Peer Advisor Blog Articles

My Favorite 1st Year Memories at SCCO


Peer Advisors are upperclassmen who are trained to assist incoming students make the transition into professional grad school. One of the way they assist is through the Peer Advisor Blog. Here is an example of such a blog article that may even be helpful to you as a pre-optometry student as you go forward…

Maria Felix, SCCO Class of 2021

Entering grad school, I had the idea in my head that I was saying farewell to the social world, setting up camp in the library, and never emerging into the sunlight until four years had passed.

Lucky for me that is was not the case!

There are so many great things to look forward to, especially during your first year of optometry school. Here are some of my favorite memories from first year:

Vision Expo

Vision Expo West happens early on during your first quarter at SCCO. I remember it being the weekend before our very first midterm, which was kind of nerve wracking for some of us. It takes place every year in Las Vegas. Should I go? Should I not go? I remember thinking, “Ahhh but I have to study!” Being that this made the list, *spoiler alert* I went (so did about half the class), and I am so glad we did!


Since Vision Expo happens early on in the school year, this is one of the very first and biggest bonding moments that you have with your classmates. It was so much fun wandering the exhibit halls and learning so much about the profession and being able to have fun with your classmates outside of an academic setting. I would definitely recommend that you attend.  I also recommend that you make sure to study, study, study well before you head out on your road trip to Las Vegas!

White Coat Ceremony

Another early memory of optometry school was our White Coat Ceremony. It was such a nice way to celebrate our accomplishments and future goals with friends and family. The ceremony itself is short and sweet but let me tell you this, from this point forward you feel super official and ready to take on the world every time you put on your white coat. Also, it makes a great occasion and excuse to finally change your Facebook profile picture!


Mission Trip to Fiji

Never did I imagine that I would be one to travel to a different country for a healthcare mission trip.  Money was always tight and for that reason I never considered it a possibility. However, it is like they say, if there’s a will, there’s a way!

If you have the opportunity to go on one of the many mission trips made available to you, I would 100% recommend you go! Traveling to another country and experiencing how other people live was truly an eye-opening experience. Fiji was gorgeous and the most beautiful part about Fiji were the people. It’s crazy how people with so little are the happiest people you will ever meet.


We were so fortunate to have seen thousands of patients at our clinic site and also have the opportunity to travel by boat to other villages and provide basic eye care there as well. The great part about serving on mission trips is getting to apply all of the clinical skills that we learned in the classroom and also learning new things on the spot that our classmates back home had yet to be exposed to. However, the truly amazing part and what makes everything all worth it is seeing the overflow of gratitude from the community when they are able to see for the first time, in a very long time, when given their very own pair of prescription glasses.

Getting Involved

During the first weeks of school as a part of Club Info Night, you will be introduced to all of the clubs you can join. Through student club involvement, there are opportunities to apply to be a part of the leadership board for some of these clubs/orgs as a first year student!

In my case, not only did I join all of the clubs that peaked my interest, but I also applied and got the opportunity to serve as the 2017-2018 Spanish Optometric Society President! I am a firm believer in the saying “You get out what you put in,” that is to say, your experience will be what you make of it. I loved being able to plan, organize, and lead events for my classmates and to see them not only enjoy what the board members and I had planned for them, but also for them to have learned something from that experience as well.


At MBKU, there are many opportunities for you to shape your experience by getting involved, and I encourage you to do so! Join leadership if you enjoy creating new experiences for others and join clubs and attend school sponsored events to allow yourself to experience new experiences.

The important part is to put yourself out there!

Late Night Study Sessions

Alright, I know what you’re thinking… this one sounds pretty counter intuitive, but it’s true! Some of the best memories and laughs of the year happened during stressful situations.

I honestly loved seeing how everyone took care of each other during exams. We had classmates leading study sessions, roommates bringing each other food, friends bringing survival kits with cough drops, tissues, and blankets for those feeling under the weather. It was honestly great. Although we were stressing out, we were stressing out together and we were there for each other, supporting and motivating one another as a big happy family. Sometimes our 10 min study breaks turned out to be half hour long procrastination sessions, but hey, it’s what kept us sane.


Celebrating both my 24th birthday and finishing our very last final of our first year after a long night of studying!




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