Second-Year Accelerated Scholars Optometry Student: Harjas Aulakh
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Second-Year Accelerated Scholars Optometry Student: Harjas Aulakh

Harjas AulakhMy name is Harjas Aulakh, and I am a second-year Optometry Scholars student at Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO). I received my undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. Its ok, feel free to google Edmonton, I’ll wait. Now that you know I am from some random place north of the border, let’s talk about my how I got here. Moving to Philadelphia was difficult due to the abrupt change in scenery and being so far away from my family. But, thankfully due to our small class size and busy schedule you really get to know your classmates and it made the transition much easier. I began school in the Summer of 2017 and as of July 2018 have entered my second year in the Scholars program and things are going great. We‘ve seen patients alone for few months now and are heavily in the didactic portion of our program. Now is when we put to use clinically what we have learned in class. This is when many of us question ourselves a million times “Do I even know anything about the eye? Joking aside, while clinic can be intimidating at first, you quickly realize you actually know more than you think. With the help of awesome preceptors and classes that are more pertinent to direct patient care, it becomes fun. Yes, you read that right, I said fun. Enough with the chit-chat let’s look at a day in the life of a second-year Scholars student. 

5:30 a.m.: Gym or no Gym… 90 percent of the time I decide to hit snooze.   

5:45 a.m.: I could still hit the gym at this time but who am I kidding, I love sleep too much and convince myself to go to the gym in the evening. Snooze!

6:00 a.m.: I check my social media and my class schedule for the day which ends up being an eight to five day. If we have clinic that day, which is three times a week (Tuesday morning, Thursday and Friday afternoons) and we dress professionally. If not, then my attire will consist of t-shirt, shorts, and sandals.   

7:00 a.m.: I get dressed for class or clinic and grab a quick snack for breakfast. A snack consists of looking at my fridge for ten minutes and end up eating a granola bar.

7:25 a.m.: I decide that it is far too early to leave for school yet (l live at Wyncote House which is a 2 min drive max) and end up watching a twenty two minute episode of Brooklyn 99.

7:50 a.m.: Now I will be late unless I find a parking spot near the entrances. Sometimes luck is on my side, other times not so much. I grab my lunch that I made last night and head out.

Harjas Aulakh in lab with text that says "what optometry students do for fun"7:55 a.m.: Get to school and found a parking spot near the entrance.

8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.: Class

12:00 to 12:30 p.m.: Lunch time! Typically, we eat as a class in the cafeteria and talk about anything else but school.

12:30 to 1:00 p.m.: I head over t o The Eye Institute (TEI), grab an exam room in suite two and set up equipment to see patients.

1:00 to 5:00 p.m.: We attend patient care and round table – we discuss anything interesting we saw with our patients or something important that we have learned - with our preceptors before we are dismissed. 

5:00 p.m.: By this time food is usually my main priority, but I remember that I opted to not go to the gym in the morning and proceed to go do some cardio in the Hafter Center – our on campus gym - for an hour.

6:00 p.m.: I head home, clean up, and choose to either grab some food with classmates or eat at home.

7:00 p.m.: Time to head to the Learning Resource Center (LRC), the campus library, and get some studying done so I don’t fall behind and can still be somewhat human when exam time comes around.

7:15 p.m. By this time I grab a coffee from main floor of the LRC, and have either found a cubicle or a classroom. Typically, I am not motivated to study yet and end up getting stuck in a YouTube loop for 15 minutes.

7:45 to 11:30 p.m. I have broken free of the YouTube loop and will now start studying.

11:30 p.m. I turn off the laptop and head home.

11:40 p.m. Yes, a two minute ride just took ten minutes because at this time I’m walking at a turtle pace because I am so tired. I get into my apartment make my lunch for the next day and Facetime my family (It is two hours behind in Edmonton so this works out really well for me).

11:40 p.m. I made the mistake of Facetiming from my bed and ended up falling asleep mid-conversation with my family. I dream about sleeping in the next morning.

Although the days are long and busy, if you keep up with your school work and remember to take breaks, it’s really not that bad.

Learn More About the Salus Accelerated Scholars Optometry Program

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