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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.

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!

ASCO’s Resources: Blog, YouTube, Brochure, Podcasts, and PPT

ASCO (Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry) is optometric education’s mothership. Founded in 1941, ASCO is a non-profit education association representing the interests of optometric education. ASCO’s membership encompasses the schools and colleges of optometry in the United States and Puerto Rico. ASCO is committed to achieving excellence […]

Career Symposium at MBKU: Career Planning, Networking, Food and Fun!

The Southern California College of Optometry is one of the health care programs within Marshall B. Ketchum University (MBKU). MBKU’s Student Achievement Center has a mission: to provide services to help every MBKU student become a caring, inspired healthcare professional through academic and personal growth. In addition to basic […]

Take Charge of Your Financial Wellness in Optometry School and Beyond

For most students, planning for optometry school will involve financial aid and therefore loans. Here’s an article hosted on ASCO’s (Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry) blog that should help get you started on formulating a strategy when it comes to financing your professional grad school education. For those […]