Celine Zhang has been elected president of the University of New South Wales Optometry Society for 2017. A fifth-year student, Celine wants to broaden the social and charitable opportunities for student experiences.
My first experience of optometry was my first eye test at the age of nine. I had the typical ‘seeing the leaves on tree’ moment, with an explosion of visual detail granted by the perfect pair of glasses.
I'm now a fifth-year B Optometry(Hons)/B Vision Science student. I chose UNSW for its great reputation for producing high-quality graduates and providing a strong evidence-based education.
UNSW OptomSoc is one of the oldest optometry student societies in Australia and has been running successfully for many years. Our 2017 social calendar is already abuzz with recruitment nights, the Eyeball, a cruise, an inaugural pub crawl and much more.
This year, I want to amplify student engagement with the UNSW OptomSoc by facilitating an even wider breadth of experiences, networking opportunities and exciting optometry-related volunteer opportunities to benefit communities in and around Australia.
Most of all, I aim to inspire curiosity and passion among our students. Just like everything in optometry, I can't do this alone. I'm supported by an amazingly driven 2017 final-year executive team of Alison Abdullah, Tyson Xu and Rhonda Pham, and 16 representatives across all year-level cohorts.
Keeping a good balance between sleep, study and a social life is the key to flourishing in university. It's very different from high school and optometry is a quite demanding course.
We are all here to support one another, through our student life and beyond. Never be afraid to ask questions. There are year-specific groups, study groups and general optometry student groups where you can find support, notes and like-minded people. Keep connected by joining your optometry school’s student society and participating in the numerous events it holds.
To get a real kick start, I urge my fellow students to connect with the optometric industry at large. Get your foot in the door by doing optical dispensing as a part-time job.
Remain curious and thoughtful about the industry that you will be in, and ask yourself what you think you’ll be passionate about in optometry. Is it the ability to provide patients with the perfect script, the ability to treat ocular conditions? Will you home in on the business aspect of practice or do you want to produce quality research? You may even find you have a special interest in paediatrics, sports vision, low vision or contact lenses.
Get out there and draw inspiration from the tightly-knit optometry community in Australia and beyond.