By Dean Milner
Optometrist, Riverina NSW
I share with you here some of the most important lessons I learned during my optometry course because they may help you in your own pursuits.
My professor used to advise:
* Identify your weak points and work on them.
* Always self-assess where you are.
* Use your classmates to study, do practice exams and mock consultations. They are the single best resource to help you maintain your sanity and are a great way to gauge where you’re at.
Remember, professors, lecturers, practical instructors and tutors are all your best friends. They want you to succeed. You are also paying a lot for their tuition so use them.
Ask your instructors questions, seek their advice and ask them to watch you perform a mock consultation. They have done it before and understand how stressful it is the first time you perform a retinoscopy under test conditions.
By gaining honest feedback about your performance, you will learn so much. As the saying goes: ‘You don’t know what you don’t know’. Practise like you want to perform and when the time comes, it will be a breeze.
Optometry has a reasonably heavy workload. Studying simply comes down to good old-fashioned work. Eliminate distractions. Close iTunes and Facebook, turn off the latest episode of Game of Thrones and find a quiet place away from housemates to study.
Work life balance
You will hear this gem often: ‘Work-life balance is very important not only to your optometry degree but also to managing the rest of your life,’ so commit now to finding your balance.
You will want to hang out with friends and family, work, party, travel, see a show, a gig, sporting events and so on. Work out what works for you and if it doesn’t work, change it.
Enjoy everything uni and optometry have to offer. You will come away with life-long friendships with your soon-to-be colleagues and those ‘hard ass’ lecturers will ultimately become great friends who you’ll see at conferences and have a laugh with.