Advice Column

Peer Advice: Ways to Help Prevent Burnout 

As many of you may already know from your previous experiences as undergraduate students, there are many moments throughout our academic journey where we may begin to feel burnout and exhaustion. This feeling is completely normal, especially during graduate school. Do not worry! I am here to help share some fun activities that have helped myself and other students prevent burnout. 

Activity No. 1: TAKE BREAKS! 

I know many of you have already heard this saying from peers, parents, faculty and now from me, but it is so important to take breaks! The phrase “take a break” can be applied in many different ways. Some examples include: 

  • Taking a 15-minute break after every lecture 
  • Taking a day off to give your brain a rest 
  • Taking the afternoon off after a long day of lectures and labs 
  • Take a break every 2 hours 

The bullet points listed above are only a few examples of the many different ways one can take breaks. I know taking time off from school can make one feel guilty at times, but it is crucial. Taking a break from schoolwork has definitely helped me and other peers prevent burnout. I use this time to keep my mind off school, even if it is only for 15 minutes. On days that I felt that I needed more time to study, my breaks were smaller. I would take a break maybe every 3 hours. During my breaks I would watch a movie, call a friend or scroll through social media. On the other hand, on days that were very heavy on lectures and labs, I would come home and take the afternoon off. These are just some examples that have helped me that may help you, too. However, this may not work for everyone. I recommend that you take breaks as needed. Many of you will need more breaks a day or a week and some of you may not need as much, and that is okay. 

Activity No. 2: Exercise 

Implementing exercise into our schedule is a great way to help de-stress from schoolwork. If you are like me and do not enjoy going to the gym, but would rather sit on a couch and snack, do not worry, this activity can still apply to you! Whenever I felt overwhelmed with school, I would take my dog on a 30-minute walk around my block. Going for a walk would help me take my mind off school and spend some time with my dog. I really enjoyed this exercise because during those 30 minutes, I would forget about all the assignments that I had to complete, all the exams I had to study for, and I would just focus on me. After my walks/ runs with my dog, I felt more energized, focused, and motivated while doing my schoolwork. However, walking is not the only way one can de-stress. Listed below are different ways one can use exercise to relieve stress from school. 

  • Lifting weights 
  • Running 
  • Going to the gym 
  • Yoga 
  • Playing a sport 
  • Home workout videos via Youtube 

Activity No. 3: Spending time with friends and family 

This activity is by far my favorite! Throughout your academic journey as a graduate student, there will be moments where you may feel that you have no social life or cannot spend time with friends or family because you have to study. However, I am here to tell you that it is very possible to have a social life and excel in graduate school. It is so important to spend time with the people you care about. During my first year at SCCO, I would take one day off a week and spend time with my family and friends. Some of the activities I would plan would be going to Disneyland, a nice dinner, watching a movie, cooking dinner or going to the beach. Spending quality time with friends helped me prevent burnout because I would use this time to enjoy life. I would distract myself and focus on the things I enjoyed doing outside of schoolwork. Hanging out with family helped me recharge my spirit and give my brain a break. If spending a whole day with friends and family seems too much for you, you can always start by taking half a day off. This activity is very flexible, but highly recommended. 

There are many other activities that can be done to help prevent burnout. One of the most important key factors to prevent burnout is spending time and energy on you. Whether that be exercise, hanging with friends or watching a movie, it is important to take time for yourself.

Do not feel guilty if you are not doing schoolwork every hour of the day. Enjoy life, enjoy school and have lots of fun! 


Student Experience


The past year has been filled with numerous “unprecedented” events, and we had no choice but to go with the flow to navigate the infected waters, so to speak. From having NBEO part 1 cancelled 10 hours before the exam, to finishing up clinic with online cases, our experience is unique. However, we will be stronger doctors for it as we persevered through the layers of PPE and countless 90 D lenses fogging up.  

As we prepare for graduation, take a moment to reflect on our time in optometry school. The failures and successes. The favorite classes that brought you joy and, inevitably, the dreaded courses that brought stress and anxiety. For me, I enjoyed Ocular Disease 2, learning about the pathologies that affect the eye and how to treat or manage the patient. I dreaded Ocular Motility the most, because it was difficult for me to wrap my head around the concepts. Regardless of what our difficulties were, we have all succeeded to get to this point. So now what?  

Some will be moving on to residency programs where they will build upon the foundation of knowledge built in school. Others, like myself, are ready to enter the work force. For those going into the work force immediately, know your worth. Advocate your strengths and why you are an asset. Negotiate salary and benefits wisely. And try and find a setting that will make you happy.  

Most of us having been living near our schools and at our rotation sites for the past four years. This is the first time for many of us that we get to decide where we want to live and practice. So choose wisely; consider location, salary and, of course, scope of practice. Check out the AOA’s helpful guide for determining the scope of practice in each state! 

Remember to always keep learning. Let’s move the profession of optometry forward and practice our full scope of knowledge and training. 

Congratulations, Class of 2021. We did it!  

Advice Column

Going in Blind 

Before optometry school, I was intimidated by the idea of becoming a doctor. Not only because I doubted myself initially, but also because I feel I found my passion for optometry relatively late. You always hear stories about people wanting to be doctors their entire life, but that was not my situation. It felt like everyone had all the answers going in and here I was, faking it ’til I made it.  

Two years and several leadership positions later, I found that sometimes no plan is a plan. When you have so much to learn about being successful, sometimes it’s easier to retire your expectations rather than do the work to unlearn them and build from there. Once you recognize how productive it is to always be learning, you’ll find there are very few things you can’t adapt to.  

This isn’t meant to sound scary, but balancing your life in optometry school is not something anyone can prepare you for. Professional school is transformative, and I believe the key to finding that balance is to identify your strengths and learning how to use them to your advantage. In my case, I knew I had strong communication skills and a deep passion for community service, not just future patients. Since then, the Student Government Association and many other committees have played a large role in my experience at NOVA Southeastern University. 

Through my years of involvement, the skills I once lacked confidence in naturally began to develop. I became more organized, improved in networking, gained insight on how to be successful, and learned many invaluable life lessons. The point is, looking at me now, you would’ve never known how hard it was to manage during my first two years of studying optometry. So, to my fellow student doctors and student doctors-to-be, here are some things I wish I knew going into it and things I remind myself of daily: 

 1. Tailor your method of studying to the course 

 You can’t study for optics the way you study for disease. You can’t study for disease the way you study for clinic. No matter your what your GPA was coming into school, do not limit yourself to the student you were before just because you got good grades and expect that to work in graduate school. Be ready to adopt different modes of learning or in some cases, multiple modes for one course. Personally, optics didn’t stick unless I did practice problems three or four times over. In disease courses, it was all about using flashcards and diagrams. For pharmacology, I needed to compartmentalize and study tables and make charts. Other classes, simply reading the power points and listening to the lecture was enough. 

2. Failing is necessary 

Reject the idea that you need to be perfect. Versatility and the ability to find multiple solutions to a problem is a useful life skill, especially for a student doctor. Embrace the opportunity to learn different ways to approach a problem. Remember, your ability to perform on tests does not determine if you will be a good doctor. It takes more than straight A’s and even the best test-takers will struggle in clinic.  

3. If you don’t schedule a break, your body will schedule it for you  

When I was in undergrad, I used to study myself into these headaches that would cause me to burnout. One day, my mom said to me, “this is your body’s way of crying, saying it has had enough.” To this day, it saves me on exams. Trust me, if you cannot digest the information you are reading, it is time to take a break. If it helps, promise to make it up to yourself by getting up a little earlier to squeeze in lost time. Being rested does make a difference, it won’t matter what you read the night before if your brain is working at half its potential.   

4. Talk to your instructors, for help and for fun 

Not only do you get direct feedback on how well you’re studying, but also the faculty will remember you. It is not like undergrad where you get a teacher and never see them again; you are going to see a majority of your faculty in lab and clinic throughout your four years. Get comfortable asking them questions and get to know them as people. They could be teaching you one of those four years and working beside you right after. Additionally, for those of you who have test anxiety, learning your instructor’s thought process can be beneficial when working through exam questions. In fact, you may pick up on hints during your exams just because you spent time learning what they’re passionate about. (Bonus points if you find you’re passionate about the same things.) 

5. You are an investment  

They didn’t pick you out of a hat; you were hand-picked because you have something that makes your program want to say, “they graduated from here.” They put in all this work to impress you during tours and interviews and at some point, they needed you to pick them to make you a doctor. They wouldn’t put their name on someone who didn’t show promise and they don’t want to lose you. 

These doctors believe in you before you’ve even begun, focus on why that is.

Advice Column

Growth, not perfection.

“School is for making mistakes and learning from them, it is why you’re here.” 

These were the kind words of my checkout doctor this morning after I made—as I like to call it—a “rookie” mistake with my patient. If you’re anything like me, failing is tough. I’m naturally a competitive person and hate to lose. I mean I really hate to lose. I could be walking into a restaurant and if a stranger is also walking up to the door, I will walk faster just to beat them. Formal competition or not, I want to win. This can be a curse for me, however, because when I don’t “win,” I beat myself up and basically have a pity party for the rest of the day.   

This mindset injects itself into optometry school through exams & quizzes. I could receive an 89% on an exam and be stoked but if my classmates score a 90%, I’m bummed out. Furthermore, if I do everything right on a patient’s exam but forget to run a test or miss a step in my exam flow, I get down on myself.  

Why do I do this? Why do I beat myself up when mistakes are made? I believe I feel this way because I set my expectations for perfection. I expect to get an A on every test and expect to run every patient exam perfectly.   

Have you ever spoken with someone who seemed to know it all? You start telling them about the movie you saw over the weekend or the trip you took over the summer and they interrupt you before you can finish to tell you they’ve been to that destination 13 times, saw the movie before it was released, and they solved world peace in the process.  In their mind, they knew it all and had nothing to learn from your experience. That was their expectation and as a result, that was their outcome.  

I have begun to realize that if I expect to do perfectly on a test or exam, my ability to listen and learn from others quickly fades. In my mind I think I know it all, so why should I ask questions or listen to someone else? The truth is, I need to swallow the pill of humility more often and realize No. 1, I don’t know it all. No. 2, I am in school to ask questions, make mistakes and learn from those mistakes.  

Instead of expecting perfection, I need to expect growth.

This will yield far more development in my ability as a student, clinician, and one day as a doctor.  If you are anything like me, I encourage you to recalibrate your expectations to focus on growth instead of perfect outcomes. In the words of my checkout doctor, “School is for making mistakes and learning from them, it’s why you’re here.”


I am a doctor.

Before I began my journey as an optometry student, I had come to the realization that our profession lacked the social recognition that other health care professionals have. Growing up, I had very little interest in optometry until I got to college. Why? I simply didn’t know the profession existed for 364 days of the year. The one day of the year where I remembered optometry was a thing was when I was forced to get an eye exam to be able to compete for my school’s sports team. I didn’t see optometrists at my school, on media representation, or even academic fairs held by schools to get students interested in health care. This lack of exposure is the reason I believe that there are so many misconceptions about optometry among the public. However, one misconception needs to be actively addressed for our profession to continue to thrive and grow: 

 “Are optometrists real doctors?”  

Not only has this question continued to follow me throughout my time as a student, but it also has followed many optometrists who are well into their professional careers. My instinctive reaction when I’m asked this question is to become defensive—I believe that my reaction is completely justifiable, especially with all the sacrifices I’ve made to obtain my doctorate. As time goes on, more people continue to question the legitimacy of optometry as a health care profession and my ability to treat patients. I was sick of the uncomfortable tension that formed every time I was asked this question due to my inability to properly handle the question. Despite being flustered or even angry the first few times I was asked if I was actually becoming a doctor, I slowly learned how to handle this question with grace. Hopefully by educating one person at a time about the true potential of our profession, it will begin to shift the public’s image of optometrists. 

What did I do to change the way I approached this question when asked? First, I must put myself in the person’s shoes. The general public who have no experience in health care tend to have a difficult time differentiating between ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians. I like to take the question with a grain of salt and educate the person, ensuring that I am completely qualified to examine their vision and eye health. Depending on who asked, there isn’t a need to go on a long tangent. Something as simple as, “Yes, I am a board-certified doctor of optometry who is licensed to do a wide range of things during eye exams. Anything outside my scope of practice like surgeries will need to be referred out.” Sometimes, that would be adequate, but there are times where disclosing your schooling and training would further solidify your qualifications to the person. There will be times when someone may have an issue with the utilization of “doctor” in your name or practice. Doctor is a title given to anyone who holds a doctorate. If you state that you are an optometrist, full transparency has been disclosed and you choose to honor the title that you are federally recognized by.  

Although educating one person at a time will eventually have its positive effects, what can we do on a bigger scale to change the perception about us in the community? As I mentioned before, the lack of representation was a big issue. Dentistry had a massive change in their career prospects after a series of high-quality commercials were aired in 1995. Optometry lacks the implementation of marketing and advertising strategies that other professions have. Our community needs to think bigger on the macroscale on how to educate the public about our profession. The AOA is currently working on campaigns toward increasing the amount of exposure to the public about optometry. One successful campaign that reached billions included pro-surfer Caroline Marks, showing how optometrists were the unspoken hometown heroes for many. However, it’s also up to individual optometrists and optometry students to drive those messages into the homes of our patients as well. As we all continue to push for our profession to be shown in the limelight, the misconception about our ability and scope of practice will start to resolve. 

Advice Column

So, You’re Interested in Optometry: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting into Optometry School 

Research optometry schools 

So, you’re interested in optometry! The first step is learning about the education necessary to become a doctor of optometry. There are 25 accredited optometry schools in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Take the time to do some research to help you decide which schools you want to apply to. 

A helpful resource is This AOSA resource provides a map of all the optometry schools and the link to each school’s official website. It also provides the contact information for the AOSA Trustee of that institution so you can reach out with any questions. 

Important information to find for each school: location, board passing rates, tuition cost, pre-requisites, recommended GPA and recommended OAT score. 


Join the pre-optometry club at your undergraduate institution 

Joining a pre-optometry club at your undergraduate institution is a great way to meet other pre-optometry students and receive information about applying, optometry schools and the profession in general. Also, involvement in these clubs looks good on a resume. You also can join the AOSA as a pre-optometry student. 


Make connections 

It is helpful to make connections with optometrists during this time. They can be mentors for you, let you shadow them or even help you get a job at their practice. You also need a letter of recommendation from an optometrist while applying to optometry school, so it is a game changer to have an optometrist who knows you well and is willing to help you on your path to becoming an optometrist. 

Also, don’t underestimate the value of becoming friends with your fellow pre-optometry students. They know what you are going through more than anybody else and can provide advice, friendship and help along the way.  


Prepare for the OAT 

Every prospective student must take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT). The first step in preparing is knowing the format of the test and the topics that are covered. The test has four parts: natural sciences (100 questions in 90 minutes), physics (40 questions in 50 minutes), reading comprehension (50 questions in 60 minutes) and quantitative reasoning (40 questions in 45 minutes). There is an optional 30-minute break in the middle. The test takes a total of five hours and five minutes. Scores range from 200-400. You will receive your score immediately after the test. has more information and the official OAT Guide.  

I highly recommend taking practice tests on the computer to get used to the format of the test and the timing. The test is a marathon, so make sure you practice sitting for the whole time and timing yourself to make sure you know the pace you should go through the questions. Talking to students who already took the test or going to can help you figure out what method of studying is best for you.  


Take the OAT 

It is recommended to take the OAT the summer before your final year of undergraduate studies. It is best to have most of your optometry school pre-requisites completed by this time because the test contains a lot of that information. You can take the OAT an unlimited number of times but be aware that there is a 90-day waiting time between attempts. 

To apply to take the OAT, first go to to get the personal identification number that is needed to apply to take the test. Then you can log in on the ADA website and apply for the test. The cost of the test as of 2021 is $500. After your application and fee are processed, you will be instructed to contact Prometric to choose the date and location of your test. All testing takes place at Prometric Centers in both the U.S. and Canada. also is a great source for more information on what to expect the day of the test. 


Fill out an application on OptomCAS 

Once your OAT is completed, you can start applying to optometry schools! This is done though the Optometry Centralized Application Service ( This allows you to fill out one application that is sent to multiple schools of your choice. The application opens late June and closes late May of the next year. It is best to apply the same summer you take the OAT. Use the OptomCAS Transcript Form to get your official transcripts to OptomCAS before the application deadline. It also is helpful to have a personal copy of your transcript to help you fill out the coursework section of the application. This also is when the people who are writing letters of recommendation for you will be receiving an email from OptomCAS so they can fill out their section of the application. Exact instructions can be found at 



Once schools have received your application, you will start to be contacted by schools to schedule an interview. This process varies with every school, so visit their websites for specific information. Just be yourself and show your interviewers the passion you have for optometry. If you got this far the interviewers already know that you are an intelligent and motivated student. This interview is the time to show them you are a future optometrist, and that you have the social skills to serve patients. 


Get accepted and start optometry school 

Being a pre-optometry student is a lot of work, but many students have come before you and are now working or studying for their dream job. These optometrists and optometry students can give you advice and help if you reach out to them. Also remember that the American Optometric Student Association has your back and wants to help you reach your optometric goals. This past year we have even started the AOA/AOSA Opportunities in Optometry Grant Program for underrepresented minority students who are interested in optometry. The purpose is to help cover some of the costs of the OAT, school applications and professional attire and travel costs for interviews. For more information, go to 


Student Success & Residency

Four Tips and Tricks to Navigating Optometry School During a Pandemic  

Optometry school is no joke!  And beginning your first year in the midst of a global pandemic presents a whole new level of challenges.  From moving to a new city and starting grad school to dealing with isolation, you must have a few tricks up your sleeve to stay healthy, motivated and sane–here is what I have implemented in my life to help juggle the stress that accompanies not only optometry school, but also “pandemic life.”  

Tip #1: Establish a routine. Following a routine can help bring a sense of “normalcy” and structure to your life. A good way to start your day is to have a morning routine–make your bed, go to the gym, make breakfast and have your coffee—anything that will get your day started off on the right foot. Additionally, using a planner can help you structure your day and divide up your precious time between school, work and leisure.  

Tip #2: Set attainable goals. Small goals that are achievable and realistic can help to ease anxiety and stress and reach a feeling of accomplishment. As opposed to large goals, small goals can help you visualize the end product and are the stepping stones to help you accomplish that larger task. For example, I try to study consistently as the material from classes is presented (small goal), which helps with night-before-the-exam anxiety (and reduces cramming)! 

Tip #3: Find a good support system. Surround yourself with people that can empathize with you, listen, give advice (when needed) and bring you up! Hopefully you can be this person to someone else as well! I know that without friends and family, my first year of optometry school would have been MUCH more difficult.   

Tip #4: Be sure to take care of yourself–both physically and mentally.I’ve learned that mental health is one of themost important aspects of surviving grad school, especially grad school in the middle of a pandemic. Physical health can help keep you mentally healthy too, as can eating healthy, resting and doing the things that bring you joy.   

It is important to know that you are not alone. Many of your classmates are feeling the exact same way.  Reach out to them for help and explore the many resources that your school has available to you!  

Student Experience

The Tale of Two Clerkships: Urban Vs. Rural

Even before entering optometry school, students wonder about their options for clerkship or externship sites. It is brought up during the frequently asked questions portion of the interview process or even highlighted in a school’s presentation to promote their program. It can even be the basis on which some students decide to finalize their offer from a school. It is an exciting decision, requiring carefully narrowing down the various options and weighing the pros and cons of the sites on the list. Of course, having the freedom to select where one can practice for a few months is a blessing and a curse. When the time for making these selections finally comes, many questions arise, including the important decision of whether to select a site located in a major city or in a rural town. During my selection process, I opted for a mix: one site in each of the two settings. Here are the highlights of my experiences.


Rural site: Grande Prairie, Alberta

This was my very first clerkship site, and I chose a great multi-doctor clinic in “northern” Alberta. In my mental map of Alberta, Grande Prairie was as north as you could go, hence the quotations. Having grown up in Vancouver, I was shocked to find out later that you could travel even more north, to what I can only assume is polar bear territory. It was interesting driving four and a half hours out of Edmonton, the closest major city, surrounded by the unfamiliar sight of expansive crops.


One of the most interesting aspects of this site was the lack of ophthalmologists in the area. There was only one surgical OMD in the area who was no longer accepting new patients due to being far too busy. It was strange to be in a situation where we needed to educate the patient that they must drive all the way to Edmonton for a simple procedure. It was always a big decision to send a patient into the city to see an ophthalmologist, so making sure to educate the patient well on the importance and time-sensitivity of the situation was key. In the city, it can become a habit to refer as it is easy to do and not too much of a hassle for the patient, but at a rural site, you are challenged to debate if a referral is truly needed.


As one of the only eye care providers in the surrounding area, most of the ocular disease cases will come to you. I often got the feeling that we were the emergency room for eyes and it was exciting going to work every day. For example, I would practice my fine motor skills by removing metal foreign bodies at least once a week. It also was educational to follow more advanced glaucoma patients who would normally be followed through an ophthalmologist in the city. Severe cases would need a referral, but moderate cases would be monitored via our office as it was easier to maintain compliance for follow-up appointments.


In addition, the patient may have traveled far to get to our office. We were sought out by concerned patients, elevating our importance in their health care that much more. Valuing the patient’s time and factoring in their convenience was important as it was tough for them to return multiple times for different scans and follow-ups.


Urban site: Calgary, Alberta

My second clerkship site was a single-doctor, private practice in Calgary, Alberta. In fact, my business-savvy supervisor owned three different clinics across town, and we would travel to each clinic multiple times a week. This was a great learning experience for a variety of other reasons and provided a whole new set of skills to learn.


Some of the most important lessons to be learned in the city are how to run a successful business and handle the competitive nature of working in an urban and well-populated area. Although this is not what many students search for in a clerkship site, it is a very important aspect of optometry. Most optometry programs only offer one or two business courses. For this reason, a good hands-on experience is priceless. You will get the opportunity to see your supervising doctor manage staff and sales as well as interact with sales representatives. This is incredibly beneficial if you are hoping to own a business of your own, especially in a busy city.


In contrast with the rural sites, there are a variety of specialists to whom you can refer. This makes working in the city a great opportunity to practice interprofessional care and each office has its own areas of focus and wait times. In addition, there also are many other referrals that can be made in the city to providers such as social workers, physiotherapists, and psychologists. Of course, we can refer to specialty optometrists, too! Whether it is for the purpose of vision therapy or specialty contact lenses, there are often more options for specialized care.


Along those lines, if you would like to learn beyond the limits of the clinic you have selected, there also are opportunities to shadow ophthalmologists and other optometrists in the area. Of course, this may be during your off-days or after hours but if you are keen and want to observe what it is like in an OMD’s office, this is an option for you. For example, I have an interest in specialty contact lenses, so I reached out to a local office that services many difficult-to-fit patients and shadowed one of their fitting days.


Of course, we cannot forget the exciting activities that are offered in the city. Unfortunately, with COVID-19, there were limited activities available, but the food and entertainment scenes were still more diverse. Even takeout is more interesting than just the chain restaurants. On your days off, you have the chance to explore and enjoy the city. Unfortunately, the cost of living is higher in the city so that must be factored in as well.



Author Bio: Cindy Shan is a student at the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science. She is the class president for the Class of 2021 and was the director of internal affairs for the UW chapter of the AOSA. She has a special interest in practice management, specialty contact lens and myopia control. Cindy also loves to travel and explore other parts of the world, test her skills at DIY projects and hike the beautiful mountains in British Columbia.


The Most Valuable Non-Optometric Lesson I Learned in Optometry School

Representatives in every organization exist for the purpose of solving both everyday and major issues that interfere with everyone’s workday and to brainstorm ideas to make our workplace better. Our main workplace during these past four years has been optometry school. Student representatives are an essential component of the school’s ecosystem to ensure our student experience, both in learning and having fun, is fulfilling. There is a role for every personality whether it is social media, event planning, accounting, student representation and more.  

Advocating to make your learning environment better is one of the most satisfying experiences you can go through as a student because you can see the direct results of your hard work in the lives of your fellow students and future generations. As both theory and practice learning are evolving at a swift pace, even more so during the past year with online learning, it becomes even more important to bring our ideas to the faculty’s attention and advocate for student rights. It might not always be a clear-cut path, and it is not always the perfect result we were expecting, but doing something is always rewarding. All those small victories are worth it and make our lives better. Not everyone is comfortable with public speaking or dealing with authority figures, and that’s OK. However, the more you try, the better you get at it and the easier it becomes. Being involved in the team that works to make your school better, often the student association, means you are not alone in this.  

Through talking with fellow students, I have realized that many people don’t get involved by fear of being late in their schoolwork or not having time for themselves and their family and friends outside of school. In my experience, it’s all about how you go about it. The teams you work with, the people you meet, the fun you have being involved make the school experience so much more enjoyable. By not studying 24/7, when you sit down to do your schoolwork, you are more rested, and your mind can focus on it 100%. However, this is true for any activity you do outside of school! Volunteering in your local organization for the cause that you hold dear can only make you more productive when you get back to your schoolbooks.  

Another way to make sure you do everything on time and not burn yourself out is to embrace having an agenda and keeping it near and updated. This is true for both schoolwork and leisure activities.  

Finally, an important part of being an active part of your student community is knowing your boundaries regarding workload and advocating for yourself. When you need some rest, say so, and the other members of your association will be able to help you out.  

Advocacy at the school level can give you good insight on how to go about advocating for optometry after you graduate. Moreover, advocating for our profession can start right during school with organizations like AOSA and events such as AOA on Capitol Hill. Amazing blog posts on Foresite can give you very good idea if you’re curious about it!   

As much as I am excited to finish optometry school, leaving the student association after all these years is going to create a voidI hope some elements find you and give you a new perspective into school advocacy and self-care, two concepts that sound so opposite but must coexist. We will remember far more the experiences we have, the friends we meet and the goals we accomplish rather than our grades. wholeheartedly encourage you to get involved and make the most of your four years in optometry school.  

Wishing you all an awesome student experience,