What Optometry is Like - Advice to Potential Optometry Students

I recently answered a question on Reddit r/optometry. The poster was a potential optometry school student with excellent grades, but hated chemistry lab. He was worried that he would hate optometry school and being an optometrist if it was anything like chemistry lab.

Day to day optometry is literally all people skills and problem solving. It is nothing like any academic anything. Nothing like chemistry lab, or chemistry class. Or any class, for that matter.

I went to school at SUNY Optometry with some of the best and brightest, who made literally over 4.0's in undergrad (which should be impossible, but that's a rant for another day). Some of these people just aced the first two years of optometry school, then reality hit them when we started seeing patients. They were terrible at it. They could not communicate with or relate to patients at all. They could not cut through a lengthy case history to determine what information was useful and what was superfluous, and they could not understand patients with thick accents who used different terminology, etc. Well that was bad bc that's what they're going to be doing for the rest of their lives. No more acing chemistry exams, now you have to understand people, which was really hard for some of them.

So basically here's my advice to potential optometry school students: you'd better like people and be good at relating to them, or at least learn to. If you're not a "people person", I don't think you'll like optometry very much. Go be a surgeon or a researcher instead.


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