Hello! My name is Claire Chabin. I will be sharing with you a typical day in my life as a first-year Scholars Student at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry. While every day is different from the next in this Accelerated Scholars program, I have tried to develop a day-to-day routine. Generally, our weeks consist of lectures (both online and in person), Grand Rounds, clinical skills lab, and patient care clinic at The Eye Institute. Our daily schedules begin at 8 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. every day.
I always begin my mornings with breakfast. This not only gives me energy for the upcoming day, but it also gives me time to think about how I will organize my day. The Accelerated Scholars program is relatively flexible, as many of our lectures are pre-recorded online. Depending on the day, I will either start watching some of my lectures or head to the Elkins Park campus for Clinical Skills Lab on Thursdays. After watching and taking notes on a lecture, I take some time to make summary sheets that compile all my notes. This helps me to visualize, organize and make connections with the material. In the Clinical Skills Lab, we learn different parts of a comprehensive eye exam as well as other special procedures, such as foreign body removal, dilation and irrigation, and even double-vision evaluations.
After watching all my morning lectures or finishing in the Clinical Skills Lab, I take some time to sit down for lunch. This gives me a chance to take a little break from school. I usually prepare a few meals on the weekends ahead of time that I can reheat and eat throughout the week.
In the afternoons I usually continue watching lectures, attend Grand Rounds, or go to the clinic on Thursdays and Fridays. At Grand Rounds, I listen to second-year students present interesting clinical cases. While I haven’t learned all the differential diagnoses that are included in the presentations, this early exposure is extremely intriguing. As a first-year student in the clinic, I scribe for the second-year students and perform some of the entrance testing or refraction that I have been tested on. Having this early clinical exposure is a big reason why I picked this program, and it gives me something to look forward to throughout my studies.
In the late afternoon, I like to take another break from school to do a quick workout, when I have the time. I like to spend time outside when it is warmer or go to my local gym when it is a little colder. I like to take this time to re-energize and get a change of scenery.
In the evenings, I usually cook dinner and finish up my schoolwork. If I have summary sheets left to make from lectures, I complete them. On clinic days, I complete documentation about the patients I saw for the day that I send to my preceptors. If I have an exam coming up, I use the evening to study and look over my notes. I usually have around 2-3 exams/quizzes a week this semester. On occasion, I attend Student Council meetings as the class president for the Scholars Class of 2024 or Student Ambassador meetings. I am grateful for the opportunities to take on these leadership positions as it allows me to give back to the Salus community as well as meet all kinds of people, including incoming students, current students from other programs, and even alumni.
On the weekends, I like to take the time to relax. I often do longer workouts, shop at my local grocery store, and cook several meals that I can enjoy throughout the week. I also like to talk to my family and friends on the phone or on FaceTime. I typically look ahead to the next week and begin studying for any exams that are coming up.