Hello there, I'm John Fabriziano! I will be introducing you to my life as a second-year Scholars Student at the Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry. For a little background about myself, I am a local student who attended Villanova University for undergrad and am lucky enough to call Philadelphia my hometown. I have had my eye (I like puns) on optometry school for as far back as I can remember. I initially explored other colleges of optometry, but I fell in love with the Scholars Program at Salus University the minute I got here. I am going to show you why I have loved my time here so much and hopefully can bring some insight into our lives as Salus University Optometry students.
Most days you can find me either in the cafeteria, gym, or the library on campus. I love the small community feel that the Scholars Program offers. I can honestly say that the eleven other members of my class have become an extension of my family. If you see one of us, you can expect to see another right behind. I am going to walk you through one of our busiest days to show you the variety of tasks we perform! Our days vary from week to week, but in general we have around three days of clinic at The Eye Institute four days of class, and a day where we spend time in the laboratory to practice our technical skills.
It’s 5:45 a.m. Thursday morning, I can hear birds chirping and I roll over to check the time. Relieved, I have 15 more minutes until I have to get up to leave for the gym at school. I sit in bed and think about my Grand Rounds case that I will be presenting on in front of doctors and fellow colleagues. The alarm rings, I grab my gym bag and oatmeal on the way out the door. I have a 30 minute commute in the morning so I put my favorite medical podcast on and put my car in gear. I am a morning person so I like getting a head start on my day with a quick workout.
6:30 a.m.: I walk into the Hafter Student Center and head to the gym where I usually work out for 30 minutes and then shoot the basketball around for fun before I shower and get ready for class. I like our gym because it is usually not too busy and they have everything you could possibly want there. They also have full locker rooms I use to get ready for class and clinic, which makes it convenient. I also really enjoy the basketball court we have. On Friday nights, you can usually find students playing games on the court, and anyone is welcome to blow off some steam at the end of the week.
7:30 a.m.: I head to the cafeteria where I eat my breakfast and meet up with some of my classmates. If we have a test, we usually go over our notes or quiz each other. I always stop in to say hello to “Ms. Jackie,” who takes care of all of us at the cafeteria like we are one of her own.
8:30 a.m.: I always find time to get a quick game of ping-pong in at the Hafter Center with one of my classmates. If anyone is curious, I still have not won against Cameron, a fellow second year with me.
9:00 a.m.: On this day, we had our disease class called “Anterior Segment I,” where we learned the ins and outs of Cataract Grading. Like this class and most other classes, the doctor teaches by having a dialogue with us. We discussed the different ways we classify diseases in clinic. I like this part of the program because most of our classes are not just sitting in a lecture hall and listening the entire time. By the end of our first year in the Accelerated Scholars Program, we start seeing patients and are able to apply information at The Eye Institute as we learned about it in class. Therefore, I was excited later that day when I referred my patient for cataract surgery after we had just gone over cataracts that morning. This is my favorite part about being an optometry student - I was able to help that patient change her vision and improve her quality of life.
10:00 a.m.: At this point in the day, we head to lab to practice handling contact lenses. This lab is mostly about becoming familiar with performing a contact lens exam. Most often, we have two instructors who walk around to help us perfect our skills. Everyone in our class gets to know each other’s eyes pretty well since we all practice on each other in the lab. We also have a virtual reality lab for students to practice techniques whenever you want on “virtual” patients.
12:00 p.m.: We all head down to the cafeteria where we usually all eat together. This is my favorite part of the day because it gives us a chance to all catch up and take our minds off of school for a bit. There are a ton of options for food in the cafeteria and no one ever goes hungry. I try to make lunch the night before, but sometimes a hot meal from the cafeteria is too hard to pass up. The waffle fries are a must try – they are the best.
1:00 p.m.: Most days, one o’clock is the start of our shift at The Eye Institute. When we first get there, we set up in our exam rooms and then meet in the team room to discuss the schedule and other topics for the day. We see our own patients and each of us presents to the attending doctor who conducts the exam with us. I love being in clinic because we have the opportunity to work together and apply what we learned in the classroom to our patients. After all of our patients have been seen, we all get together for a round table where we pick a case to talk about with the attending doctors.
5:00 p.m.: We typically have Grand Rounds on Monday, but today we had a schedule change so we met in the large Toland Classroom on the second floor of The Eye Institute. We usually present to any doctors that decide to attend that day and to first and second-year Scholars students. That day, I was presenting on “Acute Onset Strabismus.” Like most students, I used a PowerPoint presentation. Finally, we discuss a case from clinic that we thought was interesting. This is a unique activity that our program does that is both fun and educational.
Weekends: We often will plan dinners together on Friday nights after clinic and get together on Saturdays for game nights. We have a lot of fun as a class and all support each other as we go through school together. I am glad you were able to get a glimpse into my life as a student at Salus. See you around!