Student Ambassador Blog Articles

Taking A 1200-Mile Leap of Faith!

A series of articles written by SCCO Student Ambassadors.

Taking A 1200-Mile Leap of Faith!

by SCCO Student Ambassador, Natalie Nell

NatalieAs an Oklahoma native, packing up my life and moving to California was a massive transition for me. While applying and interviewing at various optometry schools, I craved a new adventure
that would push me out of my comfort zone. It was important to me to find a school that fostered an encouraging and welcoming environment. I also desired a place that offered a variety of outdoor activities to explore. This season of change has been challenging in many ways, but I am grateful for the opportunity to begin a journey here in Fullerton.

My siblings are my biggest role models and influenced my decision to move away from home.natalie 2 From Texas to North Carolina, Denver to California, my older brother and three older sisters have inspired me to lead my life with boldness and try out a new place to call home. They all value their experiences in unfamiliar areas and learning about other cultures and ways of life. I’m so fortunate to witness the collection of incredible friends and memories in each city they lived in. When I explored my option for optometry school, they encouraged me to seek a new experience because they know first-hand just how impactful it can be on your career, future, and
personal growth.

Despite the challenges and emotions of leaving my friends and family behind, I look forward to finding my own experience away from home as my siblings did. I do believe that California and optometry school will stretch me in new ways academically and personally. What surprised me is that I struggled more with the “goodbyes” than with the “hellos.” To elaborate, leaving Oklahoma was hard, and I had my fair share of worries, but I have found so much peace here. I would do it all over again to be right where I am! I genuinely believe there is a place here for anyone and everyone if you give it a chance.

Oklahoma will always be home for me, but California is quickly winning my heart in other ways. I know… people love to talk about the weather, but it really is a luxury! The beautiful sun and the many opportunities to enjoy nature are so helpful for me, especially after long lecture days. I love soaking up my beach time on the weekends or visiting other areas to try new restaurants.

Although I miss spending time with my friends back home, I can’t wait for them to show them all that California has toNatalie offer when they visit! Southern California College of Optometry has already made my experience in Fullerton so positive. Every student I have encountered, first-year to third-year students alike, treated me with kindness and offered support as I found my footing here. I have felt so much relief in my first few weeks of school. This was a significant decision, but I am confident about my path here at SCCO. I’m so thankful to the student ambassadors and admissions staff who encouraged me
to take that leap of faith!

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



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