A perk of being an optometrist’s daughter is that you get to test out revolutionary technology. As a self-proclaimed, passionate anti-glasses individual, I’ve looked far and wide for a solution, and orthokeratology (ortho-k) is the answer. What is ortho-k, you ask? Well, I go to sleep wearing rigid contact lenses, and the lenses reshape my cornea so that the next morning, I have 20/20 vision without any glasses or daytime contact lenses.
I love it — it lets me see independently, without any fear of breaking my glasses or losing a contact lens while playing sports.
But there is only one catch: sleep.
You see, last night I stayed up working on a 20–page research paper. It was extensive, exhausting and draining. I basically worked straight for 24 hours. My brain is exploding, still reeling from the effects of that paper. As a result of my all-nighter, I didn’t get to wear my ortho-k lenses.
You’re probably finding yourself in the same sleep-deprived situation right about now. It’s that time of year, when somehow, the multitude of essays and exams which you knew about at the beginning of the term have piled up. You’re tired, Christmas Break seems too far away to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and you could really use a nap and some strong coffee.
Part of the wondrous experience of being a student, in my opinion, is the joy you get from taking pride in your own work. I’m fiercely independent; I dislike receiving assistance from other people because I like to be 100 per cent accountable and responsible for my mistakes and achievements. When I receive a grade, I can look at it, satisfied, and say it is a product of my hard work, without blaming anyone else for the areas that need improvement. While it sounds good on paper, there is a bit of a flaw with this thinking.
It is similar to not wearing ortho-k lenses all night, and then deciding the next morning that you will be perfectly fine without wearing your glasses for the rest of the day. In an attempt to see independently, you miss out on the fine the details of the view.
I find that a lot of students take this perspective at the end of the term — the assignments and deadlines seem so overwhelming and imposing that it becomes easier to just shut out the world than to listen to its helpful voices. What I am trying to say is, it’s okay to wear your glasses. It’s easy to think we have it under control, and harder to voice to say we need help.
Every student, even a very good student, can use some assistance. Sometimes it’s a trained professional who’ll look over your essay at the writing centre and give your work that extra boost. Other times, you need a counsellor to voice your concerns to, and to provide advice on how to deal with daily issues that can feel overwhelming. Perhaps you need a bit of guidance on how to tighten up your résumé, or sign up for a fitness class at Hart House to get your blood pumping?
What many students forget is that U of T has a wide range of resources to assist you. Many times throughout your student career, you’ll need to talk a step back and remind yourself not to get swept up in the attempt to be superhuman. We all have our blind spots. If you can acknowledge and address those areas — whether you’re a glasses, contact lenses or ortho-k kind of person — you’ll be able to see clearly.