My name is Niki Mehta, and I am a second-year student in the Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO). I attended the University of Illinois at Chicago for my undergraduate degree and received a bachelor’s in biology, like many of us who pursue optometry.
Until I started my journey at Salus PCO, a lot of my classmates — me included — honestly did not realize all that goes into earning a doctorate in optometry and the true value of the profession. And, that’s why my main goal is to help educate the general population about the importance of eye care. Glasses and contacts are in fact medical devices and not just something you can simply buy on the internet.
I entered Salus PCO in the fall of 2016 and finished my first year in May 2017. Now, in the second year, a lot of things have changed. Let me tell you about the typical day of a second year Doctor of Optometry student here at Salus.
6:00 a.m. I usually start off the day by hitting the snooze on my alarm clock, hoping it’s Saturday and I don’t need to get out of bed.
6:15 a.m. To prepare myself for the day, I check my phone, going through my Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and email. Then, I roll out of bed (finally) and get myself together.
7:00 a.m. I get dressed for class and look over the schedule to know what I need to take to school for the day. Some days you’ll have clinic or practicals so you will need to dress professionally, but if you have lectures all day, dress comfy!
7:30 a.m. Where has the time gone? Already running late, I grab a quick breakfast and head out the door. On most days, lectures start at 8:00 a.m., and although it means you have to wake up early, it’s actually a blessing in disguise because getting to school before 8:00 a.m. is the only way you’ll find close parking.
7:50 a.m. I arrive on campus and grab a great parking spot right in the front. I make it up to the third floor, pull up the lecture on my laptop and take notes!
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Class
12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Best time of your day, LUNCH! Every day 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. is your time to grab a bite to eat, catch up with your friends, and sometimes, study for a quiz you may have after lunch.
1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Lectures tend to be in the morning and labs and clinic are usually after lunch.
5:00 p.m. Grab a partner and rush to Clinical Skills Lab! Fall semester of second year optometry school here at Salus PCO, we have 11 practicals, which means we spend a lot of time in lab. It’s not as bad as it sounds - the recent new lab renovations make practicing a lot more enjoyable and smooth.
8:00 p.m. Head on home! Usually I try to do all my grocery shopping and meal prep over the weekend, but some days you just need to grab Chipotle.
8:15 p.m. Dinner! Put on Netflix, eat, and relax, you deserve some me time before you start on your pile of assignments.
11:30 p.m. Turn off the laptop, put down the notes and sleep! There is always more studying you can do but you have to wake up again for your 8:00 a.m. so try and get some sleep. I like to watch some Trevor Noah or SNL on YouTube before I sleep, but it never lasts more than 20 minutes because the second you hit that bed, you will be so exhausted that you just want to sleep. But exhaustion just means you’re in graduate school and doing something right!
Although the day to day life of an optometry student is demanding and hectic, there is nothing more rewarding than being able to apply all your skills and see your own patients, which at Salus University starts during the spring semester of second year. Plus, you have your weekends to catch up on sleep, go out to a nice coffee shop, or even go into the city on Saturday night. In the long run, it will all be worth it!
Learn More About the Salus Optometry Program