Entering her fourth year at Southern College of Optometry, Christina “Tina” Grosshans will undoubtedly excel in her final year of optometry school. She served SCO as president of SVOSH for the 2012-2013 academic year, which is how I came to know her, as we both just returned from our SVOSH trip to Belize last month. Tina is certainly humble about all of her accolades. In fact, I only know about several of her accomplishments from mutual friends. Therefore, I am happy she has agreed to share some of her insights into the methods on how she not only balanced school, organizations, and personal life but also excelled on all three fronts.
One of Tina’s most prominent attributes is her passion to give back to the community. She has twice worked the Special Olympics Opening Eyes in Nashville, TN. As a student ambassador at SCO, she also volunteers her time by giving tours to prospective students and applicants, representing SCO at events in the Memphis community, and serves at Homecoming and other alumni events. As Vice President of COVD, she volunteered at Ride for Your Mind, a bike race to raise funds for and awareness of brain injury. On behalf of SVOSH at SCO, she was recently recognized for her selflessness with the 2013 Spirit of Giving Award from the Volunteer Mid-South Hands On Network in April of 2013. SVOSH was founded at SCO in 1975, and under her leadership this past year, SVOSH served 7,263 patients by distributing 6,362 glasses on 8 trips to 6 different countries around the world. Tina has been on three SVOSH trips to Jamaica, Mexico, and Belize during her time at SCO, and her work with SVOSH has been the most rewarding, educational, and memorable of all her student experiences. This is also with the aid of the Lions Club International, of which Tina is also a committed member.
Tina is not only known for her work outside of the classroom and clinic but within it as well. She is a member of both Beta Sigma Kappa and Golden Key International Honor Society. She has completed research projects in pediatrics and vision therapy, and she has showcased research projects with presentations and posters at conferences. Academic awards and scholarships she has received during her time at SCO include Southern College of Optometry Presidential Endowed Scholarship, First Year Basic Science Award, First Year Clinical Science Award, Dr. Charles L. Haine Human Physiology Endowed Award, Second Year Basic Science Award, and Classes of ’54, ’56, &’59 Scholarship.
Tina Schiller Grosshans married Bryan Grosshans on August 25, 2012 in Glendale, California, which is home for Tina. Though they currently live in Memphis, she plans to practice in Colorado upon graduation. In her free time, Tina most enjoys riding her horse, Seaside, and running with her dogs, Dodger and Kita.
Interview transcript with Tina Grosshans, June 2013:
Q. Why do you give so much of your time and effort to the community?
A. I feel very fortunate for the opportunities and blessings in my life, and really enjoy giving to those in need. I know that I have knowledge, skills, and time to share with others, and feel that it is my responsibility to do so to make my community a better place. At the end of the day, I always feel that I get more than I give through community service because I love to work with people and to make others happy!
Q. You have made significant achievements while at SCO. What are you most proud of during your time in optometry school?
A. I am definitely most proud of my work with SVOSH at SCO. When I interviewed at SCO and learned about the strength and reach of SVOSH at SCO, I knew I had to be a part of the group once I began optometry school, and it was even a factor I considered in choosing to attend SCO! On the three SVOSH trips I have been on, we served just under 3,000 patients and gave out approximately 2,700 glasses to those in need. Cost and access prohibit many people from receiving the eye care they need, and we have the skills and resources to help. I will never forget the smile on the face of a seven year old boy with 4.00 diopters of myopia when he received his first pair of glasses. I feel lucky to be able to help others while doing something I love!
Q. You are insanely busy. So here’s the question that’s looming in my mind – how do you find time to not only do everything but excel at it?
A. I am a planner and a list maker! I set goals that I need to achieve by the end of the day and week, and I plan my time accordingly. Most importantly, I fill my schedule with things that I am passionate about. When I’m busy doing things that I love, I don’t feel busy at all, and it’s easy to excel because I care so much about the profession, activities, and organizations!
Q. Your Board scores are outstanding. How did you prepare for Boards? What do you think might have given you an edge? Did you prepare early? Did you try learning on more of a conceptual level during first and second year of school?
A. Thanks! I started studying specifically for boards over the winter break during my third year, but I believe that it was the work I put in during my first and second years that really prepared me. I tried not to get lost in the details, and I always made a study guide summarizing key terminology, concepts, or equations before each midterm and final. These study guides were incredibly valuable for studying for boards! They allowed me to review my class notes efficiently without having to read every detail on each page. It took a little extra time during my first two years, but it saved me a ton of time in preparing for boards! When I began studying in December, I started with the subject area that I felt least confident with so that I could build on my weakness first. I also made a study schedule with more time spent on those subject areas that are more emphasized on boards. I would advise students to really get to know the outline on the NBEO website so that they can focus their studies on the subject areas that represent the majority of the exam.
Q. Do you intend to stay active in the profession once you get your optometric license?
A. YES! I love attending meetings, and have been to SECO, COVD, and Optometry’s Meeting. I really enjoy meeting other students and doctors and getting all of the advice and knowledge that I can. In addition to meetings, I plan to stay active in AOA and become a leader in my state association. So many ODs before us have fought for our current scope of practice, and it is our job to put in that same work so that the profession of optometry thrives in the future! I also plan to remain active in VOSH as an optometrist, and would like to participate in school screenings in my community as well.
Q. Hindsight is 20/20 (sigh…). Looking back at your time at SCO, is there anything you would do differently? Anything that first, second, or third years might be able to heed?
A. My best advice to students is to take advantage of all of the incredible resources around you from the moment you start optometry school to the time you walk across the stage at graduation and beyond! The faculty members are a wealth of knowledge not just regarding diagnosis and management of ocular conditions, but also in strategies to be successful in private practice or any mode you may choose. Ask questions! Use every opportunity to make connections with other students and ODs. Find someone to be your optometric mentor. You never know where the future might take you, and you want to build a network of people that can help you to succeed. Also, when you’re in the middle of a test avalanche, remember why you chose to go to optometry school and know that all of your hard work will result in you becoming the best optometrist you can be!
Feel free to congratulate Tina below in the comments!