Student Ambassador Blog Articles

More Than A Legacy

A series of articles written by SCCO Student Ambassadors.

More Than A Legacy

by SCCO Student Ambassador, Eliana Goncuian

Goncuian, Eliana 2The main influence on my decision to become an optometrist was my mother, an SCCO alumnus. When I chose to pursue an OD, I could feel the excitement in my mother’s eyes and voice. She began telling me her most memorable stories at SCCO. She described her apartment, the restaurants she commonly dined at, and the library where she always studied. 
However, I did not always want to be an optometrist, so I researched and confirmed that this career would be a good fit for me. From a young age, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the sciences, and for a while, I dreamt of becoming a pediatrician or veterinarian. However, as I grew up and exposed myself to
those fields, I found that I no longer felt enthusiastic about those career options. It was time to accept that my childhood dreams no longer matched my current interests, so I had to find a new plan. Following in my mother’s footsteps and becoming an OD had always been a career option in the back of my mind. However, I had yet to give optometry a real chance. It was not until my mother proudly opened her private practice, after years of hard work, that I decided to finally look further into optometry.

Growing up, I would always spend time at my mom’s work – the office of Dr. Karlin, an ophthalmologist at the Woodland Hills Medical Center. As a child, I loved that office. Everyone was happy, kind, and welcoming. It was an energy that I looked forward to being a part of. Once my mother opened her own practice, my experiences only got better and more sentimental. My mother provided me with unlimited knowledge and resources regarding optometry, but I still wanted my own experiences outside of my mom’s practice. Therefore, in August 2019, I pursued a job with another optometrist and was hired as an optician at Dr. Kevin Hirano Optometry. Coincidentally, Dr. Kevin Hirano is also an SCCO alumnus. Once Dr. Hirano discovered my interest in becoming an optometrist, he enthusiastically began describing and reminiscing in his favorite memories as a student at SCCO.

Working at Dr. Hirano’s office was the biggest help in making my decision. Dr. Hirano was generous with his advice,Goncuian, Eliana 3 (1) and my coworkers became my biggest supporters and friends. I found that I was always happy to go to work. Later, I even shadowed Dr. Karlin, my mother’s first boss, at his ophthalmology office to make sure it was optometry that interested me. After watching my mom as an optometrist all my life and working at Dr. Hirano’s office for three years, I had never been more confident in my decision and ability to become an optometrist.

So, to all prospective students whose parent or parents are optometrists, my advice is to do your own research. Get a job at another office without the help of your parents and gain experience. Be curious when you are there and ask questions. Most optometrists are more than happy to help guide you through your decision. Lastly, try to envision whether this can be a lifetime career for yourself, and be honest with yourself about who you are doing this for. Your “why” is what will motivate you through your challenging courses throughout optometry school.
Luckily, my mother never pressured me into becoming an optometrist. She was extremely
supportive of me exploring my options even though she secretly hoped and knew that I would
end up right where I belonged: SCCO.

Click here to read Eliana’s bio and meet other Student Ambassadors at 

Goncuian, Eliana 1

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