institute (TEI). TEI is the clinical facility here at Salus, where I see patients and perform comprehensive eye exams on patients. My classmates and I just started seeing patients in clinic this quarter, and although it can sometimes be challenging, it is so rewarding and exciting to participate in patient care.

Another part of the Scholars program that is unique to our curriculum is participating in Grand Rounds. During Grand Rounds, we get to listen to the second-year scholars present interesting clinical cases. Next quarter, my classmates and I will start presenting on the patient cases that we see in the clinic.

After attending class, clinic, and lab from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, I usually take time to go to the gym, go for a walk, or just relax. I have found that taking a break after a long day is necessary to maintain a good school-life balance and gives me the mental reset I need to do school work in the evening. In the evenings, I make sure to eat dinner, and then I spend my time making study guides, finishing assignments, and studying for upcoming exams.

Abby Williams holding and wearing optometry equiptment in labAfter a busy day, I usually go to bed to bed between 10-11 p.m. to ensure that I get a good seven to eight hours of sleep every night. A consistent sleep schedule is yet another key to ensuring success in this program and gives my body the rest it needs to take on another busy day.

Overall, I enjoy the Scholars program. Even though the days are busy, I love what I’m learning. I also really appreciate the one-on-one attention we get from the faculty. Since our class has only 14 students, we get a lot of individual instruction time with each faculty member, which is especially helpful in Clinical Skills Lab. Additionally, the small class size has fostered strong relationships among many members of our class. I love my classmates and enjoy spending time with them both inside and outside of the classroom. We sometimes hang out on the weekends, celebrate each other’s birthdays, and a few of us even went on a cruise together. I am happy with my choice to join the Scholar’s program and I know that I will be grateful for it for years to come.