Last weekend Lauren Schneider (Opt I, below) traveled with 18 other OSU optometry students to Charleston, W.V. for a 2-day service trip as part of the RAM Volunteer Corps. While there they provided eye care for nearly 425 underserved patients. Lauren describes the experience below:
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
I believe it is safe to assume that most of us decide on a health professions career path because we enjoy helping others. I think it is an equally safe assumption that we decided on optometry because providing vision and ocular healthcare is of the utmost importance, and we want to change people’s lives one eye exam at a time. Despite our best intentions, it is super easy to lose sight of our “whys” when we spend seemingly endless hours in the classroom during first year. Even though we are gaining valuable knowledge that will help us in the exam lane in time, it can be hard to keep our perspective while studying hard. Luckily, there are some awesome opportunities to help us remember why we are here in the first place. On October 20-21, I attended a Remote Area Medical (RAM) service trip to Charleston, West Virginia. RAM provides medical, dental, vision and veterinary services to underserved and underinsured communities. I joined 4 of my classmates, 14 members of the class of 2020, 6 undergraduate pre-optometry students, and a host of other volunteers to provide comprehensive eye exams to nearly 425 patients! We provided refraction, ocular health assessments using slit lamps, and new glasses made on site. There were 775 patients seen throughout the entire clinic, accessing all the care they needed! This was an amazing opportunity for us to get exposure to all different kinds of people coming from all walks of life with different levels of ocular and systemic health. As a first year, it was also an excellent opportunity to get a taste of clinical pre-testing and procedures before we get to shadow in clinic next semester. This service opportunity reminded me why I chose this profession in the first place and was a great break from the weekly routine of optometry school!