Third-Year Optometry Student: Pratik Shah
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Third-Year Optometry Student: Pratik Shah

pratik shahThe trill of that iPhone alarm jolts me awake. 7:30 a.m. - it's a new day. I lumber out of bed, and make my way to get ready for the day with a fresh shower, brushing my teeth, and skin care. What comes next is probably my favorite part of the day - a hot cup of Nespresso coffee. A sort of time to relax and destress before the day starts and my mind races with thoughts of what to study today for boards, what classes I have today and tomorrow, and what I have to prepare for in and out of school.

While sipping on coffee, I am able to start working on my gratitude/routine journal, which helps me organize my thoughts and start my day with a larger scope of life before delving into the nitty gritty details of my everyday tasks. Being a third year and having my NBEO Part 1 exam in March, the first task to complete every single day is to study for boards with KMK, a program utilized by a majority of students in my class. Afterward, this is where things change daily.

Pratik ShahIf it's a Monday or Tuesday, I have clinic for about 8 hours, which I prep for by wearing scrubs, having my equipment charged, packing a lunch, and organizing my iPad for notes for the day. I roll into clinic with my suitcase full of equipment, sign in, and get the schedule ready for what patients I have to see that day. After making sure my equipment is ready and laid out, along with all other essentials I might need for the exam, I am ready to bring the patients back and complete a full exam. An almost exciting and nervous feeling takes me over because I never really know what might walk in through that door. Completing the chart and ensuring that the room is disinfected, along with gathering my things, is the last thing I do before leaving and heading back to my apartment.

The rest of the day consists of either more studying for the boards exam or anything else for school or class that might need to be reviewed. Sporadically, I might be able to meet up with friends throughout the week for a coffee or food or even review material any tests or quizzes. Around 6/7 p.m. is when I eat dinner. This can be anything from takeout if it's been a long or difficult day, or a new recipe to try to cook. Post dinner, I make sure to shower once again and clean the day off. The last few hours of the day consist of either more reviewing or personal time, which can range from watching TV, playing video games, or listening to music. At around 11 p.m. / 12 a.m., it's time to head to bed.

Pratik ShahLooking back and even after writing about this, one thing I can advise is to have a routine. Make sure you have personal time to decompress. Graduate school is no joke, but at the same time, it's not impossible. Balance everything. Live your life while also making one in graduate school and remember to take care of yourself. Your schedule, thoughts, dreams, goals, and most importantly, LIFE changes throughout this process of molding a college graduate into a clinically-minded doctor that is going to be there for their future patients.

I eventually learned to accept the changes and conform and flow with what is and will be thrown at me. Optometry school and life is a sporadic ride full of ups and downs and it is DEFINITELY going to change you, but for the better. Every day, we learn and grow. Love yourself and trust the process and eventually, one day, it's going to all workout.

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