First year bloggers!

What are the first couple of weeks of optometry school like? Check out our newest student bloggers–as well as Opt II, III and IV bloggers–at!

(Left to right): Joan, Emily and Araba are in their fourth week of classes.

Q&A with SVOSH trip participant


This summer, the OSU College of Optometry sent a team of students from its SVOSH club to southern Ghana. SVOSH is the student chapter of VOSH (Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity), which provides eye care to underserved populations internationally. This year the group of 14 students and 3 doctors volunteered at St. Theresa’s Eye Hospital in Akim Akroso, Ghana for one week.

Sean Cushman (’21) introduces himself and answers some questions below:

My name is Sean Cushman, and I am a current second year student. I did my undergraduate education at Hope College in Holland, MI. I am interested in private practice and hope to [focus in] ocular disease. I am very passionate about mission/service trips having been on several in the past and am one of the co-president elects of SVOSH. I also enjoy rock climbing, hiking, and guitar.

How did you get involved with SVOSH?

Missions/service trips are one of my biggest passions, so I knew I wanted to get involved with SVOSH coming in. I attended the first meeting of the year to learn how I could get my volunteer hours sorting glasses and took off from there.

How did you prepare for the trip?

In order for a student to go on their first SVOSH trip, they must complete 65 hours of volunteer hours for the club. I completed my hours first semester and continued my involvement second semester. I was elected one of the co-president elects as well. During the summer, we had a few meetings to learn about what we would be doing on the trip and the area. There was also a big packing party to pack all the glasses, drops, and equipment that we brought.

What did a typical day look like?

Our usual day started with us eating breakfast from around 6-7am. We would then wait for our bus which usually left much later than we were supposed to. Our group split in half for clinic, each group going to a different village each day. We set up clinic in different churches or pavilions and started seeing patients mid-morning. We then saw patients until about 5 or 6 pm seeing about 100 patients per day. At night, we did grand rounds with the doctors going over some of the interesting cases from the day.

What kinds of problems did patients present with, and what kinds of services could you offer them?

We saw lots of severe cataracts and glaucoma. We were able to refer the cataract patients for surgery with the head of ophthalmology at OSU who came with a team the week after we left. We also were able to give some drops to try to help the glaucoma patients. We also gave drops for patients dealing with dry eyes or irritation. Some of the [less common diseases] we saw were toxoplasmosis, Burkitt’s lymphoma, sarcoidosis, bullous keratopathy, thyroid eye disease, sickle cell retinopathy, and retinitis pigmentosa.

How did the trip change how you think about optometry?

It taught me how valuable optometry is for a person’s overall health. Through the work and different systemic diagnoses we made on this trip, it showed me how big of an impact we can have on a person’s life, not just abroad but in our everyday practice. We not only save vision but have the potential to save lives as well.

How can incoming OSU students get involved?

If you want to get involved, come to our first meeting of the year to learn more about the club, how you can volunteer, and to get your name on the mailing list. It is super easy to get involved and anyone is welcome to join.


Answering admissions questions

We ❤️ answering your admissions questions! Today, Justin Griest talks testing, giving the scoop on the OAT. #OSUopt #optometry #optometrystudents

How to find a pre-optometry club at your undergraduate institution

Shawn Gilbert, assistant director of admissions, loves answering questions about the #OSUopt process. In this video, he talks about how to find a pre-optometry club at your undergraduate institution.

In-Sight into the Class of 2021!

Welcome Prospective OSU Optometry Students!

The following series of questions answered by members of the Class of 2021 provides some insight about what it is like to be a First Year Optometry Student:

  1. What is it like to live in Columbus, OH?

Living in Columbus is a lot of fun! There are people all around the city and it is full of plenty activities and events so there’s always something to do on the weekends and even during the week. At the start of the semester, it was extremely overwhelming to be here because my hometown is much smaller and slower in comparison to Columbus. But I have learned to appreciate the hustle-and-bustle of Columbus; simply embracing the busy moments. My friends have been fantastic as it relates to helping me acclimate into the city! Many of my classmates are open to traveling and exploring together. They definitely help make me feel like I’m not making this transition alone. And lastly, I love the immense diversity of the city and how wonderful the food is!

Audree Davis-Bass

  1. Is professional school a lot different than you expected from undergraduate?

With Optometry school being more professional/clinical based material, it’s much more enjoyable than undergraduate school because we get to actually learn material that is directly meaningful to us. It’s also comforting and motivational to have all your classmates sharing similar desires and goals so I feel more connected with my classmates than I did during undergraduate school. After finishing up the first round of midterms, I realized that professional school requires a different approach to the material because the professor’s expectations are higher for us to master the material. All the material we learn in Optometry school has to be memorized and applied to real world clinical actions, while in undergraduate school the professors didn’t expect that much of us. So unfortunately, there is no brain dumping after the tests!

Ethar Arkan

  1. What made you pick OSU for Optometry school?

I chose OSU because it was the best school for me! It has a very established program (over 100 years old) so they have been educating excellent optometrists for a long time and their board pass rates prove the success of the program. What comes with such an established program is a world renowned faculty! OSU professors have multiple advanced degrees in research, decades of experience, and are experts in the field of optometry. I knew choosing OSU would give me the best education and surround me with the best professors to help make me the best clinician I can be. In addition to OSU being a great school, Columbus is a cool city that has a true college town feel! So if you want to experience the Buckeye nation and be apart of a fantastic alumni network, then you should definitely choose OSU.

Josh Curtisi

  1. What is it like to live in a house full of Optometry students (i.e Eye House)?

Being able to live at the EYE House (Epsilon Psi Epsilon) has been extremely rewarding!  It has given me such a special opportunity to be able to look across the hall and ask any classmates or the upper class for help with questions about school or just to hang out and take a break from studying. We are a family at the OSU College of Optometry and, because I get to live in the EYE house, I have been able to learn more about not only my classmates but the upper class man too. Being able to live with other optometry students has definitely enhanced my experience at OSU and given me a unique perspective on how to conduct myself while being apart of the OSU Optometry family.

Auston Hood

  1. What is like having family and balancing professional school?

This is a great question, and was something I was curious about prior to starting school.  I graduated from undergrad a few years ago, and have since gotten married and had a baby – who is now a toddler. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect entering Optometry School, but I’ll share what I have experienced so far.  Being an Optometry student is a lot of work – with or without a busy life outside of school.  There is a lot of material coming quickly, and it takes time and work to keep up!  Physically being in class takes up a majority of the day, so studying really has to happen “after hours,” which is where the school/family balance gets tricky.

For me, the end of the school day meant the start of the mom/wife evening.  So far, I have tried little things like running necessary errands as a family, and finding ways to involve the whole family in chores at home to maximize my time spent away from studying.  The other thing that has been an adjustment is the way that I study.  Being a mom and a wife means I don’t get too much time on my own, so sometimes studying has to happen while my daughter is watching a cartoon or while we’re upstairs in the playroom.  I’ve even started listening to audio flash cards while folding laundry and driving to school.  There have been plenty of times that I’ve had to stay up after my husband and daughter have gone to bed for the night, or wake up a couple hours before they do in the morning to squeeze in some extra study time; and sometimes I fall asleep and miss out on the extra study time.  The other aspect of having a family while being in school is I haven’t had the flexibility to be very involved in student organizations.  There are many that meet after school, and some that meet over lunch, which hasn’t worked into my schedule very well right now, but will hopefully be an option in the future.

There is a great advantage, however, about having a family and balancing professional school.  Whenever I’m feeling stressed about exams, or excited about something I’ve learned, my husband and daughter are there, cheering me on, every step of the way.  Having a family and balancing professional school is an adjustment, and I’m still learning, but the rewards are so great I wouldn’t have it any other way.  This is a journey for all of us, and I’m so grateful I can make my way through with my husband and daughter along side me!

Lisa Reyes


Genuine first impressions of the #OSUopt experience

Kirsten and Audree, members of our Class of 2021, share first impressions of optometry school in this short Instagram video.

Optometry Ambassadors Highlights: The Professional School Orchestra

          The goal of the Ambassador’s program is to make incoming and prospective students aware of all the opportunities we have to offer here at The Ohio State College of Optometry. We pride ourselves in community and fostering that work/life/school balance. Excelling in academics to become the best Optometrists we can be is obviously paramount, but as students, we all know far too well how easy it can be to get burnt out, over-worked and to miss out on the fun in life – that’s where student organizations come in! Student organizations offer multiple ways to get involved, connect with other students and to find or rekindle new/old passions that give life more meaning and purpose.

        Once such club that we would like to highlight for the month of February is the Professional School Orchestra. Among the masses of lost musicians in the graduate programs, the Professional School Orchestra provides a creative outlet to practice and enjoy playing music once again. For many students, trumpets, violins, and saxophones –many of which untouched since middle school- are dusted off by the organization’s 30+ members every week to practice in Meiling Hall.

              What was once known as “The Medical School Orchestra,” now has rebranded to become more inclusive to the various graduate-professional colleges of Ohio State including nursing, law, pharmacy, dentistry, optometry, medicine, and veterinary medicine. Not only do students have the opportunity to continue experiencing and performing their unique musical talents, orchestra allows Optometry students to connect and network with other professional students.

              So if you are a student looking to blow off steam once a week by distracting yourself from studying and practicing or you just simply enjoy playing theme music and have always wanted to play the Pokémon theme song on the trombone…whatever the reason for joining, PSO allows for professional students to connect and network with peers while simultaneously making music.

              Students are welcomed to join regardless of their performance experience and musical abilities. For more info check out PSO on social media at:

New Year, New Post, New Housing

Happy New Year from your Ohio State University College of Optometry Student Ambassadors’ Team!
Our New Year’s Resolution for 2017? Blog more.
That said, this post is brought to you by holiday spirit, untempered motivation, and the excitement of a new semester – enjoy!

So, you love The Ohio State University College of Optometry (because what isn’t to love about a top-ranked school in a beautiful city). When you visit campus, you can picture yourself as a student – sitting in Room 22, eating lunch outside the nearby Panera, studying in the Health Sciences Library. You’ve submitted your application. You’ve attended your interview. You may have even been accepted. Everything is perfect.

Well, almost everything. The problem? You still don’t know where to live, who to room with, or how to even begin the process of answering these questions.

Moving to someplace new, whether it be down the road, into the city, or halfway across the country, can be difficult. And the three most important aspects to consider when moving? Location, location, location… at least, that’s what some expert at some point in history said.

But what location do you want? Do you want to stay near the school? Be near the best food? Be near the best happy hour? Are you looking for an apartment or a house? Roommate or no roommate? Some money or less money? (Let’s be honest, we are in grad school…) Thankfully, whether you are new the city or simply searching for a new spot, Columbus has something to offer for everyone.

The four neighborhoods most commonly inhabited by optometry students tend to be South Campus, Victorian Village, Short North, and Grandview. These all provide easy walking distances or the availability of public transportation to the school. South Campus, though more undergraduate-saturated than the other neighborhoods, offers easy access not only to the school, but also to the library, main campus, and the gym. Victorian Village and the Short North, on the other hand, cater more to those looking to explore Columbus outside of class. Coffee shops, study spots, food, art galleries, and breweries are just a few of the many attractions in these areas, and so, become the home of many young professionals and graduate students. Last, but not least, Grandview is a great neighborhood with the greatest opportunity for apartment living. Here you will find a wide variety residents ranging from students, to young professionals, to young families, to retirees – all of which come together to create a fun and convenient location to live.

To aid with the house hunting experience, here are a combination of websites to help filter out the undesirable and unaffordable locations based on personal preferences. As you begin your search, remember: Research is your friend. Set up an appointment to look at the property before signing the lease. Properties can go quickly and new properties are listed daily, so keep your eyes open!
*Shout out to Ambassador Megan Hurley for her contributions to this section!

Despite the draws of living in one of the typical neighborhoods, the challenges of braving the Columbus housing market is admittedly not for everyone, and so, a few individuals from each year choose to relive the glory days of undergraduate Greek life by living in our own EYE House. This is a unique opportunity available to 16 Opt-1 through Opt-4 students who choose to join Epsilon Psi Epsilon, Ohio State’s Optical Fraternity (which is, fun fact, the only one in the nation). The Top 7 Perks of EYE House Living are as follows:

1. Living with upperclassmen. You have questions? They have answers.

2. Easy access to all meetings, tailgates, and parties (and never worrying about driving home afterwards…) This is a win-win whether you’re an extrovert who wants to be around for every second of the action, or an introvert who needs to be able to come and go freely as the mood dictates.

3. People. With the possibility of 15 housemates, it’s pretty much impossible to go to class on the first day of school and not know anyone. Which can, admittedly, be very comforting when you’re hours away from all your family and friends.

4. Free food. From the surplus of family gatherings, to whatever that one house manager bakes when she should be studying, to the leftovers from practically every optometry related meeting, finding food is not *normally* a problem.

5. Within walking distance (aka under 1.5 miles) of the school. Want to burn some extra calories (from all the free food just mentioned)? Need a way to wake up before class when coffee is out of your budget? We’ve got you covered.

6. Cheap rent. Along the lines of $425/month – all utilities included.

7. Free parking.

*Note: For those interested in potentially living in the house who have yet to interview, come stay with us! The EYE House Guest Room provides an excellent preview of EYE House living and is open to interviewing students.

Though a decent majority of students choose to live around campus, commuting is also a very viable option, especially for those who are married or have family within driving distance. Opt-II Ambassador, Hannah Davidson, is one such commuter who agreed to share a bit of her story, along with some tips on how to make the commute work for you.

I commute an hour each way every day. That may sound insane, but I’m married and had the opportunity to live rent free – how could I pass it up?! If you are considering commuting, but are worried about it, don’t be! I am still able to participate in social activities, and have plenty of time to study. It takes a little more careful planning when it comes to your schedule, but it’s totally doable. For those commuting, here are a couple of tips.

Come early. You’ll get a better parking spot, miss most of the traffic, and can actually got a lot of studying done before classes even start.

Make friends with a spare couch. Within weeks, once people found out how far I commute, tons of people offered to let me stay if I needed to. This is a great option for nights with late meetings, parties, or bad weather.

Finding housing in a new area can definitely be a challenge, but hopefully the tips from our contributing authors (thanks Megan and Hannah!) will help you decide on the best location for you. Feel free to email to contact Megan, Hannah, or the EYE House Managers (Carolyn Chakuroff and Hannah Vollmer) with any other questions you may have.

Happy Hunting!

– The Ambassadors

Fall at OSU College of Optometry

While most of the country is celebrating cooler weather, pumpkin spiced lattes (let’s be real, pumpkin spiced everything), here at The Ohio State we are celebrating Football season! Nothing is more exciting or memorable than your first OSU tailgate and football game when you’re a student at The Ohio State College of Optometry. Maybe you went to a big school for your undergrad and can kind of relate, maybe you attended a smaller school and you’re still trying to figure out what’s the big deal with football. Regardless, when it’s at fall at The Ohio State, you are in for a treat! The OSU Optometry Ambassadors interviewed a few optometry students and asked them to recollect on their favorite fall tailgate/OSU football game memories from past years and here’s what they said:

“My favorite fall memory is actually a very recent one. I have been out on my fourth year rotations since May and haven’t seen many of my friends since then. But recently I was able to come back to Columbus for an EYE tailgate and Buckeye football game! Being reunited with some of my favorites put the biggest smile on my face! When we first came to OSUCO, Dean Zadnik told us about the optometry family and I truly felt how real that is when I came back to see everyone. I hadn’t just been missing my friends but my family. I’m so lucky to be a part of the OSUCO family, I can’t imagine my life without the friends I’ve made during my time at OSU. Go Bucks!” – Opt 4 Sara Hitchman

“There is nothing quite like a tailgate at the EYE house. Whether you’re munching on a burger, playing stump in the front yard, or taking a break from studying, it’s always a good time! One of my favorite memories from an EYE tailgate was from my first year of school. It was before a later afternoon game, Michigan was playing Michigan State, and the game was coming down to the wire. There were a ton of us crowded around the TV with our eyes glued to the screen, hoping for a Michigan loss, of course. One of the then Opt2s had done his undergrad at Michigan State and he was in a very large state of anxiety. Watching him freak out over the game was enough to make my whole day! But then, Michigan State blocked a punt and ran the ball back for a touchdown. I have never seen one person so excited about a football game. He was running around and everyone else was cheering and hollering and it was just such a moment of sheer happiness that I will never forget. Those moments of camaraderie and simply being with your fellow colleagues are like nothing else. I wouldn’t trade them for the world!” – Opt 2 Kaitlyn McBride

If we haven’t got you excited about Football season at Ohio State, I hope we’ve at least got you excited about our EYE tailgates! One of the best things about Ohio State Optometry is the friendly and family feel we all bring to the table and the EYE tailgates are no exception. If you’re ever in the area, feel free to stop by and visit! You’ll find lots of fun and maybe even a few Alumni or professors interacting with students and enjoying the festivities that come with the territory of Ohio State Football.

While orange and pumpkin spice may be nice, we like to stick to our roots here at Ohio State with our scarlet and grey. Hope to see you at our Visit Day on October 15th!


The Ambassadors



T-Shirt Vote!

Hey everyone!

Optometry Ambassadors is running a t-shirt sale this year! Below are three potential designs we are considering. Please visit the survey monkey link below to vote for your favorite!!

Also, the designs are all shown on tank tops, but we are going to sell them as t-shirts and long sleeve shirts as well!

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