I wanted to come to Salus University since I was 14 years old with a dream of becoming an optometrist. With eight years of anticipation and diligent preparation, orientation week began. It took a solid hour just to choose an outfit for the first day. Even though orientation started at 8:30 am, I, along with numerous others, arrived before 7:30 am. We waited in our cars anxiously for someone to get out and walk in first. As we walked in, I could feel the excitement and nervousness in the air.
What should have been an hour wait, felt like mere minutes. Students poured into the Hafter Center dressed professionally and ready to become graduate students of a heath profession. Dr. Michael H. Mittelman, President of Salus University, greeted us and offered inspirational advice on becoming great healthcare professionals. He stressed empathy, which I found to be a very insightful tip that I hadn’t previously considered.
Orientation week was full of resources meant to aid us in our preparation for our respective fields. This included a resource fair full of clinics, banks, information on The Eye Institute, Learning Resource Center, and military programs. We had a session on financial planning that opened my eyes into the world of investing and reminded us to still live like students the first few years out of school. We were also introduced to budgeting apps and debt calculators. I found the session on cultural awareness to be very interesting and insightful. Coming from a rural town in Pennsylvania, I was not used to much diversity, while Philadelphia is rich in other cultures. This session went over how to be sensitive to patients and intuitive to the various cultures one encounters when working in the healthcare field.
While it was nice to spend our days in orientation, it was wonderful having the after-orientation events. These included trivia and a trip to Dave and Busters. I was quite worried for trivia, as it was entitled, “Pop Culture Trivia” and I know very little to nothing about this topic. All and all my team didn’t do too shabby. It was a great way to interact with our classmates and make some new friends. Dave and Busters was a great time too -- their Dance Dance Revolution machine was far harder than we had anticipated but we made it out alive. Just as my card ran out, I miraculously hit 1,000 tickets. It was a nice end to a long day!
While orientation week was exciting, I was itching to start classes. But first, we had the White Coat Ceremony. This year it was held in the Kimmel Center in Center City, Philadelphia. This was the first time I had taken a subway into Philadelphia, but alas, I made it unscathed. The venue was absolutely beautiful, with glass windows surrounding us and wood paneling coating the theater. The ceremony was very inspirational as it welcomed us into the world of health professionalism. With our white coats on, we recited in unison the Oath to Professionalism. It felt like a graduation in a sense, like we were ready to take on the world. In reality, we are just getting started to take on the challenges of graduate school. It was a great way to begin our new journey!
~ Sabrina is a first-year optometry student at Salus University