“Enjoy the optometry university experience”
Khambreal Garland, third-year student at the University of the West of England Bristol, on the benefits of keeping up with recommended reading and consolidating learning with peers
17 October 2020
After a demanding few months of online lessons, cancelled exams and grading challenges, a new cohort of first-year students prepares to embark on the university journey. With the start of the new academic year, OT has asked AOP student reps to share their own experiences and advice for surviving first-year.
Meet the student
Year group: Third year
University: UWE Bristol
First year optometry was fairly different from what I had been used to in education. Being a mature student, I found it difficult to regain my grasp on studying, especially for theory examinations. It took a bit of time to develop new skills to help me to learn better, as how I studied in the past no longer worked for me. However, I found practical sessions very intriguing and enjoyable, especially as we are given the opportunity to work with our peers a bit more.
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of teaching will be done online which is very different from the traditional classroom settings.
Note-taking and retaining information have always been a struggle of mine. During the first year of optometry studies, you will learn practical skills and the theory behind them. This helped me a lot, as I was able to understand these skills more. COVID-19 will mean a reduced number of practical sessions due to the social distancing restrictions, so I definitely recommend first years takes full advantage of these sessions in order to try to grasp a clear understanding of what is being taught.
What would you tell your first-year self?
Following the Prime Minister’s address regarding COVID-19 in March, UWE Bristol swiftly moved all of our lectures online. Each student was kept up to date with changes to their course through their programme leads and lecturers, which was followed by an address from the university’s vice chancellor, advising us on the changes being made over the next year.
Our exams were re-written to be invigilated through internet platforms, a no-detriment policy was put into place to ensure the pandemic did not have a serious negative effect on our grades, and we were also given opportunities to personally contact our tutors if we needed any form of support.
For the upcoming year, lectures will remain internet-based, however, we will have practical sessions with reduced student numbers to allow for the social distancing guidelines to be followed. Every student will also be required to attend a few online lecturers, Block Zero, which will help us prepare for the new style of teaching and studies.
Khambreal’s three top tips for first-year:
- Use the recommended indicative reading before lectures
- Practice taught skills with peers as you can help each other better understand the methods
- Stay motivated, have fun and enjoy the optometry university experience.
To find out more about the student-focused activities and resources available through AOP membership, click here.