What made you want to go to optometry school?
Every applicant is asked this question at some point on their optometric journey: “What made you want to go to optometry school?” After a while, the response becomes beautifully rehearsed, without any stumbling or “umm”s. As the application process continues, every applicant hopes that their reason is good enough for the interviewers.
Over a recent weekend, I was asked by some prospective students why I wanted to go to optometry school and be an optometrist. I gave them the response that would get any applicant kicked to the curb. I told them that it would be a good career that would allow me to make decent money and pursue my passion for classic cars. That was the truth, but it was only the first step in deciding to follow this career.
I really wanted to be an optometrist when I shadowed a doctor for the first time in a clinic. I saw a lot of patients with varying conditions, from cataracts to a foreign body removal. I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen! That was the day I made my decision to start this path.
However, I would need to go to community college after finishing my undergrad history degree to acquire the necessary prerequisite courses. It took three years, but I applied and got accepted! All the while, I was reassuring my desire to be an optometrist.
Once at school, it didn’t take long to figure out that the question had shifted from, “Why do I want to go to school?” to “Why am I still doing it?” By the time I finish optometry school (2020), I will have spent seven years of my life, after finishing undergrad, completing this goal. I could have used those seven years on another career with less debt and less stress, and be much, much closer to driving those exquisite cars.
So, why am I still doing it?
I do it because I love it.
I get a kick out of being in clinic and seeing patients. When I learn, see, or experience something new, I get excited and think I am in one of the coolest professions.
Now, a question to the reader: why did you want to do optometry, and why do you still do it?