Hi, my name is Emma Gohmann. I am currently a second-year Optometry student at Salus University. When I first got to Salus University, they described the course load as "trying to drink out of a fire hydrant." I soon found out how true that was, and realized I had to step up my time management skills.
By the second year, I realized it doesn't get easier but you get better at handling it all. And by that I mean: stress, balance, studies, practice, and life in general. Things start to come together and it gives you even more drive and motivation.
I feel like I must add a little comment about the shift to online during the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The shift was a difficult adjustment because we were cooped up in the house all day and striving to stay on top of all the material. Self-discipline flourished during this time and showed us we could do more than we thought we could. I believe that talking to my friends/classmates every day, that were going through the same thing, really helped and we would encourage each other, and sometimes FaceTime while studying to hold each other accountable.
Here is a day in my life:
7 - 8 a.m.
I start mornings with coffee and I try to journal, read, or listen to a song (two great examples are "Here Comes The Sun" and Put Your Record On") when I wake up to start off on a good note. I avoid looking at my phone for the first 15 minutes and it really makes my day flow better.
Next, I look at my planner and make a sticky note of the top three things I want to accomplish. Being realistic with how much I can do has helped me tremendously.
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Start lectures for the day, get caught up on lectures, or go to/prepare for lab.
5 - 7 p.m.
Break and dinner time! I like to go to the gym around this hour to break up the day, especially if I have been studying at home or the library all day. Then I start studying again around 8 p.m.
One of the best things I have learned is that breaks help. I am talking about guilt-free breaks, not the ones where you feel like you should be studying (even though at times that feels impossible). Going to the gym, watching a movie, or going to lunch with a friend. Self-care will help you mentally and physically. Breaks make studying more efficient and some days you feel you need to push, but I think studying efficiently is better than tirelessly.
When exams and practicals come up, I tend to view going to lab to practice as a break from studying. As of now, I am officially done with practicals and will be starting clinic at the end of March! Time really does fly so enjoy every moment and, when you are going through those tough moments, remember why you started.