An adventure into Optometry

Exam season!


It feels like a never ending cycle. Exam after exam. I managed to finish 3 exams so far. I was supposed to complete a fourth exam today but it got cancelled because the university somehow had two exams booked at the same time. It sucks as a lot of people were prepared to write the exam and just move on to focusing on the next one.

There is roughly two weeks remaining in this exam month. I am sure a lot of students are looking forward to hearing the exam invigilator on June 2nd stay pencils down, the exam is now over. Although I am definitely looking forward to the end I cannot lose sight of the task ahead of me. I’ve still got three important papers to write before summer can officially begin.  By organizing your days efficiently there is no reason you cannot be prepared for these exams. I personally feel like I had a lot more time to prepare for my exams while studying in the UK compared to Canada. I think it is because of all the extra holiday time the university gives us during the year.

Exams have gone well so far. I am going to continue pushing through this month trying to get myself prepared for the final 3 papers I’ve got to write. I hope that by being busy studying and reviewing; the next two weeks will fly by.  I think my moto for the next 2 weeks will be “The end is near, work for it.”


Happy Easter!


Hello all,

I am a bit late but I got to wish everyone a Happy Easter! I hope you all were able to spend it with loved ones! My Easter was great. I was able to spend it with my family. I am currently back in Toronto for roughly a month.  I could have probably spent Easter in London and celebrated it with my friends and family there but I decided to come back home.  Not a lot of people make the trip back home in April because there is only a month remaining before school ends in June but I am so grateful I was able to be back home even if it is just for a few weeks. I still got 2 weeks left before I fly back to London to take my exams.

Speaking about exams, there are six exams to do in May. These are all final exams and each one is worth at least 40% or more of the final course mark. I think one of my exams is worth 55% of the course mark; which is a lot. All six exams are stretched within the month of May. The first 2 weeks of May contain 4 exams in total (2 exams per week). Then the final 2 weeks of May contain 1 exam per week. This unique exam schedule can be beneficial as I can focus on the exams I have at the beginning of the month and focus my time here in Canada revising for these exams and then focusing on the last 2 exams when I am back in London as I will have an entire week just to revise my notes and prepare for those exams. Sometimes I feel you have to be strategic about how you organize your revision and study time and align it with the exam schedule you are given. I have begun my revision for these final exams and I am starting to get into exam mode soon.

While being back in Canada, I applied for a few jobs to keep me busy in the summer and help me make some money, as I will be in Canada for summer. I managed to get an interview with Lenscrafters last week and I hope I will get the job. I feel like working in the optics field I’ll be able to use the knowledge I’ve gained from my first year in the Optometry program and also learn new things in the real world that I can take with me into second year.

Also being in Canada, I managed to follow the Raptors playoff run as well as the Leafs playoff run. Actually I think this is the first time all four major sports teams are all playing at the same time. It is very electric in the City. You see people walking around wearing their jerseys and sports apparel and everyone is just pumped and enjoying the playoff vibes. I will try to enjoy my next two weeks here in Canada before I fly back to UK while I study for exams.

Three Weeks Left?


The school term is coming to an end. There is roughly three more weeks of the term and everyone is busy revising and practising for the end of term assessments. The practice clinics are always filled up with students and it is sometimes hard to find a cubical to practice in unless you come early. In the first year we are expected to correct anyone’s vision by using retinoscopy to determine what power of the lenses would allow someone to see clearly again. After we successfully get the patient to see clearly we have to use our ophthalmoscopes to examine the external features of the eye and then examine the optic disk inside the eye. We also have to draw the optic disk and the major blood vessels we see. It sounds like a lot of stuff to do in 45 minutes but once you begin to practice on a consistent basis it is actually not so bad. I am sure I said this before but practicing clinical skills techniques in the optometry program is important. Practicing allows you to make mistakes which you can correct before the real assessment. Practicing also allows the instructors to give you feedback and positive criticism. Also when you practice you begin to feel more confident with what you are doing and will be less nervous on the day of the assessment.

The final three weeks of the term contain about 4 assessments and 1 coursework. I don’t mind the assessments because they help me study for the final exams which are in May. Once the term is done I will be flying back to Toronto for Easter. The university has given us roughly 3 -4 weeks off before the exams in May. I personally am looking forward to going home again and seeing some familiar faces.

London is very fast paced. You are constantly on the go. It causes time to go by fast and you lose track of the days. It feels like I just started the second term 4 weeks ago buts its been now maybe 10 weeks. Staying busy also helped the term go by quickly. You don’t feel it because you are just focused on the work you have to complete and the work that is coming. With all the work I have coming up in the next 3 weeks I think the final few weeks of first year will go by without me noticing.

In the last post I talked about how the weather was amazing and how it was above 10 degrees. A few days later I was walking in a hail storm. So I have elected to not comment on the weather this time around. Ill post a small clip I took of that hail storm.


4 weeks into Term 2 & The WP Program


Hello all, I hope everyone is doing well!

I have been fairly busy the past few weeks; trying to stay on top of work and getting assignments done…. despite the workload I am enjoying it as we are now concentrating more on the eye and different properties of the eye; whether it is the anatomy of the eye or the optics of the eye. Although the subjects are becoming more interesting they are also becoming increasing more difficult. For that reason, I find myself having to try and spend more time revising my notes to ensure I understand everything. In the clinical lab we are practicing our routines for conducting eye examinations to find the eye refraction. It is fun as we are practicing on each other and developing a routine that we will use for the rest of our career.

The weather in London has remarkably got warmer. The past few days has been 10 degrees or more which is amazing for February in my books. The days also slowly getting lighter and longer again which means spring is around the corner and I cannot wait.

A few weeks ago I was a widening participation ambassador, it was really fun and I enjoyed the work. The widening participation program at City provides outreach activities for various communities in London to introduce children to higher education. The purpose is to help young people break down barriers which may be preventing them from considering going to university and also to build aspiration to go to university.

A few weeks ago I sat down with a group of year 11 and 12 school pupils, many of whom did not have going to university as a goal. I spent roughly 40 minutes showing the group the various departments and buildings on campus. They were amazed with the different facilities and equipment we have on campus here. They were fascinated with the journalism and media department and seeing the different radio and news rooms on campus. When I took the group to the Tait Building to see the health science facilities they were astonished. They were amazed how the university had a full clinic for nursing complete with beds and human sized dolls for students to practice on. They loved seeing the optometry clinical skills lab and watching the students practice. Walking past the biology research labs and telling them about the different research academics are doing also helped them understand what else universities do and can offer them. Near the end of the tour a few of them were talking about how they now want to go to university, after seeing the various facilities and departments.  It was great to see how just a simple tour can change someones position or view on higher education and I was really happy to hear them say it. I felt like I’d helped build some type of aspiration with these pupils in a short period of time.

Sometimes I feel being in university is a privilege. The teacher who was with the school pupils was telling me, that for many students, this is the only time they will get to experience what university is like. I was distressed hearing that but that is the reality. For many, university can be unattainable because of their social or financial position. Being part of the WP program at City allows me to share my experience with younger people and allows me to help them get a better idea of what university is really like and that it is obtainable. Being a widening participation ambassador also allows me to help build aspiration which I hope will encourage these younger people to work harder so they are able to get the grades to enter higher education. I plan on doing more work with the WP team here at City and continue to share my experiences at university to help build aspiration and break down barriers that can prevent some people from thinking about enrolling in higher education.

Back in the Grind!


Hello all! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas break with your loved ones. I definitely enjoyed my break. It is fair to say that break was much needed. It was great to see familiar faces again and spend Christmas and New Years with them.

I flew back to London a few weeks ago. I managed to capture some fairly nice pictures of London as my plane was landing. I was surprised I was able to identify different structures like the London eye from the sky!

Exams have come and gone. They went well (I hope). I’ve got to wait three weeks for the examiners to mark all the papers, but I feel I did well on a majority of my papers.

I’m now in the first week of the second term. and feel like I’m back in the grind. Although it is the first week I somehow have a ton of coursework to do; there is a lab report due next week and a slit lamp assessment for clinical skills. After being away from the clinic lab for so long  it will be good to go back to practise again. I believe I have more coursework and assessments due during the first five weeks of this semester than I did throughout the entire 1st term.

I personally do not mind all the coursework, its just something to keep me busy and it will help the semester go by quicker. Plus the coursework helps me know if I am putting the right amount of effort on my studies or if I need to put more.

The weather in London is alright. It can get cold at times especially during the night but it’s manageable and still warmer than Canada. It managed to snow once here in London but it didn’t last very long. I was surprised to see it snow in London I wasn’t expecting that. I managed to snapchat it, going to see if I can upload that small clip onto this blog.


University is a long marathon, not a sprint.  Just because you finish one semester or complete one year that doesn’t mean you are done. You’ve got to keep grinding through the work and material. This is my focus for this term. Completing the first term and getting through the exams does not mean I can just relax now! I’ve got to keep my focus so I can keep up in this marathon and eventually complete it. I guess that is one piece of advice I can share with you. Good luck on your applications!


Christmas Break!



The first semester has finally come to an end and I think it is fair to say that the term went by fairly quickly. The Optometry course load kept me busy throughout the term and it made time go by quickly. Now that the term is finished we have roughly a month off for Christmas break. I decided to fly back home to Toronto for Christmas and will be spending time with family and friends here.

Although I am looking at spending time with family and friends I will also be spending a large amount of time studying for examinations in January. Once the Christmas break is over, I will be writing about five examination papers as well as doing a focimetry assessment. The Christmas break will not be all fun and games. Throughout the term, I tried to stay on top of my course work doing all the assigned questions and maintaining my notes; I am finding that this work during the term is making my studying a lot more easier as I am just reviewing all the work I have done throughout the term and making sure I understand all the material. This also saves a lot of time and made my studying more efficient. If I hadn’t done this work during term time I believe my studying would be more stressful during this break as I would have a lot more work to do.

If I had to give anyone advice about the first term studying optometry I would advise them to always stay on top of the work. It is easy to fall behind as there are hardly any assessments at all in the first term and this can make some students relax a little as there is nothing to worry about until January. By always doing the assigned work and creating detailed notes throughout the term I believe you will be more prepared in December when you are studying for the January examinations.

I’d like to wish everyone who is following this blog a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I probably will not be writing until the New Year as I will be focusing on my exams. Good luck with your UCAS applications as well!


Two Months In!


The Optometry Program has been great so far. I have learned so much over the past two months. Two months ago I had no idea how to read my own glasses prescription, now I am able to view a dummy eye with an unknown lens power and determine the prescription of that eye using retinoscopy.  I am currently learning how to use a slit lamp to view various features of the eye and also examine the overall health of my patient’s eye.  I am really enjoying learning the different clinical skills which I will use throughout my career (fingers crossed) as an Optometrist. One of the key things about studying Optometry is to practise the new clinical skills and techniques that you are being taught on a regular basis. When you are learning a new technique for the first time it might be easy to forget that technique without frequent practise. The optometry clinic labs here at City, University of London are open on a regular basis allowing us students have the ability to practise the techniques whenever we want on our own free time. I find myself going to the clinic lab on a regular basis throughout the week practising the techniques that I will be using throughout my career.

Living in London has been a good experience so far. I have met a lot of people and created new friendships both with people from my course and other courses. Many of these friendships were born back in freshers week when there were various events being run by the university. Coming from Canada, there was definitely an adjustment period. Speaking with other Canadian and international students many agree that the beginning of this adjustment period is not always easy; some of us have left our families and friends behind and have come to a new and foreign environment.  Having the support of the friends you make during freshers week and throughout university can help you through the first few weeks. Your new friends will give you tips and teach you skills when navigating through London like what tube lines you should avoid at certain times to make sure you are not late for labs and lectures. They can also be someone you can talk to on a regular basis when you just want to talk.

From my own personal experience everyone in the optometry department is very approachable and kind, both students and teachers. The academics are extremely approachable and always make an effort to help you. When you have a question or are stuck with something they will never turn you away and will work with you to help you understand. The teaching staff also care about your well-being. Sometimes while I am having a conversation with an academic, they will ask me how I am finding University life; how I am dealing with my courses and how I am adjusting to life in London. Although they are meant to teach you and evaluate you based on the knowledge you have gained and skills you develop these individuals also genuinely care about you. At City all students also get assigned a personal tutor, this tutor is an academic who teaches on your course. We have to meet up with our tutor throughout the year so they can check up on us ask us how we are doing and help us with anything we are struggling with.  Many students may have not much to say with their tutor but the help is there if you need it. The University creates different forms of support to help you through your studies.

I’ve found all the optometry students to be very approachable regardless of what year they are in. When practicing in the clinic labs, you can always ask a higher year student for help or tips and tricks to a particular skill and most of them will make an effort to help you and provide you with accurate information.

So that’s how I’m getting on at City and in London so far, two months in and still lots of exciting things to come!



Hey there! My name is Andrew Geris. I am currently a first year Optometry student at City, University of London. I am an international student from Toronto Canada. Living in London so far has been an incredibly new experience for me. This is my first time living away from home. I am always learning on the go trying to adjust to life here in London. When I first saw the London tube map I could not believe my eyes. If you compare it to the Toronto subway map you will understand what I mean. But once you actually analyze the tube map and look at the different lines it is actually not so bad. I am able to travel to any area of London with ease now. I live in a house in the Wood Green area of London. My journey to university is roughly 40 minutes in the morning during peak time (rush hour) on the tube. Wood Green is a nice busy area here in London; there is a big shopping mall and a ton of shops and restaurants on the high street. This makes the streets always packed with people. So what can I tell you about me… I love basketball. I enjoy watching NBA games as well as playing the sport. Next door to my home here in London is an outdoor basketball court. I think that was the only reason I picked the house I am living in right now.

Over the coming weeks and months I’ll be writing this blog to tell you all about my experiences as a first year Optometry student and how I’m getting on living in London. I hope you enjoy my posts.

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.

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