Foresight is UK's new pre-optometry student organization. You will be connected with other students who have similar interests and goals. The organization has presentations by optometrists, optometry school admissions representatives, and participates in volunteer projects. Involvement in the pre-professional organization can also help you develop and use your leadership skills.
It is very important that you gain exposure to the practice of optometry through observation and experience. Do you understand the nature of the work on a daily basis? Gaining this experience assures professional school admission committees that you do understand the pressure and demands of the work. Without this first-hand experience, how can you be sure that this is the career for you?
Pre-professional students should be regularly and consistently involved in health care. This is not something a student puts off until his junior year! Begin as a freshman, or at least a sophomore. Use some of your semester and spring breaks to augment your experience. Most optometry schools require one letter of recommendation from a practicing optometrist. Consistent involvement over a period of years demonstrates commitment to the goal of becoming a health care professional.
There are several ways to become involved. You may contact a health care professional you know and arrange a shadowing experience. Shadowing may be done for as little as one afternoon or, preferably, on a regular basis over a period of weeks.
Health care is people-oriented and its professionals are community leaders. Therefore, it is important to develop your leadership skills in areas of service to others. You may involve yourself in student organizations where service work is a component, and/or you may choose to commit to a cause or project on your own. Some students are members of social fraternities or sororities, and the membership has service projects each year. There are many other student organizations on campus as well. Many pre-professional students find that involvement with one or more of these groups considerably augments their understanding of and involvement in service work. For further information on student organizations, contact the Student Organizations Center.
You may choose to involve yourself as an individual in service work of some sort. This is an area where "if it feels good, do it!" Some ideas are tutoring children; becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister; providing transportation for cancer patients to and from their treatments; adopting a "grandparent" in a nursing home; serving regularly at the Hope Center, a homeless shelter in Lexington; volunteering at God's Pantry; etc. For a list of areas of need, contact the Center for Community Outreach.