Greetings from the class of 2016! Now that we’ve got a few weeks of classes under our belts, we 1st years are getting into the swing of things. We’ve started to settle in. As we become more and more comfortable here at SCCO, it gets harder to believe that not even a year ago, we were all in your shoes -working through the OAT, OptomCAS, and interviews. Without a doubt; we recall the struggle of applying to optometry school, and want to remind you that if we all made it, then so can you! The mountain of work may seem never-ending now, but the end truly is nigh. Now, I know you’ve all been working hard, so let’s put applications aside for a moment and talk about what there is to look forward to.
The first couple weeks at SCCO are a blur of fun-filled events. In fact, the entertainment starts well before classes do. ‘Lens Be Friends’ week takes place in the days preceding orientation. It is a great way to get to know some of your classmates before sitting down with them in the classroom. This year, we relaxed with a day at Huntington Beach, checked out one of the best happy hours in Downtown Fullerton at the Matador Cantina, and of course, spent a day at Disneyland. What better place to bond with your new friends than at the happiest place on Earth?
Lens Be Friends week culminates with orientation day, the first official day of your career as an optometric professional. This is where your choice to attend optometry school really starts to sink in: It’s the first time that you’ll be together with all of your classmates. It’s a busy day, but there will be plenty of time later to socialize with your 100 new friends. After all, it’s just the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship. The following day brings another round of good food and fun with the orientation BBQ. I hope you like free meals because this is just one of many.
Finally, before you even know it, the first day of classes arrives. It is a little intimidating, but your excitement will beat out the nerves . However, just because class is back in session doesn’t mean the fun stops. The day is kicked off with a welcome back assembly, where you’ll see many of the upperclassmen for the first time. During the rest of the first week you’ll meet up with your 2nd year mentor, attend a mixer with the 3rd years, and of course, continue to get to know your classmates. Even though you’ll be spending the majority of your time with the other 1st years, it’s wonderful to see how excited the upperclassmen are to get to know you. If you’re used to upperclassmen ignoring you (if you were lucky) or torturing you (if you weren’t), then you’re in for a very pleasant change.
After that first week, things begin to calm down a little bit, but even though they might not be quite as frequent, the events do continue throughout the year. From club meetings to Omega Delta pledge events to huge conventions, there’s always something fun just around the corner. Personally, I’m looking forward to the basketball tournament against Western College of Optometry coming up in early October. And, if you’re in the mood for some non-school related excitement, there are always a ton of great things to do around the area. So much in fact that you’ll wish you had a little more free time to take advantage of it all.
I know you’re thinking that optometry school still seems so far away, but the time really does fly by. Although everything you have on your plate seems daunting at the moment, it will be over before you know it. All the hard work you put forth will be well worth it. So, pick up your books, study hard, and get those applications sent off. You’ve made it this far, now finish strong and come join us here at SCCO. We can’t wait to meet you all!
Benjamin Jager, SCCO Class of 2016