“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.”
– Oprah Winfrey
I found my mentor by accident. I had just gotten a job in a retail facility as an Optometric Technician and she just happened to be the practice owner who leased in the building. I took the job so that I would gain more experience for Optometry school, but I had no idea that I would find such a significant person to guide me through my pre-optometry experience and, more importantly, become a life-long confidant.
When I met my mentor
It didn’t happen overnight that she became an established mentor, or I as an instant protégé. It took a few months for her to recognize my potential as a future Optometrist. I made daily efforts to show how passionate I was about the profession in hopes that she would notice and help me along my path. I knew that there was just something special about how my mentor interacted with the patients and staff that I knew I wanted to strive for. Eventually she began to recognize my passion and ever since she has always been there to teach me and encourage me.
My mentor was there to teach me
You can learn an abundance of information from a mentor. Personally, I learned about what it means to be an optometrist. I’m not just talking clinical knowledge and expertise, but ethics, policies, procedures, and even mannerisms. In short, once could say I learned to be a professional. I was actually excited every day to go to work because I knew she would teach me something I didn’t know the day prior. I was given the opportunity to shadow her in the exam room and work on tasks that enhanced my knowledge of optometry. My favorite part of working with and shadowing my mentor was the ability to ask any question I could think of, ranging from optometry school applications, to ocular disease, to information about the profession in general.
My mentor was there to encourage me
Whenever I was feeling insecure, either about the OAT or the strength of my application, my mentor was there. She believed in me when I did not believe in myself, and she continues to believe in me to this day. She always reminded me of my passion and pushed me to be the best applicant and now student I could be. During my pre-optometry journey, it was reassuring to know that someone in the field was there for me, rooting me on.
I would not be where I am without my mentor
I encourage everyone interested in optometry, whether you are going through the application process or are a current student, to find a mentor. I believe that everyone needs someone who has the wisdom to guide you through all aspects and challenges in becoming an optometrist. I know I will always trust and cherish the advice and experiences she shares. She played an instrumental role in changing my life, and I know that if you are lucky enough to find a mentor like mine, they will change yours too.