A series of articles written by SCCO Student Ambassadors.
Finding My Confidence, Sealing My Success
by SCCO Student Ambassador, Clayton Fung
There was once a time when I did not dare to dream of succeeding in higher education, much less getting
admitted to optometry school. As a young high school student struggling with self-acceptance and
limitless expectations, I was in a rabbit hole of self-doubt. Left unchecked, this doubt
manifested as a gradually worsening anxiety that adversely affected my academics. I had become
so afraid of making mistakes that I began to hesitate to even try anything if I did not immediately get
things perfect the first time around. I held myself back and, as a result, unknowingly became my own worst
Despite the challenges throughout this experience, I developed a genuine interest in community service having been a library volunteer for most of my teenage years. This love for service evolved into a pull toward understanding social issues affecting equality, equity, and the human condition. As someone
who grew up facing various issues regarding identity, it only felt natural to be drawn to fields where I felt I could make a lasting social difference, such as healthcare. However, though I knew I was drawn to a humanitarian career path, I knew I did not have what it takes to pursue a health profession. Or so I thought!
As I carried this small inkling of a dream with me to my first year of community college, I realized something critical. Falling back on my habitual doubt, I repeated the same patterns and underperformed in my first-year Calculus course. Though this may seem trivial, this event triggered a moment of self-awareness
which enabled me to recognize the importance of asking for help, seeking resources, and
taking the first steps in deconstructing how I viewed self-worth. Above everything, learning to be
vulnerable was (and still is) the most challenging part of the journey. Though it was not an overnight
process, I surprised myself as I pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone further each day. Seeking
help was what ultimately allowed me to focus on self-care and eventually develop the habits I needed to
Over the next few years, I made an effort to understand myself better. Exploring my limitations, trying
out new things, and communicating with others opened endless opportunities for me. Fully accepting
this mindset was what allowed me to see success in my undergraduate years and to push toward
dreams I previously did not allow myself to envision. Transferring to UCSD, discovering optometry and
the wonderful community it has, and having the privilege to attend SCCO are just a few examples of the
goals I was able to make a reality. In all honesty, I am still in disbelief and humbled to have made it this
As you progress through your own pre-optometric experiences and beyond, you will be met with situations that will challenge you. Some of these challenges may not end in success. These failures may
discourage you, especially if you felt that you had invested a lot of time and energy to ensure the opposite. The most important lesson is to remember that growth is nonlinear, and with each mistake
comes an opportunity to reconcile your faults and come back with a stronger foundation. Be proud of your efforts, your accomplishments, and your mistakes. Confidence is truly key! I hope this article helped put things into perspective, at least a little bit.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!
Click here to read Clayton’s bio and meet other Student Ambassadors at Ketchum.edu.
Categories: Student Ambassador Blog Articles
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