Success: A New Graduate's Perspective

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If you had asked me during optometry school how I defined success, I would have answered, “It’s a practice with my name on the door.” Today, just one year post-graduation and three months after joining an established practice, I would answer that question much differently.

I always wanted to pursue private practice optometry. Being an independent person who likes to change things up, I was attracted to the flexibility of owning my own practice. My interest deepened in optometry school when I became heavily involved in private practice clubs and SOLutioN (SOLN), the Student Optometric Leadership Network. Being surrounded by like-minded people just as passionate and motivated about private practice optometry fueled an insatiable desire to pursue this path and to stay active and involved in the profession.

As graduation approached, my timeline for opening a practice became more fluid. It was less important to have my name on the door right away, and more important to find a place where I would be happy and feel good about the work I was doing. I researched established practices where I would be a good fit culturally and landed here at Clarity Vision Apex. I couldn’t be happier! I still want to own a practice one day, but I think I’m setting myself up for much more success if I take a little extra time. Plus, there are a lot of aspects to private practice that they don’t teach you in school, so I value the education I’m getting alongside established and supportive ODs and staff.

This support is critical to ODs starting out. Through my industry involvement, school, and now professionally, I have developed so many relationships with people in the business—people I can ask questions, bounce ideas off. VSP Global has been an invaluable partner, starting in optometry school when they made it possible for me to attend industry conferences and build relationships with the mentors I still call on. The VSP Global Premier Program has literally kept my patient schedule booked since my first week. Expecting a slow ramp-up, I was surprised to have a full schedule almost from day one. The staff explained that we are a Premier Program practice, and the Premier banner helps us stand out when people search for doctors in our area. Plus, patients like the additional benefits they get from Premier Program practices like ours.

Today, I define success as wanting to hop out of bed and come to work—which I do. I’m excited about optometry and the future. The field is changing and evolving so quickly—optometry students right now are learning procedures that I didn’t even learn, and I’ve only been out for a year. As I see it, change and the unknown in any field can be scary. Some will resist it. I plan to get ahead of it and shape it for myself and for our profession.

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