By Simon Kidd
Paying attention in class is a difficult task even on the best of days. Students know that they might struggle with lacklustre organization skills, terrible sleep hygiene, mental health issues, boring classes, or teachers who present in the dark. However, these issues are well-known, even though some students will not necessarily change their routines to improve their attention spans.
However, there is one factor that most students overlook. It’s one that most students do not think much about. When students or teachers brainstorm about methods to keep on top of the CEGEP workload, visual impairment probably does not even enter the equation.
I noticed that classmates in my program do not wear glasses, even when they desperately need them. Most of the time, the issue is brushed off with a simple ‘well, I just sit in the front’ or the surprisingly common ‘I should get glasses, but they don’t suit me.’ As a filthy four-eyes, I had to write this article to stress the importance of getting your eyes checked.
Farsightedness can mess you up. Lectures always run the risk of turning into a snoozefest, and paying attention becomes exponentially more difficult when you cannot properly see the slides. To the student’s credit, there are some teachers who make the problem worse. A red powerpoint theme with twelve point Comic Sans fonts are incredibly inhumane, even for the students with glasses. If you don’t have them, you run the risk of simply being unable to read the board. As the day drags on, your eyes become strained, which can lead to headaches. Taking notes becomes harder and harder, and eventually you might give up completely without realizing it.
First year students in Marianopolis cannot wait to turn eighteen. All the dubious joys of adult responsibilities are put on a pedestal, without thinking of all the freebies that suddenly disappear the moment you turn eighteen. One of those freebies are eye exams. Eye exams are completely free in Quebec until you turn eighteen. I repeat, eye exams are free in Quebec until you turn eighteen. If you are under eighteen and think your eyes are perfectly fine, check them anyways. It’s free. If it has been a year since you have checked your eyes, check them again. What might have been a 20/20 prescription a year ago might be complete crap now. I learned that the hard way, when I tried on another student’s glasses and felt like I could see like a bald eagle.
- ‘I don’t look good with glasses.’ ← You have not found the right pair yet. If you really cannot find a pair that fits, consider contacts. If your eyes are too dry for contacts, get glasses…even if you feel ugly with them on. We are here to learn, not walk down a fashion runway. We’ll all be wearing grotty sweatpants by the end of the term anyhow.
- ‘Money.’ ← This is a legitimate reason. However, your parents have sent you to Marianopolis. There might have been monetary sacrifice involved, and the price of glasses is simply a part of that sacrifice. If your vision is deteriorating in class, it can actually ruin your grades and by extension, your future academic opportunities. Glasses are an investment, but that investment pays itself back over time. External financial support is also available at Marianopolis. There are less pricey options for glasses as well, especially online. If you are a first year and money is an issue, get your eyes checked as soon as possible. After eighteen, the price of a checkup will be around $50.
- I’m fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine. Really. I just sit in the front, and–Get glasses. Just… Get glasses. Squinting all the time is never fun, and neither are the frequent headaches that come with eye strain.
- Consider Getting Transitions: Yeah, it’s more expensive, but transitions protect your eyes from UV rays. They turn your glasses into sunglasses whenever they are necessary, and it’s way better than buying a separate pair of sunglasses. Realistically, I’m not going to switch out my glasses for sunglasses whenever it is sunny outside. Sure, transitions can look dorky–but cataracts suck, and transitions are preventative. In the wintertime, UV rays become a greater issue. You don’t put sunscreen on in the winter, simply because we are (mostly) covered up. Glare from the snow can double ultraviolet ray exposure. When you are wearing glasses all day every day, transitions might be a good choice.
Go get your eyes checked. Sometimes we don’t look ahead, but glasses would probably help.