Whether you’re in a 3 or 4 year program, the first 6 months or so of optometry school are TOUGH. Mainly it’s just a lot more info and more classes at once than undergrad, so you need to be way better at time management. It’s not that the classes are harder per se for a 1st year optometry student. In fact, learning ochem for the first time is probably harder than most of my first year classes. But overall, it is definitely tough.
Having good friends in your program is critical. You may feel not “on top of it” when you first start, and this is totally normal. Make sure you prioritize making good friends in your first few months. Everything is more manageable when you’re going through it with a friend. Here is me and some of my friends in my program 🙂
In terms of studying in Opto school, the best advice I have received is to be strategic. You can’t learn every single piece of info like you did in undergrad. Focus on what is most important as a 1st year optometry student.
If you want to get a sense of a “day in the life” – a bunch of my friends have written about their typical days here.