OS: Shane McDonald is a third year student and now AOSA Trustee for Pacific University College of Optometry! Shane, tell us a little more about yourself…
SM: Originally, I’m from eastern British Columbia, Canada, but I did my undergrad in Animal Biology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Growing up in a small town, I’ve always had a strong love for the outdoors. This passion has upset my mother more than once, especially since I have started to climb bigger and bigger mountains each year! Being from a small town is one of the reasons why I feel so comfortable here in Forest Grove and Pacific University. The small town atmosphere really feels like home, and makes life a little less stressful while working through optometry school.
OS: What has been the best part about being a member of the AOSA Board of Trustees?
SM: I’ve always loved being involved with what is happening around me. There is no better organization to get involved with as a student than the AOSA. I have learned more than I can comprehend in terms of the optometric industry, as well as how “politics” function and in general how organizations are run. The best part about being a board member however, is the absolutely wonderful students I have had the opportunity to meet from around the country. I now have really good friends in every part of the United States! The other thing that I love is the opportunity to travel to the various meetings throughout the year. Being from Canada, this has been a great way to travel and experience different parts of the USA.
OS: What do you think is the best advantage that AOSA brings to students?
SM: Continuity. With two meetings a year, all AOSA board members stay informed with what is happening at other schools and with AOSA nationally. This allows the AOSA at each school to be similar and provide the best benefits and information to their students.
SM: How to efficiently pack carry-on luggage to fly across the country for a weekend!
OS: What do you think is the best way for optometry students to get involved in optometry outside of school life?
SM: Attend state advocacy days. Nothing sends a stronger message to politicians than involvement and passion from students. The next best thing students can do to stay involved is to be proud of who they are and what they do. Talk to your friends, family and communities about what it means to be an optometrist and explain what we do. Do not settle with the public opinion that we only give people glasses, or that we are less important than ophthalmologists.
OS: Do you plan on doing a residency? If so in what area?
SM: I have been pondering this question for a long time, and I am currently leaning toward YES. In my experience, having a residency is not as beneficial when practicing in Canada. However, since starting school, I have fallen in love with contact lenses and would love to pursue this as a specialty in the future. I think a residency would be perfect for this and would give me the knowledge to set myself apart from other optometrists in Canada.
OS: Tell us one interesting fact about yourself.
SM: I am a dedicated Chiver! Keep Calm and Chive on!
OS: You are quite the adventurer! What was your latest adventure and do you have any planned for the near future?
SM: I would not consider myself an “adventurer” but I do have a hard time staying in the same place for extended periods of time. My last adventure was summiting Mt. Hood in Oregon. It was exhilarating and mesmerizing to look down on the world from the highest point in the state at 11,249 ft.
In August we have a short break between semesters and I have a mountaineering excursion planned with a friend back home. We’re heading to the mountains called the “Bugaboos.” This will be our first trip climbing a mountain and putting our own protection in the rock! Wish us luck.
OS: Where do you see yourself practicing after graduation and in what type of setting?
SM: After graduation I suppose I should find a job…I would like to start working back in British Columbia in a private practice setting. However, for the first few years I definitely want to be an employee and not have the responsibilities of managing a practice.
OS: What has been your greatest achievement so far?
SM: My greatest achievement, eh? Well I suppose it would be making it this far in my education and not losing the ability to have fun. After 6 years of continuous post-secondary school and 18 years of school in total, the only thing that keeps me going is the ability to completely remove myself from the school mindset and escape for a weekend to recharge myself. It seems to be working since I’m still passing!
OS: If you could go to dinner with someone famous who would it be?
SM: Nelson Mandela. He has always been an idol of mine. No one can rival the accomplishments, patience, and forgiveness he has portrayed in his life. I think that hearing him share his life stories would be one of the most valuable opportunities one could experience. Morgan Freeman would be a close second for dinner.
OS: If you had a time machine to go back in time what would you change in history and why?
SM: Stop Jersey Shore from ever occurring!
OS: If you were stranded on an island and you could only bring three things what would they be?
SM: A tent, water purification system, and Emma Watson.