This blog chronicles my continuing adventures as a newly minted OD navigating the working world as I attempt to become licensed, complete an optometry residency and establish my future mode of practice for years to come.  I graduated from NECO as a proud member of the class of 2013 this past May, and I will be spending the next year working as a resident at a veterans’ hospital in the greater Boston Area. I will also be back at NECO as a lab monitor and a clinical tutor.  I recently moved with my wife from the Allston neighborhood of Boston to a nearby suburb.  I’m pretty pumped about all this.
My back story: I was born in the birthplace of Basketball, and lived in a nearby suburb that is flavored in equal parts by caldo verde and kielbasa.  I grew up looking up to skateboarders and hardcore punks, and the teenage me never would have thought I would become an eye doctor, not in a million years.  I went to UMass Amherst where I graduated in 2002 with a major in philosophy.  Afterward, I moved to Brooklyn to pursue a PhD at CUNY, but burned out and had to start over from scratch. For a time I pumped gas and worked as a stage hand for (loud) concert venues, but discovered an interest in vision science during a random stint as an optical lab technician and later as a licensed optician. A second degree in biology then got me in the door at NECO; over the course of a whirlwind four years in Boston, I made friends from across the world, came to love the city I once knew only from afar, worked for admissions and got to better know the fantastic faculty and staff at the college, and ultimately, reached my goal to become an optometrist.  To sum up my experiences thus far, to paraphrase Plato (or is it Socrates?):  I know one thing -- that I know nothing.  The education continues….



When asked the customary question, "Where are you from?", I often reply in a seemingly sarcastic way. Not so much because I am trying to make light of the question, but more so because the reality is that I am from many places.  The short answer would be that I was born and raised a Jersey girl.  I must state for the record, and some of you may be relieved to know, that I have no intention of implying an association with any reality TV show. The more complex but true statement is that I was born and raised in New Jersey to parents of Pakistani origin; and I lived in England for 14 years of my adult life.  Yes, by that, I mean the United Kingdom. And no, I did not adopt a distinct English accent.  I like to think of my accent as being somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic, neither American nor British.  Actually, it is not so much the way I sound, but rather the way I form my sentences that reveals my British side.  You can be the judge of that if you continue to read my blogs or stop me in the hallway for a chinwag (British colloquial/slang for 'a chat').  After graduating from The College of New Jersey, I moved to England for family reasons.  After a few years of living in England, I went back to school and earned a Bsc Honors in Optometry from The Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK.  For the better part of seven years, I worked as a 'high street optometrist,' which I believe in the USA people refer to as a retail optometrist. Fast forward 14 years from the time that I first moved to the UK, and that brings me to the stage in my life when I decided to move back to the USA.  As many of you may agree, sometimes life takes us places and sometimes we take our life places.  My decision to move back to the USA was based on the latter.  I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted to continue my work as an optometrist, but I did realize that my professional journey back to the USA would not be an easy one. Nonetheless, I was up for the challenge and that is what brings me to NECO. As many of you may know, NECO offers the Advanced Standing International Program (ASIP) to foreign trained optometrists who aspire to earn the OD degree.  In approximately 12 months, I will be starting the clinical rotation aspect of the program. In the context of the optometry world as I know it, I foresee my future colleagues and patients alike asking the customary question, "Where are you from?"   Without hesitation and with pride I will respond, "I am from the Advanced Standing International Program of Optometry at NECO!"  


David “Tex” Nadeau was born on a crisp, spring day - doves were crying everywhere. Hailing from the northeastern corner of the United States, he lies in wait for any opportunity to do something unexpected yet undoubtedly calculated. His knowledgeable, friendly green eyes are reflective and interested in people, academia, concerts, and in 4AM chicken and waffles. While others in the class sit in their regular seat each day, this devious black horse moves through a chessboard of seats all the while leaving his audience to ponder his next move – where will he sit? What will he say? Will he fall asleep or will he stay awake? He walks amongst the chaos of the NECO classrooms, spreading an air of independence as he sports his favorite childhood winter scarf and a boyish charm combined with an edge of “hey-punk-you-looking-at-my-scarf?” One moment, you’re walking to your destination somber – then all of a sudden, you find yourself skipping and smiling for no reason. When you look around to find what made your mood turn so drastically (known as the “180”), all you’ll see is a faint trail of sparkling Dave-flakes fading off into the distance, perhaps off to some clinic to put NECO under the bio-microscopic light.


Kristin is a recent graduate of New England College of Optometry. Originally from New Jersey, she studied biology at Boston College, then moved to New Mexico, where she volunteer-taught first and second grade before beginning NECO in 2009. During her time at NECO, she was president of SVOSH, the student chapter of Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity, an international organization devoted to providing sustainable eye care internationally.  

Kristin valued her time at NECO, especially for always being treated as a colleague by faculty, for the home-like environment that was at once comforting and challenging, and for the close friendships she formed there.  She begins a community health residency in Boston in July of 2013.



Surbhi is from the land above called Canada and graduated from NECO in May of 2012. She discovered her passion for pediatrics and vision therapy during her time at NECO. That and her love for the East Coast have motivated her to specialize in that realm after graduation. She lives by the saying “everything happens for a reason” and wouldn’t trade her experience at NECO for anything in the world.


Mike graduated from NECO in May of 2012.


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