Naomi Chun is a first year at NOVA Southeastern University College of Optometry. Her current claim to fame comes from a creative comedy Tumblr blog, http://eyeseeyouoptometry.tumblr.com, that shines a humorous light on moments in an optometry student’s life. She was born and raised in Charlotte, NC and attended college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she majored in biology and minored in music.
OS: You have a blog, http://eyeseeyouoptometry.tumblr.com on Tumblr. Tell us about it and tell us how you came up with the idea to start this blog.
Naomi: There are other Tumblr blogs about medical school, pharmacy school, and law school and I have noticed that many of these blogs express similar experiences to optometry students. Like other medical professionals, optometry students take similar classes, have rigorous schedules and study – a lot. I had searched for an optometry blog but the ones that I found were not very relatable. I wanted there to be a blog catered for optometry students and our inside jokes – a place where optometry students could go and see that we are all experiencing the same things, a sense of camaraderie.
The blog also gave optometry students a voice among other health professions. We are a smaller profession and the blog allows medical, dental, or pharmacy students to see optometry students as equals.
OS: This blog is going viral around optometry schools and making people laugh. Did you ever imagine it would have such an impact on students?
Naomi: I did not even imagine my friends laughing at my blog let alone all the optometry schools, faculty, and even optometrists across the nation within a few weeks of starting it. At first it started of with a couple friends and before I knew it, my whole class had seen the blog. I knew it was more than just a blog when I saw students from other schools post on other websites like Reddit and the AOSA Facebook page. I realized that this is not just for me but also for optometry professionals everywhere. I am glad to see that my personal experiences are shared with so many people and that I am able to capture our experiences for everyone to appreciate.
OS: Has your life changed any after making this blog?
Naomi: Due to the anonymity of blogs, my life has not changed significantly other than some nice comments from friends when I update. Sometimes I hear second and third year students talking about it in the hallways but they have no idea that it is actually me. Faculties at NOVA have also taken notice of the blog but do not know the blog is operated by a NOVA student. It is interesting to see people from all points in their optometric career enjoying the blog from a third person point-of-view and seeing genuine reactions.
OS: Other than making a blog what do you like to do in your free time?
Naomi: Free time? What free time? (Just kidding). I have a wide range of hobbies that include cooking, photography, making music, and being involved with planning events and being a part of student government. I like being in touch with students and perhaps this is where I get my inspiration. I also enjoy thinking of new creative projects and I also have a few optometry videos in the works right now so make sure to keep an eye out for it!
OS: What are your plans after graduating optometry school?
Naomi: My graduation date seems very far away so I’m sure my plans are subject to change as I go through school. For now I would like to do a residency and eventually work in a MD/OD partnership practice. I feel as though optometrists and ophthalmologists are able to complement each other’s work very well to treat patients and I would love to be apart of that partnership.
OS: Tell us one interesting fact about yourself.
Naomi: An interesting fact about myself is that I can sing opera. I started taking lessons in high school and minored in music in college. I have not performed in front of a large audience but maybe I will have a chance to one day.
OS: What does your family think of the blog?
Naomi: My family members have seen my blog and although they may not understand it completely, they think it is funny and have a lot of support for me. Because my parents are Korean, the blog was difficult to explain and did not translate well. It is difficult for them to understand what a blog is, let alone an optometry-comedic related one. It took my mom a total of 45 minutes on the phone to get her onto the correct site whereupon I had to explain each picture and caption to her and why students would think it was funny. I am not sure my parents really understand my blog or why it went viral, but they are proud of me either way.
OS: What is your most memorable moment in optometry school so far?
Naomi: My most memorable moment thus far was when I participated in a REACH event. REACH is a volunteer event where the different interdisciplinary schools at NOVA Southeastern University such as medical, physical therapy, pharmacy, and optometry travel to a predominately low-income area and offer healthcare services. I was able to see patients who may never have a chance to see an optometrist. Getting hands-on experience and testing real patients with ocular diseases within the community showed me how important optometrists are and how much they can impact the lives of patients. Reaching out to the community solidified my purpose in going to optometry school and showed me that all the work in school is really worth it. It was an unforgettable experience and I hope I get to do more mission trips during my years at NOVA.