Jobs and work experience, Money, Only in Cardiff, Second year, Third year, Travelling

Freedom! (sort of)

So finished my final exam for the year on Tuesday, all books returned to the library yesterday so all done for the year, now just need to wait (im)patiently for results to come out in the next few weeks. Now I can relax and enjoy my summer, except I can’t fully switch off because I have two summer school placements arranged which run back to back from next Monday all the way through to mid August.

The rest of this week has been spent tidying my house, whilst I don’t have a deposit I need to reclaim, my house had turned into a bit of a bombsite with notes strewn all over the place, mounds of washing and ironing to do – just standard student living really. After tidying that all up I have had time to spend a relaxing afternoon chilling with friends including a wander down to Cardiff Bay.

Now back to work mode. Optometry has a wide range of options you can choose to get involved with, primarily between second and third year:

  1. Summer placements – the big multiples (Boots, Specsavers, Optical Express and Vision Express) offer summer schemes which vary between a couple of days and 6 weeks where you go into a store and see how all the different aspects work together. This helps the company decide if you are right for them and lets you decide if you want to work for the company, so think a long interview like The Apprentice and you are on the right track. However you do get paid for it all so it’s not all bad. Some also offer schemes for 1st years going into 2nd year, or of course you can get a Saturday job.
  2. Research projects – a lot of lecturers run summer research projects for 6-8 weeks across a whole host of topics so there is bound to be something there that interests you. This is a great head-start, ready for writing your dissertation in year 3, and lets you decide if research is something you want to go into. Again these are generally paid.
  3. Foreign trips – these are semi-research trips but you don’t have to write up a project at the end of it but Cardiff University has strong links with several universities around the world especially Kyoto in Japan. As a result 3 lucky students are chosen who get to go to Japan for a month to see how the university hospital works, sit in on appointments and gain a better understanding of ophthalmology which is a great lead in if thinking of working in a hospital.
  4. Charity trips – for the last two years a group of about 10 students have gone to Moldova to help provide free eye tests and glasses to people who can’t afford them and don’t have access to them over there. They also donate a lot of equipment to help set up clinics so the work can continue once they have gone. We have also sent students to Romania and Uganda in recent years.

So there is plenty to do whilst Cathays turns into a ghost town. However despite all this I will still miss seeing everyone in the department especially my best friends.

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