Up for the Challenge

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The best part of winning the first VSP Vision Premier Program Student Business Challenge was that I got to share ideas I’ve had for years about running my own practice, and people liked them—lots of people! Getting to write down the business plan I actually intend to implement one day, present it to a room full of people, and then ultimately win the challenge was one of the proudest experiences of my life.

I knew starting in fifth grade that I wanted to be an optometrist. I always loved science, and I remember thinking the equipment at the optometrist’s office was so cool and the people there were so sweet. When I turned sixteen, I started working for my optometrist, and that’s when I knew it was the profession for me. I loved how involved the practice was with the community and how they treated their patients, and I wanted to help people in the same way.

Getting into optometry school was another proud moment for me. As I start my third year, I must admit it has not been easy! The most challenging part has been balancing my social life with the intense academic workload. As an extrovert, I crave time with the friends I’ve made here, but I know that school comes first. Finding ways to balance the two is key. Whether it’s Frisbee study breaks, volunteering in rural communities with Remote Area Medical (RAM), or getting involved in the school Private Practice club and Student Optometric Leadership Network (SOLN), networking with like-minded students and professionals is important both for my career and my mental health. Through all these activities, I have made connections I can call on for advice, to ask about a job prospect, or just to grab a cup of coffee when I’m in town.

The easiest part of optometry school is that I absolutely love to learn—from my professors, friends, and fellow volunteers out in the field. There’s nothing more educational (or rewarding) than working side by side with skilled optometrists to help people see. And what those experiences don’t cover, you can learn from other avenues like VSP’s new Premier Pathways Business Education track available through Premier Academy360, which addresses some of the business skills not necessarily covered in school (to help put together an “award-winning” business plan!).

I’m excited about my future in private practice optometry—the industry and opportunities to help people continue to grow, and we have so many choices about how we practice. “As Eye See It,” one thing is certain: I will apply that winning business plan to my own practice one day so I can help patients and the community the way my optometrist did.   

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