As a recent UCLA grad from the Los Angeles area, Arbi talks about the transition from a large undergrad to SCCO, a small private optometry school. Made even more difficult because of the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine, he also had to adapt to quarantine isolation and virtual remote learning.
Jane Ann Munroe, OD, Assistant Dean of Admissions, SCCO
I wanted to be an optometrist when I was only 10 years old. Why? I had some kind of geeky fascination with eyeglass frames, and was obsessed with getting a pair of my own. In my situation, having perfect eyesight was a distinct disadvantage, so I had to hatch a plan.
After repeated intense squinting while looking at the blackboard, I approached my teacher and lied with conviction, complaining that I couldn’t see. This report got me first to the school nurse and then finally on to an optometrist for an eye exam, where I tried my best Mr. Magoo impression to no avail.
I would have to wait two more long years until the gods finally smiled on me when, by some miracle, I acquired enough astigmatism to warrant my first bona fide pair of prescription eyeglasses!
Along with my love of people and wanting to take care of them, subsequent visits to the optometrist and shadowing, I sealed the deal—optometry was now officially what I wanted to do with my life.
I made first contact with the Southern California College of Optometry when I was in 8th grade. My older sister had a newly minted driver’s license and so I coerced her into driving me all the way from our home in La Mirada to Los Angeles, SCCO’s then-home. After a master planning effort to plot out our route on a paper map folded in 8 places, we arrived at SCCO where my sister quickly surmised that I didn’t have an appointment with an admissions advisor. She called me a loser, drove me all the way back home and the next day, phoned to help make the requisite appointment.
I entered high school in the late 1960’s (ouch, that hurt) when young females wanted to be anything but what I’d chosen as my newly dedicated pursuit—a science geek. I wore thick horn-rimmed black eyeglass frames (told you I was serious) and hung around chemistry lab after class. This was at a time when women just did not pursue careers in science and being the tomboy that I was, that was fine with me. This trend continued right through into undergrad, attending many classes where I was the only female--bespectacled or not--in the class. At a recent high school reunion, many of my classmates still remember me as the science geek with the blinders on—many envious of my joy and passion for my future profession.
I graduated from SCCO in 1977. Looking back with 40 years of experience as an optometrist, I am awed to know that I chose this wonderful profession way-back-when and with only my juvenile perspective to inform me. In 1977 when I graduated from optometry school, the profession began a series of major changes to its practice scope: securing the rights to use diagnostic drugs (dilating drops), securing the rights to prescribe therapeutic drugs (huge change!), being recognized as physicians by the federal government and treating glaucoma. In some US states, optometry has made even bigger strides into minor surgery, use of lasers, hospital privileges...etc. If I had the opportunity to go back and make another choice and knowing what I do today about health care and my own hardwiring, I’d make the same choice for optometry--nobody loves this profession more than I do. http://www.ketchum.edu/index.php/about/administration-directory
I grew up with optometry and now it’s your turn to inherit its future. That’s what this blog is about—getting you into optometry school and I am just the person to help you achieve this goal. We’re going to talk about the admissions process, how to prepare to take the OAT, how to be a competitive applicant, how to prepare to interview, to name a few. We’re going to talk about SCCO, student life and what it’s like to be an optometric intern. I am very persuasive, motivating and I am completely sold on optometry as the best profession in health care. I speak from experience!
Get ready to dialogue. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and please, chime in on discussions. I want to know what kind of help you need. You got this!
Gina Gilson is from Northern California. She considered staying closer to home to attend optometry school, but it was ultimately her SCCO on-campus visits that made the program stand out as her dream school.
Originally from Toronto, Canada, Sabrina attended undergrad at Suffolk University in Boston, Mass. She then—though COVID-19 became a pandemic—made the move across the country to attend SCCO.
Jacob knew where he hoped to attend optometry school. But of course now because of the pandemic, for all accepted applicants who haven’t been able to do the same, it’s much harder to have that certainty conviction when it comes to making the big decision.
With safety precautions due to COVID-19 requiring schools to move to interviews performed virtually, optometry students are faced with what can feel like an impossible decision: choosing to attend a school they’ve never been able to visit.
Given our current situation with COVID-19, I am republishing this article because is has renewed relevance as an accepted shadowing practice. In many ways, there is even more to be learned by interviewing an optometrist than by the mere passive observation of the traditional shadowing experience.
The Black Eyecare Perspective (BEP): Black Eyecare Perspective was designed and created to cultivate and foster lifelong relationships between African Americans and the eyecare industry. To increase the number of leaders of black addressing the biases in the eyecare industry. To help eyecare professionals and companies stay effective […]
Video: What the Southern California College of Optometry Offers Optometry Students in an Optometric Education
Are you planning to attend optometry school and are in the process of researching the various optometry program and what they offer their students? Designed with the pre-optometry student in mind, here is a video presentation describing the features and benefits of the Southern California College of Optometry’s […]
Learn how to become a competitive applicant to SCCO’s optometry program!
Here’s an article written by a young man who was accepted into our incoming class for this fall. Its overarching message describes how he went about the decision-making and even more importantly, how he dealt with the inherent anxiety in that process. By way of endorsement and from […]