Alas, the dreaded finals week is upon us! We all know it will happen and some of us choose to ignore the fact that it will occur after every semester of school, regardless of if we want it to or not. Some students look forward to finals because it means the end of the semester, and there is a break very near. Others dread finals for the obvious reasons. Whether or not you like taking finals, they are a fact of life, so we must carry on.
In optometry school, you will no doubt have 6 or 7 finals after every semester, and maybe a few lab finals as well until your third year, where clinic becomes a vast majority of your school day. To be honest, I still don’t know how I make it through finals week every time. I guess you just put your nose to the grind stone, and get through it. Our finals, here at UIWRSO, are set up so we have 1 per day, and on occasion 2, and they are usually in the morning. So, if you are a night owl, you can pull an all-nighter, take the test, go home and sleep for a few hours, and then do it all again. I am definitely not an “all-nighter.” Some of my friends call me a grandpa because I like to go to bed by 10:30pm, so the next day I may take a short nap after the test and then study all day, and get to bed so I can get at least 7 hours of rest. I’m sure you have all heard somebody talk about a study that has shown that people perform better when getting an adequate amount of sleep. Now, we are all adults, and know our own strategy for taking tests, so to each their own.
Well, on Friday August 2, 2013, I had my first final for this semester in Research Methodology. This class is focused on how to perform research correctly, and how to analyze the data you receive from research. We had normal class in the morning from 7:30am to 10:00am and our final was at 10:00am. It was a short 50 question comprehensive final. It was only a 1.0 credit hour class, so it was not that difficult, but a few of my other tests will be!
The weekend was full of studying. I woke up Saturday morning and studied all day. I was able to take a break Saturday night and get in some good relaxation. After church Sunday morning I was back at it, studying until the sun went down. Even after all of that studying I did not feel completely ready for my test on Monday. I had studied as much as I could, and I just had to do my best. My test on Monday was in Pathology of the Posterior Segment II. In this class you learn about many of the disease processes that can affect the back of the eye. It is difficult, but will help you clinically. The rest of my Monday was, again, filled with studying for most of the day. My test on Tuesday was in Advanced Contact Lens, and was not as difficult as my test on Monday. In Advanced Contact Lens you will learn about all the very different modes and types of contact lens. Also, you will learn to recognize contact lens related diseases and how to treat them.
Tuesday morning arrived, again, I woke up at 6:00am to prepare myself to take another grueling test. Luckily, the material in Advanced Contact Lens was not as difficult as Posterior Segment. The test came and went, just as any other tests would. My Tuesday afternoon consisted of taking a nap to rejuvenate, and then studying for Case Analysis. This class focuses on teaching you to think like a clinician. A majority of the lectures are case presentations where as a class we ask questions and determine diagnoses of many different cases. You may wonder what the final for this class will consist of, well, you will be tested over the different cases presented in class. They will provide specific information about the case and you will make the best diagnosis based on the information.
Wednesday at 6:00am I again reviewed a few lectures and prepared for my test at 7:30am! The test was a blur, like all the rest. The test coming up on Thursday, won’t be a walk in the park though, so after my test Wednesday morning, I had to hit the books hard. Thursday’s test was in Strabismus and Amblyopia, when you get to this class you will understand. This class is tough, but you will leave feeling more confident in your skills. You will learn all about eye turns/deviations and begin to learn how to recognize and how to manage these cases clinically.
My Thursday morning was exactly like the rest. I was more nervous about this test though. It was going to be difficult, and I spent every minute that morning reviewing and trying to make sure I was ready for that test. It was a tough test, but as long as you prepare well, you will perform well. By this time there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Tomorrow morning would be the last final of the summer! It was in our glaucoma course. This class is focused on the clinical aspect of glaucoma diagnosis and management. It is a very useful class. Everything you learn will apply clinically. By the time you finish the final you will have a good idea on how to diagnose and treat glaucoma. My Thursday afternoon was not as intense, I took a few hours to relax and play some racquetball. My studying on Thursday afternoon was sub-par, at best. I was able to get through all the lectures, but it was very difficult to stay focused.
Friday morning came around, and I woke up at 6:30am this morning. The glaucoma test was not easy, but it was our easiest final of the six we took. I looked over a few things Friday morning, but I was not as worried about this test. The final came and went, and I remember walking out of the test room and feeling free! It was time to get some R&R and enjoy not studying for a whole week!
Finals weeks are always the same in optometry school. They are intense, but you always find a way to get through it. You put your nose to the grind, and spend most of your waking hours of that week studying. In the end it is worth it. Receiving good grades is great, but to be honest, sometimes just passing is a relief. In the end, hard work does pay off! If you are reading this and it is your finals week, then keep your chin up, it will be over soon. If you have made it to this point then you are smart enough, just hang in there!