It’s All About the Transitions

One of the most frequent questions I get about being in optometry school from prospective students, as well as family members, is how I transitioned into optometry school. To be honest with you, I’m still transitioning! Learning from older students, you never cease to transition into each year. Here are a few of the transitions I have been through so far:

Undergrad to First Year

My experience in transitioning from undergrad to first year was fairly easy, but not without challenges and an adjustment period. First, I should provide some background of what kind of school I came from. I am from El Paso, Texas and attended UTEP for my undergrad. I earned a Bachelor’s in Biology with a focus in biomedical sciences. I tell this to every person I meet and I stand behind it: I never really studied intensely in undergrad. This is not to say my college was not difficult; my high school prepared me very well for college level work, so most of it just stuck to me the first time I heard or saw it. That being said, optometry school was a 180 turn for me and I entered knowing that I had to study. As a student in professional school program, I realize that the material I am learning is not something to memorize once for a test and forget about. We are learning to take care of people, and that weighs heavy in my mind. Needless to say, it was very easy for me to get back into studying, even being a year out of school.  I think anyone can develop and enhance their study skills if they are committed to it.

As a new student, I found orientation was a great way to meet my fellow classmates. I was scared that everyone would be sizing me up in terms of my OAT scores, grades, or where I came from. This was not the case at all. The student academic services make it easy to transition when it comes to orientation, financial aid, and forms you need to turn in before school begins. UIWRSO also has a “Big Sib, Lil Sib” program which I will write about in a future blog! Basically, the program assists you in connecting with an upper-class student who helps show you the ropes and is there if you need support. UIWRSO helps with tutoring, so if you find yourself struggling, they are always there to help with one-on-one or group tutoring as well.

As a student, one of the biggest adjustments I had was in Optometry Lab. Before enrolling at UIWRSO, I was a “Nervous Nelly” about everything! Now, in optometry school, I am accustomed to someone testing me on skills, watching my every move about a foot away from me! At first it was very uncomfortable, but now I am so used to it, I no longer feel so anxious. Another big transition was my finals were extremely difficult. It was a relief that after my first round of finals, I had a better idea of what to expect and have done well from there on out. Another question I am often asked is: how often did you study? I studied almost every day during first year, but definitely had time to have an outside life. I was able to go to Spurs games, go bowling, and even Six Flags here and there. After your first year, you do get the summer off if you decide not to apply and participate in the Summer Fellowship Training Program (focusing on research) they have here at UIWRSO. It was a great relaxation period for my classmates and I. I went home and spent time mountain biking, kayaking, and just plain hanging out and relaxing my brain finally!

First Year to Second Year

During my first year, all I heard from second years was how difficult second year was and how much work they had. To be honest, I thought they were over exaggerating, but I was extremely cautious about it as well. The best thing I have heard about the start of second year was that you “hit the ground running” and that’s exactly what we did. For upcoming second years, I would recommend just keeping your mind somewhat fresh on the topics you learned first year. Don’t let summer melt your brain completely!

First, I had to adjust to having more classes and the difficulty of these classes is much harder. Don’t get me wrong though, they’re much more interesting as you are learning more about the eye and techniques used in clinic! UIWRSO still offers all the tutoring a student needs, however, so learning all the material well is definitely possible if you put in the work. Optometry lab is on another level, as well. The expectations are much higher of you in this lab, so time spent practicing after school is imperative. I am very appreciative of the availability and resources to assist in my after-hours practicing.  These labs are preparing you for clinic in the following year, so it makes sense that we are constantly watched and being graded meticulously. Teaching assistants in “after hours” help any and all students who want the help. They give great tips and tricks that you otherwise might not learn from the professors. Again, one of the most popular questions I am asked: how often do you study this year? Well, I study every single day, and for many hours at a time. I enjoy my sleep, so I make sure I study effectively in order to sleep enough. Some people like to stay up until 3:00 am, but not study straight through, and that works for them.

As I start to approach the end of my second year, I am very excited about our Clinical Induction Ceremony and starting my clinical rotations and seeing real patients in our clinics! All of the techniques and material we have learned in the last two years at UIWRSO will definitely be put to the test, but I am confident we will be extremely successful in the clinic. I will definitely keep you all updated as I continue my journey through optometry school!

San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo

The rodeo is in town!

This year is the 65th annual San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.  It takes place every year around February and lasts for several weeks.  I went this past weekend with a few friends, and it was a lot of fun.

First, we visited the livestock barns to check out the pigs and cattle.  Then we attended a live auction of horses.  A few horses were auctioned off for around $3,000 while one horse was auctioned off for $20,000!  It was amazing to hear the bids go from $1,000 to $20,000 and amusing to watch the reaction of the crowd when the highest bidder won.

Of course, we also ate the rodeo food.  We shared and indulged in barbecue nachos, a pulled pork sandwich, a brisket sandwich, and fried pickles.  Everything was delicious!

The rodeo was very entertaining.  It lasted for two hours and consisted of many different events, including bareback riding, steer wrestling, mutton bustin’, team roping, saddle bronc riding, calf scramble, tie down roping, barrel racing, and bull riding.

IMG_8792_Fotor  IMG_8817_Fotor  IMG_8839_Fotor

After the rodeo ended, there was a short intermission, and then the concert began.  The entertainer that night was Josh Turner.  It was a great show, and he performed many of his hits and even a new song from the album he is currently working on.

The rodeo has many more attractions and activities, including rides, marketplaces, live music, etc., and the long list of popular entertainers is a great excuse to go to the rodeo more than once.

San Antonio Smorgasbord – Magnolia Pancake Haus

Magnolia PancakeTalk about a breakfast for champions! Whether you’re looking for a nice home cooked breakfast with scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, and some specialty pancakes, or a nice late morning brunch, this is the place to be. This little diamond in the rough has been featured on the hit tv show Diner-Drive Ins- and Dives, and is known for their delicious pancakes, as their name would imply.

There are only two locations here in San Antonio, one is quite close to the optometry school main campus, off of Huebner road, and the original location, located off of Embassy Oaks. Some claim the original location is superior to the 2nd location off of Huebner, but I will let you decide for yourself. The menu is full of breakfast items, from omelets, to hamburgers. The meal that I usually get is the Magnolia’s Breakfast with coffee. Their coffee is some of the most delicious coffee I have ever tasted! So, my breakfast is scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, and I always get the chocolate chip pancakes!

CakesThat’s right, I said chocolate chip! If you can’t tell, I have a bit of a sweet tooth, and boy do those pancakes satisfy its craving. They have many other specialty pancakes that I can’t remember off the top of my head, so you should definitely go check it out yourself! Be ready for a wait though, at the original location, the wait is normally around 1.5-2 hours and at the Huebner location it is around 1 hour, but I guarantee it is worth it!




Go check it out today if you want! Here are the locations and phone numbers:
606 Embassy Oaks San Antonio, TX 78216
(210) 496-0828

10333 Huebner Road
San Antonio, Texas 78240
Phone: (210) 496-0828

Andrew Yoder

I am a 3rd year intern at the UIW Rosenberg School of Optometry. I was home grown in Dyersville, IA. I have a brother and sister, of which I am the youngest. My hobbies include playing ultimate frisbee, basketball, tennis, and anything else my friends want to play, and jamming out on my guitar.

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San Antonio Smorgasbord – Chris Madrid’s

Chris Madrid

Now that’s a tasty burger! Located just a short 10 minute drive from RSO. If you are a hamburger connoisseur like me, you will love this place. I’ll start you off by saying, “looks can be deceiving!” When we pulled up to this joint, I was thinking we might be getting a burrito or some tacos again! Boy was I mistaken. They only have 11 items on their menu. 7 of them are burgers! I ended up getting a burger called “Porky’s Delight with Cheddar,” and of course I had it “Macho” sized. Macho is there way of upsizing your burger from a quarter pound to a half pound. So, this wonderful half pound slab of beef stuck between 2 buns was topped with mayo, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, BACON, and cheese.

BurgersI’m not a fan of tomatoes, onions, or cheese, so my burger was lacking in those departments. It was one of the best burgers I have eaten, and I have eaten quite a few! Finish off the meal with some homemade fries and an ice-cold coke, now that is a good meal! You might want to go try it out yourself…they also have a unique Tostada burger! I couldn’t tell you how it is because I haven’t tried it yet, maybe next time!

If you’re dying to try it, here is the address and telephone number:
1900 Blanco Rd San Antonio, TX 78201
(210) 735-3552

Andrew Yoder

I am a 3rd year intern at the UIW Rosenberg School of Optometry. I was home grown in Dyersville, IA. I have a brother and sister, of which I am the youngest. My hobbies include playing ultimate frisbee, basketball, tennis, and anything else my friends want to play, and jamming out on my guitar.

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