Hometown: Rock Hill, SC
Name of Undergraduate Institution: University of South Carolina – Columbia
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Major – Biology; Minor – Women and Gender Studies
Name of Optometry School: Kentucky College of Optometry
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”
“No one is you, and that is your power.”
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
I am currently a third-year Optometry Student. I decided to pursue a career in Optometry because I enjoy helping improve patients' quality of life through vision services by diagnosing and treating eye related diseases, performing specific surgical procedures, and providing pre- and post-operative care for eye surgery patients. I currently see patients in a very rural area, encountering many conditions that will lead to blindness and poor quality of life. In large part, this is due to patients inaccessibility to proper eye care and/or distrust of health care providers. These are two areas that I want to work to correct. Additionally, I appreciated the flexibility and freedoms that are associated with Optometry such as flexible work schedules, practice modalities and specific areas of interest.
If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell her?
If I could talk to myself as a college freshman, I would tell her “be confident in everything that you do and do not be afraid of failure, that’s what’s holding you back”.
What is your favorite thing about your optometry school?
My favorite thing about my school is the in-depth training we receive regarding injections and laser procedures to remove lumps/bumps, treat different types of glaucoma and issues that may arise after cataract surgery. Becoming proficient in these additional services will make primary eye care more accessible to the medically underserved rural populations.
What do you do to get through the stressful nature of optometry school?
To get through the stressful nature of optometry school, I stay connected with family, friends and my sorority sisters. I have a really strong support system with them. Additionally, working out also helps me get through. Knowing that I plan to workout at the end of the day helps me prioritize and make the most of my time during the day.
What did you do during the summer before you started optometry school?
I took a year off between undergrad and optometry school. During this year I took a pre-requisite course and worked to save up the money I needed for my class, the application process and to relocate. Taking this time off also helped me mentally recharge before entering such a demanding program. This helped me to be successful with my studies and prevented fatigue/burnout.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughtful answers with us Mia, you are very much appreciated! Optometry is a very unique field and is one that can definitely use some more representation! Vision is something that the vast majority of us take for granted, so it's fantastic to see that you are committed to ensuring great vision care for people! Best of luck to you as you continue your studies!
Posted on March 28th, 2019