Anne-Marie Jayatilake is president of the Deakin University Optometry Student Society for 2016. She says students need a work/life balance and embrace their individual growth.
By Anne-Marie Jayatilake
Being a health professional interested me from a young age.
The role of any health professional is highly significant and we have the ability to aid others to achieve the best possible outcome and a better quality of life. I was constantly questioning how I could fulfil my goal to help others be better than they already were.
I am a third-year Bachelors of Vision Science/Masters of Optometry student, with the hopes of completion in June 2017. Alongside studying, I am working part-time at Sanctuary Lakes/Point Cook Eyecare.
When my time isn’t occupied with studying or working, I can be found enjoying a solid book or on the hunt for the best brunches in Melbourne.
I chose optometry specifically because of the brilliant employment prospects within Australia and my fascination with the study of the eye itself. Two years later, I would never have anticipated loving the entire learning process this much. I’ve encountered various challenges along the way and this has not only enabled growth of my character and knowledge, but has also increased my appreciation for the eye and the role of research in the health field.
At the completion of my secondary education, the combined Bachelors/Masters course was relatively new.
The university is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, which includes our very own dispensing workshop. Coupled with its location and appealing features of the course, Deakin University was undoubtedly my first preference.
As president of Deakin Optometry Student Society, I intend to create a safe and fun space where students across all year levels can interact and enjoy events that have scope beyond the academic curriculum.
In contrast to the optometry student societies across Australia and New Zealand, DOSS is relatively young. We are constantly looking to new ideas put forward by committee members and the general student cohort. Our main aim is for the students to be able to experience events that are beneficial to their wellbeing, as well as aid them in a professional development setting.
I urge students who are in their first trimester of optometry school to expect a diverse learning experience as you will encounter various learning curves. Embrace and appreciate your growth as a student and most importantly, an individual.
Your experiences will shape your diagnostic skills and aid you in clinical practice one day. The optometry industry in Australia is continuously growing, so the future looks bright for current and budding optometrists.
Never be afraid to put your hand up, ask or answer questions and tackle challenges.
One of the biggest highlights of university so far has been the friendships I have formed with other students, both within and beyond my year level.
Don't be afraid to speak to the person in front of you who's queuing up for the sausage sizzle, join in society events and get involved with other clubs and societies within the campus. They're going to be your support group, your partners in fast food runs and the ones tagging you in optometry memes on Facebook.
Despite the pressure you will experience from time to time throughout the course, don’t forget the importance of balance and most importantly, have fun with it all.