Blog Posts

BLOG POST #8: Guide to the Personal Statement

Writing my personal statement was one of the hardest parts of the whole application process for me. Which is saying a lot, considering this process involved taking classes like biochem and the big OAT exam. And I also really, really enjoy writing. But for some unearthly reason, writing the personal statement was a new kind of excruciating and stressful. While I am quite proud of the final product, getting there was no simple process. Here are some things I’ve learned along the way that I would love to share with you all! 

    • Start EARLY. As in, months ahead of when you want to apply, such as in January of the same year. It will likely take much longer than what you might expect. 
    • Okay, now first, brain dump. Just write whatever comes to mind. Don’t even let yourself edit or delete anything. Sometimes I noticed that I would edit myself as I wrote, but the key here is just to let it flow and don’t even look at what you just typed. Just ask yourself and be very very honest about why you really want to do optometry, and then write it down. Try to use stories to show this, as stories are really the meat of what your essay is about.
  • Answer the prompt. Here it is: Please describe what inspires your decision for becoming an optometrist, including your preparation for training in this profession, your aptitude and motivation, the basis for your interest in optometry, and your future career goals. Your essay should be limited to 4500 characters. So you’re going to want to hit on all of these at some point in your essay. That doesn’t mean that each part will have the same amount of space, but you do want to show that you have answered all parts of the prompt. And don’t just give random stories about your life if they don’t come back to the prompt somehow. 
  • Edit, edit, edit. Work on it for a bit, and then put it away for a few days so you can come back to it with fresh eyes. It makes more of a difference than you might think. This is where the starting early part comes in, so you can safely spread out your work. 
    • You don’t need to be a half-blind, glaucoma-curing, 4th generation optometry student extraordinaire. Your story doesn’t have to be anything crazy. In fact, most doctors I talked to about this had pretty similar reasons for choosing optometry, work-life balance being a big one. You should not feel insecure about your reasons, because I know I sure did, and this insecurity spilled over into my essay initially. To be honest, most stories that adcoms will read are quite similar, but what will set yours apart is how you REFLECT on your experiences. 
    • Dr. Gray’s resources. Although geared towards premeds, Dr. Ryan Gray has lots of resources in the form of books and videos about how to  write a PS. I read his book, “The Premed Playbook Guide to the Medical School Personal Statement” when I was having trouble narrowing down what to talk about. My main takeaway was that you should not say why you’ll be a good doctor or explain what a doctor does, but simply just WHY you want to be a doctor. Otherwise, it may come across as sounding like you’re trying to sell something, like you have an agenda, and it’s not a good look for you. It’s literally just why you want to be an optometrist. And also what you want to do as an optometrist in the future. 
    • Get as many eyes on it as possible, but don’t listen to what everyone says. I had 15 people read my PS. This included close family and friends, my advisor, optometrist, and anyone else I could find. I would literally DM random optometry students on Instagram and ask them for feedback on my essay. However, I would only truly make a change in my essay if everyone kept mentioning a certain issue with it, like the sentence structure or the flow of a paragraph. 
    • Be okay with deleting your work. Just because something you wrote is absolutely beautiful and the greatest poetry to ever grace the eyes of the adcoms, that doesn’t mean it will add anything to your essay. You have to be willing to cut out what doesn’t work. You have to be aggressively nitpicky and very deliberate about every single word in there. It’s one of the most important essays of your life, after all. Don’t have random fluff in there. 
  • Have a cohesive story. Make everything tie together nicely, from past to present to future. For example, if vision therapy helped you as a kid, and now you work as a vision therapist part time in college, and you want to do a residency in VT after optometry school, that all makes sense. Keep in mind though that you can make a lot of seemingly random things connect together, you just have to explain your thought process and connect the dots of your story. 

Everyone is going to give you different advice on your personal statement. Everyone is going to offer different edits and have their own opinion about what makes a personal statement good. Which is okay. At the end of the day, you’re going to have to go with what speaks to you the most and stays true to who you are. You have to show what makes you who you are, because your personal statement is also an opportunity for adcoms to get to know you. There’s only so many characters, so it would be impossible to squeeze in all your stories that show who you are. You’re going to have to pick. And no story is perfect, but the guiding principle is that you have to focus on why you want to do optometry. Every word in your essay should come back to that question somehow.

Feel free to reach out to me if you need help editing yours or are looking for resources for help with it! You guys got this. 

BLOG POST #7: Volunteering in the Vision Department of a RAM Clinic

What is RAM?

Eye exams are expensive. Glasses even more so. Especially if you don’t have insurance, live paycheck-to-paycheck, and haven’t seen a doctor in a decade. This is where RAM comes in. 

Remote Area Medical (RAM) is a nonprofit organization that puts on free pop-up clinics in underserved, typically remote rural communities, mostly in the Midwest and Appalachia. There is a shockingly huge and preventable disparity between urban and rural healthcare here in this country, and RAM seeks to address some of this with a mission statement of “prevent[ing] pain and alleviat[ing] suffering by providing free, quality healthcare to those in need.”

At these clinics, anyone can come in and get free healthcare, no ID required and no questions asked. They offer services in vision, dental, medical, and sometimes veterinary. At certain clinics, they also offer other services like haircuts and patient education on nutrition and wellness from local community partners. Made up almost entirely of volunteer doctors and providers, they often serve over a thousand patients and give away hundreds of thousands of dollars in free healthcare over a 3-day weekend. The patient population is primarily composed of the rural, uninsured working class, many of which often may have no other access to healthcare. 

We often think of these types of healthcare service organizations as being international, in the kinds of faraway countries that never quite make it onto travel bucket lists. But there is a need for this even here in our own country. While these places are not remote geographically, they are remote financially. For many, healthcare is unaffordable, and these RAM clinics may just be the only time they get to see a doctor in years. Since it is first-come first-serve, some people even camp out a couple days in advance to make sure they would get treated. It is bewildering that a need for this service even exists in this country, and I find it admirable that so many students and doctors are willing to volunteer their weekends and wake up at 4am just to help people. No organization better encompasses the values of our profession, and it was an honor to be able to help out in whatever capacity I could at several of these clinics. 

My Volunteering Experience

On four occasions thus far, I have had the opportunity to volunteer at a RAM clinic: Columbus, OH in July 2021, Knoxville, TN in February 2022, Cookeville, TN in March 2022, and then again in Ashtabula, OH just two weeks ago in April 2022. On the first one, I signed up on my own as an independent volunteer, but for the next three I traveled with a group of students from the RAM chapter club and the Eyes on Health clubs at OSU. Although you may be able to get a cooler assignment by arriving early and asking for where you want to be, keep in mind that you are there to volunteer and serve first and foremost, and you should generally stick to wherever you are assigned. 

In most of these clinics I was in the vision department, where I got to interact with doctors and local optometry students. One doctor mentioned how it was hard to treat people when you can’t follow up with them. That really is a limitation of these clinics – the lack of follow-up care. Despite this, they are still undoubtedly a net positive for the communities they serve. Without these clinics, some people would have no other way to see a doctor. 

Between the four clinics, I worked the autorefractor machine, and then I also spent a day making glasses in the vision lab. I was responsible for pulling the frames and then reading the prescription with the lensometer. When I was on the autorefractor, I liked to ask patients about when their last eye exam was, purely out of curiosity. I will never forget how the autorefractor spit out a -5.00 reading, and I looked up nervously at the middle-aged patient in front of me, asking if he happened to have glasses with him. I was almost too scared to know the answer. “Never had them,” he answered quietly, my heart dropping in my chest. I quickly replied with something about how “it’s a good thing you’re here today!” and ushered him along to the next station, wondering what exactly would have happened had he, and this clinic, not been there today. 

Glasses are so simple and so effective. Giving someone a new pair of glasses with a power that high can be truly life-changing. Volunteering at the RAM clinic made me feel like I was doing something very meaningful, and reminded me of my six months working at a corporate optometry office with low-income, uninsured patients who often haven’t had an eye exam in years. It felt like I was truly doing a service and making a difference, and I went about my duties with a newfound sense of urgency. It barely felt like it was work at all. 

How to Volunteer

If you want to get involved, I would suggest visiting the RAM website to learn more and sign up as an independent volunteer. Alternatively, since many of these clinics are in different states, I would recommend traveling with a group, such as the RAM club chapter here at Ohio State, or another more optometry-focused undergraduate group, Eyes on Health at OSU. Or, in order to split travel and lodging costs, you could always grab a group of similarly-minded friends and classmates and go by yourselves. 

Please reach out if you have any questions about getting involved!

Elizabeth Svinkin


BLOG POST #6: Applying and Reaching Out!

Let’s set the scene: it’s spring break, the last one before you start applying. You’re at home in your jammies or on a sunny beach somewhere with your laptop, looking at optometry programs, probably going through lists like this one from eyes on eyecare or this one from ASCO. Something catches your eye. You take a second look, and oh, what is that? Something called an OD/MS. And an OD/PhD. What even are those? And how do you know if you should apply? 

Want to get into research? Not sure how to get started? Yet again, the Pre-Optometry Club is here to save the day. As an Ohio State student, you attend one of the best and biggest public research universities, and it is up to you to get involved and make the most of this opportunity. 

I will be going over the process that worked for me and many other neuroscience majors, as guided by our wonderful advisor, Dr. Campbell. 

First, let me preface by saying that research is in no way necessary for optometry school. This isn’t medical school, so please don’t feel pressured to craft an application that matches the, for lack of a better word, intensity of your premed friends. Moreover, the research doesn’t even have to be related to optometry. It’s just something that you can use to gauge if this is something you could potentially be interested in pursuing in your career later on. With that being said, let’s get started:

Where to apply: 

You want to start by finding a position that actually aligns with your interests. It simply will not be worth your time as much and you won’t get as much out of it if you aren’t genuinely interested in it in the first place. So, prioritize the labs that you would actually want to work in. For example, if the thought of handling mice and rats makes you uncomfortable, then do not spend time applying to labs that work with them. 

When to apply: 

For the most part, research generally is year-round, so reaching out about a month or two in advance of when you would want to get started is the ideal time. 

How to apply, step-by-step: 

Do not rely entirely on listservs or the Office of Undergraduate Research listings. Thousands of people look at these, and they are not that updated. Of course, these could work for you, but it is not the most effective way. 

Here’s the key, the secret ingredient and ultimate power move: LOOK AT THE FACULTY PAGES. After all, why not just go straight to the source itself? These are the pages on department websites that look like this for the psychology department, for example. These individuals likely do not have hundreds of students bombarding them with emails, and it gives you a better chance of standing out. 

When you are making your selections, try to pick from different departments, since these people are all colleagues and may talk amongst themselves. If they don’t get back to you within a few weeks, pick another two or three from different departments and try again. According to my advisor, assistant professors and associate professors would be best to contact first, and full professors are generally not the best option since they are less likely to be doing research, but there are definitely exceptions. 

Once you have identified a few researchers, you will want to read some of their work. Go to Pubmed or Google scholar, search them up, and find all their own personal articles. Check out one of their more recent works, something from the last year or two preferably. If they haven’t published in over five years, you may want to find someone else, as this person may no longer be doing research. When looking at an article, keep in mind that first author and last author are the most impressive positions. 

Writing the magic email: 

Don’t just say that you “looked at their website.” Boring! Do not use the words “fascinating” or “interesting” or “intriguing” – that also adds absolutely nothing. Instead, the best way to impress them is just to read their research. This is what will make you stand out. It proves that you are worthy of talking to and that you took the time to read their work. 

You will want to focus on one research article. These may feel intimidating and loaded with jargon, but the key is to just read the last paragraph of the introduction. This is where all the interesting, hyper-concentrated important stuff is. Then, skip the methods, skip the results, and then go straight to the first paragraph of the discussion section. 

Here is a template email you can base yours off of: 

Hello Dr. ____, 

My name is ______, and I am a biology/health sciences/[your major] major (if in honors: “in the honors program”) here at Ohio State. 

I was doing research on __, and came across your more recent paper, “__”. In this paper, you test two hypotheses: [state hypotheses]. “You found that/concluded that _____ ” 

This is an area of research that I am interested in because _____ [state your personal connection]. I was wondering if you would have time to meet with me to discuss your research and any openings or opportunities you might have in your lab for me. If you could send me a few times you are available in the next few weeks, I would do my best to accommodate your busy schedule. I have attached my CV/resume to this email for your reference. I look forward to hearing from you!

Thank you, 

[Your name]

A few more points on this: 

  • Do not say your year in school, do not age yourself. Make them guess, and then leave them impressed by your professionalism when you say you’re a freshman in a future email or meeting. 
  • When asking to set up a meeting, I always like to ask them to send ME their availability; it just feels a little more polite and also simplifies and reduces the number of back-and-forth emails necessary to pick a date and time. 
  • Keep it brief. It shows respect for their time. 
  • Make it as boring as possible, you do not need flowery language or anything extra. 
  • Attach your resume or CV to the email. 

This is just one way that one student got involved. There are many other ways you can get involved, whether it be through personal connections or something outside of Ohio State entirely. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. Many of us on the exec board have somehow been involved with research, and we would love to help you! 

Elizabeth Svinkin

BLOG POST #5: Why Optometry?

Tired of being premed? Creeped out by the insufferable freshmen behind you in your Chem 1210 lecture comparing their scores on the recent recitation activity in the fluorescently-lit ominous cavern that is McPherson 1000? (Yes, even on recitation activities). Feeling prematurely exhausted by the thought of working 90-hour weeks in residency until you’re 30? But you also grew up crying over Derek Shepherd on Grey’s Anatomy and you know you don’t want to change your nifty little health sciences/biology/psychology major again and you still want to do something remotely “doctorly” and maybe not be poor when you’re 45? And maybe you also had a good experience with optometrists growing up so hey, why not check this thing out for real. And then you go shadow or work for a bit and realize that wait this thing is actually Really Really Cool and perfect for me and oh my goodness how did I not find this sooner. Congrats, you just found optometry. We are so glad you’re here. 

In all seriousness though, optometry is a marvelous profession, and we all arrive here a little differently. So if you’re in the all-too-common situation I described above, read on for a few more reasons why you should make The Switch. 

1) Immediate gratification of helping people see. 

With quite literally a flick of the wrist (or phoropter lol), you can significantly improve the quality of someone’s life. What a rush of power. And unlike in something such as physical therapy or some fields of medicine, you usually get to see those tangible results immediately. 

Moreover, you are truly changing lives and making a difference every single day – and this is speaking from personal experience on the patient side of things. Getting contacts in high school significantly improved my own confidence and quality of life. For the first time ever, I could run my cross country races without my glasses constantly fogging over from the humidity or rain. I could finally see my face in the mirror without glasses, an experience that still slightly bewilders me every day. Beyond better vision though, I noticed that people looked at me differently. I felt like a whole different person, and I started acting like it too. I started raising my hand more in class, and overall became more social and outgoing. Contacts played a big part in this transformation, and as a result, I have only positive feelings towards the power of contacts and the field of optometry in general. 

2) Excellent work-life balance.

Optometry offers consistent and regular work hours, leaving you time for family and hobbies outside of work. There are no night shifts, very few emergencies, and generally very good hours that you often have control over. This leaves room for a lifestyle that is perfect for women (and men) who want to have a family. In a group private practice for example, it is feasible to drop down to part-time when you have kids and set your own hours. Interestingly, our exec board this year (2021-22) is all women, as is the majority of the club. And while a one-year residency is optional, compared to other health professions, optometry also has significantly fewer years of schooling, so you can start making some real grown-up money sooner. Also, the clinical setting is pretty clean, low-stress, and predictable. Perfect for people who thrive on that kind of structure and routine and like knowing what to expect every day. Really, it’s quite hard – if not impossible – to find this combination of meaningful patient interaction and work-life balance elsewhere. Optometry is truly special in that way. 

In short, do not be a martyr. Do not feel the need to sacrifice every other passion and arena of your life for the sake of your career. Optometry is forgiving. It gives you that breathing room. 

3) Different modes of practice and opportunities

Not every optometrist practices the same way. There are many different subfields within optometry, and usually with a residency, you can choose to dedicate your practice to areas such as low vision, contact lenses, vision therapy, pediatrics, and ocular disease. There is also a good mix of different settings you can practice in, such as the VA, solo or group private practice, OD/MD, and corporate. You can focus on the business side of running a practice, or you can alternatively hire someone to run your business for you. 

Moreover, you can also mix up your daily schedule by getting involved in your local Optometric Association. This organization advocates for the profession in your state and offers resources for doctors. For example, in Ohio you can be a Realeyes Education Program presenter and help teach kids in your community about eye health and safety and the importance of regular eye exams. Pretty cool stuff, if I do say so myself. 

4) Eyes are cool. 

The visual system is incredibly elegant and complex, and eyes tell you a lot about the overall health of a person. They can often contain the first symptoms of diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and brain tumors. They are also the only organ in the body where you can directly look at the blood vessels non-invasively. Vision is possibly the most important sense, with over half of the brain dedicated to visual processing, and I feel that eyes are generally just under appreciated. 

5) Patient interaction.

At the practice I worked at last summer, I saw the records of patients who had been coming for over thirty years. Thirty years. And this wasn’t just a handful of patients; rather, it was actually a decent proportion of the practice’s patient base. It would be nothing less than an honor to be able to form relationships like this over the years and watch families grow up. 

Besides the individual-level interactions, optometrists can also volunteer with free clinics or international mission trips through organizations such as VOSH or RAM. I have volunteered in the vision department at a couple of RAM clinics, and it was an incredible experience to get to see so many doctors and students volunteer their time and services to help those in underserved areas get free healthcare. It is important to give back, and I have seen firsthand how optometrists uphold this value. 

So yeah. Optometry is more than just 1 or 2. Give it a real good long think – go hang out with your local optometrist for a few days, maybe work in the field, and ask a lot of questions. Give it a chance. 

Who knows, this could be just your thing too. 

BLOG POST #4: Scheduling Prerequisites

Ah, it’s that time of year again. No, not football season. I’m talking about something even better. That’s right, SCHEDULING TIME. As you peruse the list of options on Schedule Planner and try to figure out the perfect combination of classes to make up your Tuesday afternoons four months from now, you may be wondering what exactly it is you need for optometry school. Well, you think, definitely some chem and bio, right? And you heard somewhere that some schools like a good anatomy class, so let’s put that one down too just in case. Oh, and your premed friends are taking biochem, so I should probably do that one too

Oh goodness. No no no, my dear fellow future OD. We want to be more strategic about this. You deserve to have the perfect 4-year plan that fits you and your unique optometry school goals, and we have the perfect tool to help you with that: 

There it is, friends. Just click the link above and it will take you to a chart of every school’s specific prereqs. If you already have an idea of which schools you would like to apply to, this lovely little list will be perfect for figuring out which classes you need to have. There is a new chart published every year by ASCO, or the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, so make sure to use the most updated one you can find out there for your year.

As for us OSU students, make sure to check out the OSU admissions requirements page for which specific classes would work for us: 

As always, do not hesitate to reach out to me or any of our other exec board members if you have any questions about scheduling, eyeballs, best places to eat on campus, or anything in between. 

Elizabeth Svinkin

BLOG POST #3: Questions to Ask While Shadowing

Questions to Ask While Shadowing:

You did it! After a dizzying number of phone calls and back-and-forths with receptionists, you finally managed to arrange a day of shadowing with the super cool doctor down the block. Congrats, my fellow future O.D. Go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back, because you just got the hardest part out of the way. 

But oh, not sure what you’ll talk about? Worried that you’ll end up perched on the edge of the chair in the corner of the exam room, hands clasped together, a cold sweat running down your back and a nervous smile plastered under your mask, suffering through the awkward silence as the patient stares at you quizzically? We’ve all been there – well, at least I have. And it sucks, truly. But fear not, my fellow future O.D. We have got you covered. 

What follows is a nice list of questions and topics to get you started. Feel free to modify them as they fit your own style of speech, and don’t be afraid to go wherever the conversation takes you! 

General and personal history: 

  • Why optometry? 
  • Any optometrists in your family?
  • Where did you go to undergrad? 
  • What do you like and dislike about your job? What’s the most rewarding part? What’s not so great about it? (many will say insurance for the latter question)
  • Would you do optometry if you had to choose all over again? 
  • What kind of personality traits do you think an optometrist should have? 
  • How did you choose this mode of practice? 
  • Do you ever feel bored or stressed during the day?
  • Tell me more about the work-life balance.
  • Do you ever take your work home with you? 

Optometry as a profession:

  • Do you think pursuing a residency is a good idea? If you were looking to hire another doctor, would you be looking for someone with residency training?
  • Why is optometry so regulated and affected by politics? 
  • How do Ohio laws compare to the laws in other states? 
  • Where do you see optometry heading in the next 20 years as a profession? 
  • Do you think technology could ever advance to the point where optometrists become obsolete?
  • The female:male ratio in optometry schools today is 70:30. Why do you think so many women are joining the profession? 
  • What are some of the differences between optometry and ophthalmology?
  • Are you involved in any professional associations or volunteer groups? 

Optometry school:

  • What do you think made you stand out to optometry school admissions people? 
  • How did you decide where to go to optometry school? 
  • What is the most important thing you should consider when choosing a school? 
  • What was optometry school like? What was the most challenging part?
  • How was the transition from undergrad to optometry school? 
  • What did you not learn in optometry school that you wish you did?
  • Do you still keep in touch with your former classmates? 
  • How long did it take you to pay off your student loans?/How are you doing on your student loans?
  • What advice do you have for me? Anything you wish you would have known or done differently? 

You can also ask about the patient you are with, about the instruments they use and the tests they do, and the decisions they make, such as why they might choose to prescribe one brand of contacts over another. Go with the flow of the conversation, be genuinely curious, and ask what you actually want to know. Don’t overthink it, just try to get to know the doctor and the profession a little more! It could also be helpful to bring a notebook to write down all the wonderful new information you learn. 

It can be scary at first. I get that. But don’t forget that every optometrist has had to do this at one point, and the fact that they agreed to let you shadow them means they like their job and are happy to help out the youngins. Just remember that you will inevitably get more comfortable with this, and don’t stop putting yourself out there until you get out of this everything that you want. 

Best of luck!! 

Elizabeth Svinkin

BLOG POST #2: Job Shadowing

How-to Guide to In-Person Shadowing

Ah, shadowing. Sounds somewhat Peter Pan-esque, no? And maybe just as terrifying. Well, fear not, my fellow future optometrist! That is what we are here for at Pre-Optometry club. 

  1. Target smaller private practices. They are simply less likely than a hospital setting to care about COVID and other shadowing regulations – unfortunate, but true. Also try more rural offices, in nearby small towns like Delaware, Granville, Johnstown, etc. I feel like they are also less likely to get more students interested compared to, say, Nationwide Children’s downtown here or Wexner here on campus.
  2. Go to the schools themselves. Ask the admissions office of a prospective school to help you connect with doctors. Tell them you are interested in a super specific specialty (for me, I said vision therapy and pediatrics), and then emphasize how you would love to talk to an alum of that specific optometry school about their experience.
  3. Introducing yourself. When you call, say: “Hi, my name is ____, and I’m a pre-optometry student at OSU. I was wondering if I could talk to the doctor about shadowing them for at least a day?” Keep it short and sweet. As someone who has worked as a receptionist in an optometry office and was once on the receiving end of one of these calls, it is all about your tone. We can smell your fear. You must sound strong and confident – that is key. And then the receptionist will say something like, “oh, they’re with a patient right now but let me take your name and number and I’ll have them give you a call back.” And then 90% never will. So after a week, you call back and ask again. Prepare to be rejected. And that is okay. It’s not a big deal. Just go call someone else.
  4. Call, call, call. It’s seriously just a numbers game. That’s it. Call EVERY SINGLE OFFICE, starting with the more interesting looking ones, and then go from there. I kept a spreadsheet of all the places I contacted. It was so satisfying to be able to fill in the boxes as green for yes, gray for no, and yellow for in progress. 
    1. The first few calls you make may be terrifying, but it will undoubtedly get easier with practice. Email may sometimes work too, but calling just seems more professional and personable. It is harder to say no to a real, breathing person on the other end of the line than a few words on a screen. 

Other tips: 

Try to get a variety of different settings and modes of practice. Everyone practices a little differently, and it has been absolutely delightful to witness how doctors’ unique personalities and backgrounds all contribute to how they interact with patients and go about their day. I shadowed at a corporate office, several solo-owned private practices, and a couple of group practices as well. I also hit up a VA, two vision therapy centers, and a cataract and LASIK surgery center with an OD/MD type of arrangement. 

Take notes on everything. If you don’t feel comfortable carrying a little notebook with you, make sure to brain-dump all of your impressions and experiences the moment you get home.

Select the first few places you shadow wisely, since that is where your first impression will be made. Of course, while it’s good to shadow highly-rated, successful practices, it can be just as valuable to see how a not-so-great practice is run. 

When choosing practices, pay attention to the hours they are open. I have noticed an interesting trend: the longer the hours, the less successful the practice. A place with longer, weirder hours tends to have to work harder to get patients, but if a doctor is in higher demand, they can have more regular hours and fit people into their schedule however they want to. Also, make sure to check out the website, see how up to date it is. Although you can’t always judge a book by its cover or a frame by its brand or a physician by their website, it is generally a good indicator of how many resources and interest the doctor has in keeping up with the times. If a doctor won’t even update their website, why would they bother updating their technology or keep up with the latest research? 

Remember: You are smart and deserving of shadowing at every single one of these places. As with anything else, the way you view yourself is how other people learn to see you and treat you, so put yourself out there and present yourself as the capable and confident future doctor that you are. Keep your eyes on the prize (pun definitely intended) and be aggressive about chasing down these opportunities until every doctor in this town knows your name. 

Good luck, my fellow future optometrist! Shadowing is one of the easiest ways to boost your application, and setting it up is often the hardest part. Do not hesitate to reach out to me or any of our other wonderful exec board members if you have any questions! 

Elizabeth Svinkin

BLOG POST #1: An Introduction


An Introduction

Hello my fellow OSU Pre-optometry students! Welcome to our first ever, absolutely wonderful Pre-Optometry blog. I am so glad you are here. 

As many of you may have noticed, there is a shocking dearth of resources for us pre-optometry students out there. Even our advisors aren’t quite sure what to do with us. Kind of premed, kind of not? Here we are, a motley of STEM majors with a peculiar fascination with eyeballs, each living our journeys in parallel. A dangerous combination, simply teeming with possibilities…

Biweekly we convene in the basement of Fry and glean what we can from our speakers, trying to piece together for ourselves if this faraway, magical little school is the place we’re meant to be. We chit-chat amongst ourselves and munch on some yummy snacks, a nervous excitement permeating the air. How do you study for the OAT? What if I have to retake it? 

We are here for each other and lift each other up. That’s what it’s all about, really. We turn on our inner retinoscopes and spread the light to each other, hoping to provide some inSIGHT (pun intended) into the hazy, seemingly subjective ambiguities of the application process. 

And here’s where this blog comes in: we want to provide a centralized location for frequently asked questions and common concerns, a resource everyone in this club can turn to for reference. After a year of eerie little Zoom boxes and lonely webinars, there is no better time for a forum to connect, reflect, and celebrate one another. 

So here it is: a collection of interesting tidbits, useful advice, and CORNEA eye puns. All students on The Great Pre-Optometry Journey are invited to contribute. Eyeballs don’t discriminate. Everyone has something marvelous to add. 

I (EYE lol) can’t wait to see where this goes.