As a non-traditional student, I spent countless hours debating whether I should take the plunge in going back to school.
I had only a few years under my belt of “real life” – paying bills, paying off debt, the “8-to-5 grind.” I was on automatic mode, going through the motions everyday only to realize that I wasn’t meeting my potential. Optometry school was something that I had decided I wanted to pursue. But the questions began to linger whether it was a good idea or not. That was an important journey that I think every student, traditional or non-traditional should go through before making the decision to apply for optometry school.
Here are some of the questions that I asked myself:
- Are you willing to fully dedicate the next several years to studying and learning for hours a day?
- Are you willing to give up making money for a few years to live, as they say, “Like a college student,” again?
- Is this for certain a career you can see yourself performing for the rest of your life?
- Are you ready to possibly accrue debt by taking out student loans?
- Is this a good move for your family/marriage/relationships?
I’ve found that the best way to gain insight and answers to these questions is to speak to as many optometrists as possible and get their perspective on the field of optometry. Pick their brains about your fears, doubts, goals, worries, etc. I found that most of them were willing to offer a great insight into any questions I had. I asked them about their initial career ambitions, student loan debt, whether they were satisfied with their career choice, the positives and negatives within the field of optometry today, work/family ratio, etc. It was encouraging to know that so many optometrists were more than satisfied with their careers and pleased to offer any advice to a prospective student, which speaks volumes for this profession. The feedback I received provided that much more reassurance that I was making a great decision. So when in doubt, talk to as many optometrists as you can. You’ll gain more than just answers to your questions.
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