When I speak to students and new graduates, one of the most common questions they ask is, “What do you wish you knew when you were a student/fresh graduate?” My answer is always the same: I wish I knew I was good enough to open my own office, good enough to properly diagnose and treat patients day one after graduation and good enough to pursue other aspects of our amazing profession, such as working with industry.
I wondered what my colleagues thought of this question, so I asked them! See their answers here:
JEFF SIMMONS, O.D., M.B.A.
INDIANA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF OPTOMETRY, CLASS OF 2016
“I wish I knew the invaluable role of a mentor. As a new grad, life is so much easier when you have a mentor whom you trust and can go to for professional guidance. Whether you need practice management help, have clinical care questions or are simply finding your place in the profession, there’s no reason for you to try to figure things out on your own when someone else has already been down a similar path and has probably asked similar questions. Avoid reinventing the wheel, so you can spend your time in other areas. As you seek out a mentor, remember that a mentor should help you become your best self and should be someone whom you admire and whom you can look up to for inspiration as you chart the course of your career.”
ROYA HABIBI, O.D., F.A.A.O., F.S.L.S.,
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA BERKELEY SCHOOL OF OPTOMETRY, CLASS OF 2014
“Just because there isn’t a job listing, [that] doesn’t mean an office isn’t interested in hiring a new doctor. . . especially someone great. Market yourself to any practice that you feel you could be an asset to.”
PATRICIA FULMER, O.D., F.A.A.O.
UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA SCHOOL OF OPTOMETRY, CLASS OF 2012
“I wish someone would’ve told me more about post-graduation financial management and investing. A large percentage of students graduate with school loans and don’t know whether to work on paying those down or to invest their new salary elsewhere, like in buying a house or starting a retirement fund. I think new grads could find great value in information regarding managing and maximizing their new paychecks.”
BRYAN HOLMAN O.D.
UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA SCHOOL OF OPTOMETRY, CLASS OF 2008
“It doesn’t matter if you found severe proliferative diabetic retinopathy on fundus exam; then made the appropriate referral and put the patient on the road to better overall health, if they can’t see well out of the glasses they get from you, then you are not a good eye doctor! Unfortunately, I have found this to be true a few times, so now I definitely discuss the patient’s quality of vision and expected visual outcomes if they are buying glasses/contact lenses.”
TONY JACOB, O.D.
UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON COLLEGE OF OPTOMETRY, CLASS OF 2008
“If you are interested in owning a private practice, read up on business books, take business classes, and spend time making connections with doctors. . .”
SARAH HINKLEY, O.D., F.C.O.V.D., F.A.A.O., F.N.A.P.
MICHIGAN COLLEGE OF OPTOMETRY, CLASS OF 2004
“Don’t be afraid of the business side of optometry because you can surround yourself with professionals who will help significantly with law, accounting, billing, etc. . .”
GINA WESLEY O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O.
OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF OPTOMETRY, CLASS OF 2006
“Don’t have a pre-determined notion of what you think you are going to do in your career, because you never know what opportunities may come your way!” OM