Kids are commonly asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I remembered my classmates saying firefighter, policeman, teacher, doctor, etc. I don’t remember much from my childhood, but I do remember that I had no idea what I wanted to be. I felt this way for years. My junior year in college, my brothers, sisters, mom and dad were still posing that question. Sure, I was a foot taller and has stubble on my chin, but my answer was still the same–I didn’t know. Fortunately, one thing I was certain of was that I liked science. My interest in the subject is why I chose to major in biology.
It was during this year in school that I really started to scout possible career paths. As the youngest of eight siblings, all of whom are in healthcare, it was my natural inclination to follow the footsteps of my brothers and sisters. I investigated all the possibilities–from physical therapy to pharmacy, medicine to dentistry. I considered all of them to be great professions and could picture myself in those fields for the considerable future. What could be more satisfying than improving the overall wellness of the community? My volunteer leader once told me, “The world is separated into two types of people: givers and takers.” During his years of observing other people’s jobs as well as his own, he saw the former being more satisfied.
My first in-depth inquiry about optometry was at my sister’s wedding. Through small-talk with my relatives, I learned my cousin and her husband were optometrists. They expressed their passion for being primary care providers, and when I got home I dove head-first into researching the profession on the interwebs. A domino effect occurred: Each discovery, from the management of diseases to vision correction, galvanized me into going deeper into the depths of of optometry. I contacted a few local optometrists and set up shadowing opportunities. I felt I’d uncovered my intended path in life.
But there was still another important choice to make after I decided to pursue optometry. I still didn’t know which school was the best fit me. I researched every aspect of every program, and went on my fair share of visits and interviews. A lot of schools will promote the newest technology or their location. Don’t get me wrong, these things are important, but for me personally, the most essential characteristic of a school is the ambiance. From the friendly students to the accommodating faculty to the crisp and informative website, ICO gave me the best impression, an impression in which I feel comfortable investing a large sum of money and four years of my life. Unless you’ve somehow studied at more than one optometry school, it’s almost impossible to compare the schools. I don’t know if I’ve made the right choice, but I do know that ICO was the school I gravitated to the most.