Sarah Golfis is president of the Flinders University Optometry Student Association for 2016. She aims to focus on more community projects this year.
By Sarah Golfis
At age three, you would have found me playing in the sandpit in country New South Wales, patched with glasses. My interest in eyes and how they worked developed during many trips to optometrists and ophthalmologists throughout my childhood.
Seventeen years later, I’m studying a Bachelor of Vision Science/Masters in Optometry at Flinders University. I chose Flinders Optometry because of its focus on practical learning, small course intakes and modern facilities.
In my spare time I coach kids’ soccer and work with youth mental health service Headspace as an ambassador, speaking in schools about the importance of prevention and support in mental health.
Now in the third year of my degree, a career in optometry looks challenging but very exciting and rewarding.
The Flinders University Optometry Students Association turns three this year. Being such a new degree at the university and a new student society, we have had to learn some things the hard way; however, the support we have received has been tremendous. FUOSA is run for students, by students.
Over the past few years, there has been a focus on providing social occasions that encourage students to get to know each other outside of the academic setting. Our annual events are in typical university fashion: O’Week BBQs, Welcome Nights, pub crawls and our annual Eye-Ball.
This year, we would like to shift our focus more towards the community.
With a push toward fundraising, we believe, as students, that we will make the greatest change in vision for the future. As a group, we are always looking for engaging and unique fundraising ideas. Our aim is to support programs such as the Close the Gap campaign, fully aware that, although our involvement may not be huge, every little bit counts.
In years to come, I feel confident that we can build on these small beginnings to make a significant contribution to the community and develop a long-lasting legacy.
My advice for first-year students is to cut yourself some slack sometimes, as starting university is a huge shift from secondary school.
I vividly remember frequently stressing over the correct referencing or format of an assignment and thinking about how fast the lecturers move. If you’ve felt these things in your first semester, I promise you are not alone. Take a breath.
Lecturers are happy to answer questions, or ask the person sitting next to you. Cluelessness initially helped me strike up many friendships.
Make sure you join your student society so you can stay in the loop for textbooks, upcoming events and any important announcements. We plan the social calendar around first-years during first semester, with a focus on events that are social and relaxed. It’s an opportunity for our first-years to get to know not only their cohort, but also have an opportunity to meet students in other year levels.
Forging these early connections will allow our fellow students to flourish.