Bryan Williams is a 4th year optometry student at the University of Houston College of Optometry (UHCO) and the next subject of our Meet the OS.com Team series! He grew up in Dallas and is a good ol’ Texan boy through and through! He is a huge sports fan (especially Texas Tech), but more importantly, he is extremely passionate about optometry. Bryan is involved in several optometry groups, including UHCO’s practice management club, and is a huge advocate for our profession. Read below to satisfy your curiosity about this charming OptometryStudents.com member!
What interested you about OptometryStudents.com and why did you want to get involved?
I have always been a fan and reader of the site. When my classmate, Chris Lopez, reached out to me to see if I would be interested in writing an article for the site, I jumped at the opportunity.
Why did you choose optometry?
From early on, I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in the healthcare field. I shadowed a family friend in high school and then in college I joined POPS (Pre-Optometry Professions Society) and worked at an OD/MD practice. The more I was exposed to optometry, the more I loved it and knew it was the field for me.
What is your favorite thing about OS.com?
Easily the team of writers we have. Everyone is very passionate and motivated to push the profession of optometry to its limits. They are a great group of people led by our fearless leader, Peter Jacques. He and the rest of the editing team work their butts off to create opportunities for the writers to achieve their full potential.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? What did you study in college? What do you miss most about home?
I’m a native Texan, raised in the ‘burbs north of Dallas. I am a big sports fan, especially of the Texas Tech Red Raiders where I went to college (Wreck Em!). While at Tech, I majored in Biology and minored in Chemistry. The thing I miss the most about Lubbock is definitely the game day tailgates and the thing I miss the most about Dallas is all of my hometown friends and family.
What are your plans for the future?
My long term plans are to eventually end up in a private practice in Dallas. As for the short term, I am still undecided on whether to pursue a residency when I graduate in May or go into private practice right away. My mind seems to change weekly at this point.
Where is your ideal place to practice (type of practice and location)?
My optometry dream would be a standalone building in a very busy location in Dallas, whether it be somewhere in the city or somewhere in the suburbs. I would like the practice to have multiple ODs and offer specialty services such as specialty contact lens fits, vision therapy, and low vision training.
Do you plan on remaining involved in organized optometry after graduation? How so?
Absolutely! If you read my article on the TOA conference (Texas Optometric Association) this year then you can probably tell I am passionate about protecting and advancing the scope of Texas optometry. I plan on staying involved in the TOA as well as the AOA upon graduation. Going to conferences such as Optometry’s Meeting and your state’s annual conference are a great way to advocate for optometry and catch up with friends you haven’t seen in a while!
What is your favorite part about 4th year/externships so far?
My first rotation is a site heavy in pathology that has been very interesting so far. Finally seeing the different diseases and conditions we memorized for boards in your exam chair has been my favorite part of externships so far. Not having to study for tests or sit through lectures isn’t too shabby either, haha.
Any tips for success for underclassmen regarding boards, classes, or optometry life in general?
Speaking as someone who does not have the most stellar GPA, my biggest piece of advice is to not let studying and cramming for exams get in the way of pursuing other opportunities in optometry school. There are so many chances to hold leadership positions, volunteer, network, attend conferences, and much, much more that will give you experiences that you cannot learn in the classroom alone. This may not work for everyone but I have welcomed every chance I’ve gotten to take on a responsibility to learn something new and it has opened up more doors for me than I thought were possible.
Based on your past leadership position with the practice management club at UHCO, what do you think defines a leader?
This past year I was the Vice President of the Student Optometric Practice Management Association (SOPMA) at UHCO, which is essentially our private practice club. This is one of the opportunities, as I have previously mentioned, that allowed me to grow as a leader. In my opinion, a leader is someone who can relate to a group and motivate them to come together to achieve a common goal. This past year, the SOPMA executive team and I strove to motivate all of our members to become more passionate about private practice and the future of optometry.