Victor Liu has been elected president of the University of Melbourne Optometry Student Society in 2017. A final year student, Victor is emphasising the importance of listening to the needs of optometry students.
If you asked me four years ago why I picked optometry, my past self would’ve responded with: ‘The pay is good, the hours are great, the levels of stress are low and you can have your own private practice.’
I can now confidently say that optometry is much more than that. It is a launching pad for an exciting career with endless possibilities. There are so many amazing opportunities outside of just running your own private practice. What we can give to our profession, the community and health services in general is a great reward in itself.
I moved from my home town of Houston, Texas to Melbourne in 2014 to undertake the Doctor of Optometry program at the University of Melbourne. After I graduated from Texas Tech University in 2009, I took a break for a few years to work as an optical lab technician, optician and marketing manager for a private practice, while partnering with a friend to work as a DJ to develop his wedding company. I am currently enrolled as a part-time student at 16th Street Acting Studio.
I chose to study at the University of Melbourne because its curriculum places students in the clinic during the first year of the program. I have always been a kinaesthetic learner and this structure reflected the sort of learning experience I sought.
The profession itself is advancing quickly and undergoing many exciting new changes; I wanted to be a part of this change and not a bystander. I strongly believe the University of Melbourne’s OD program is at the forefront of this transformation.
This year I will be carrying on the traditions introduced by the UMOSS presidents before me. I hope that the changes our committee makes will continue to contribute and enrich the students’ overall experience outside of studying this degree.
I’ve created the acronym L.E.A.D. that we will be using to guide our decisions this year. The UMOSS committee of 2017 will strive to Listen to the feedback from our members, Empathise with their concerns, Assess the situation and Decide what is best for our society as a whole.
I have been working with the president of the University of Melbourne Interprofessional Education and Practice to bring together the faculties of health sciences, in an effort to create an early networking opportunity for students. We hope to collaborate on new events throughout the year that integrate these student societies.
Over the Christmas holidays UMOSS has been working on a special project with Dr John Parkes: a tremendous effort to reignite optometrists’ role in colour vision testing. In the postgraduate degree, I’ve found that the university staff works closely with the students throughout the course. It really is about teamwork.
The best advice I can give to students who are starting their first semester of optometry is to get involved in clubs and societies early, and be proactive with your learning experience. As an international student, I can attest that this has greatly shaped my experience.
In the wink of an eye this program has flown by but at the same time it’s exciting and comforting to know that very soon my friends will be my future colleagues.