For the second year in a row, the OptometryStudents.com team was able to explore all that the South Eastern Conference of Optometry (SECO) has to offer to our profession. It was an honor to be back and to have a chance to experience the conference with our amazing team!
What made this a momentous event for the OS team was our founder (and founder of NewGradOptometry.com and CovalentCareers.com), Dr. Matt Geller, spoke during the Friday lunch symposium to a large audience of optometrists, students, and industry representatives about the types of changes that are occurring with the market and the optometric profession as a whole. The term “millennials” was used to describe the market familiar with current technology, products and branding. Dr. Geller also gave his advice for optometrists and thoughts on the future of optometry, the role millenials play in the changing market, as well as advice for optometrists and industry influencers.
One of my favorite features of SECO was the exhibit hall, which was filled with energy and excitement and represented all areas of optometry. New advancements in the field were in full display to impress those on the floor, such as new contact lenses, diagnostics tools and accessories. The energy on the show floor was inviting yet serious in regard to the amount of business that is to be found and that is necessary for the profession to grow. Trends and developments were discussed and displayed for current and future optometrists (like us students!) to find what would be best for their mode of practice and to provide the best optometric care possible for patients.
The amount of continuing education classes at conferences was overwhelming, it’s worthwhile to take advantage of them (free for students)! Whether you’re just starting optometry school or are about to graduate, attending classes in a subject that you’re interested in or curious about is a great way round out your optometry education. The speakers and instructors in these classes are full of knowledge and experience that you can absorb and implement in school and eventually as an optometrist!
Another aspect that I really enjoyed was the student experience – students even received a $100 stipend for attending SECO! Students from across the country were in large attendance at this year’s event. Having the chance to network with other students and future colleagues from different schools is truly invaluable in the long run. The fun activities such as student parties and events throughout the conference provided a platform for networking and for students to relax and take a break from studying. We had a blast talking to students…and congratulations to the winners of our iPad and plush eyeball giveaways!
Taking the time to explore a new city, meeting people from around the country and networking throughout the field opens prospects for your career. SECO’s hard work and dedication to furthering the profession with this event is truly something students need to take advantage of in their early careers as students and optometrists. I highly recommend checking it out next year – I know I’ll be there!