By Sunny Lee
Fourth-year optometry student, UNSW
Several weeks ago, just before the semester break, our laboratory manager Dr Dale Larden finally threw in the towel.
With a single announcement on Moodle, our days of casually swinging by the pre-clinic lab to grab a new penlight torch or occluder were over.
Word on the street is that we’re going to have to (gasp) pay for any replacements from our student kit. So how’s the average, broke, forgetful university student to survive these dark times?
As one of the most absentminded students enrolled in the optometry degree (I honestly forgot to attend a final exam once) allow me to give you some pointers.
Treat everything in the student kit like it’s made of money
Every time you pick up your tonometer probe, don’t think, ‘Ah, here’s my tonometer probe.’ Hypnotise yourself into thinking, ’Ah, here’s $138 in my hands right now.’ You wouldn’t just leave behind $138 in your clinic room, would you?
This sounds silly and elementary, but when I say everything, I mean your lenses, your ophthalmoscopes, your retinoscopes, your tape measures, your 6 D prisms, your flippers. Everything.
I don’t care how trivial you think it is. There are 90 other people in your grade with the exactly the same PD ruler as you. Trust me when I say you’ll be glad one day that you put your name on it. Invest in some good waterproof labels and a sharpie, or use the marker in your kit.
Make a list of all your equipment and carry it with you
This is especially handy for fourth- and fifth-year students, who regularly have to load and unload 20 kilograms of equipment in the clinic rooms. Before leaving, check your equipment list and make sure everything on the list is ticked off.
Give yourself plenty of time to set up and pack up
I know it’s easier said than done, but not being rushed in and out of the room will give you a little more peace of mind to make sure all your equipment is with you.
Develop a streamlined clinic routine
Knowing when I pick certain equipment up and when I put the equipment down, and exactly where I put it down, helps to keep my equipment organised throughout my consultation and lab work and definitely cuts down on packing up time.
Look behind you before you leave
Even if you’re absolutely sure you’ve packed everything, look before you leave.
If all else fails, believe in the innate goodness of human beings
I know you’re jaded and cynical after however many years of your optometry degree, but chances are if you’ve lost something, someone else will have picked it up and handed it to your laboratory manager or the clinic reception. Not all hope is lost.
Reproduced with permission UNSW OptomSoc