Why did you choose SCCO?
The main influence of my decision to attend SCCO is my mother, an SCCO alumnus. When I chose to pursue an OD, I could feel the excitement in my mother’s eyes and voice. She began telling me her most memorable stories from SCCO. She described the apartment she stayed in, the restaurants she commonly dined at, and the library she always studied in. Hearing all these stories and feeling the sentiment SCCO holds in my mother’s heart, I knew I wanted the same experiences for myself.
Growing up, I would always spend time at my mom’s work. I loved the environment my mom got to work in. Everyone was happy, kind, and welcoming. It was an energy that I looked forward to being a part of. My mother’s practice has always been a comforting space and provided me with unlimited resources, but I still wanted my own experiences in optometry outside of my mom’s practice. So, in August 2019 I was hired at Dr. Kevin Hirano Optometry as an optician. Coincidentally, Dr. Kevin Hirano is also an SCCO alumnus. Once Dr. Hirano discovered my interest in not only becoming an optometrist but also in attending SCCO, he enthusiastically began describing and reminiscing in his favorite memories as a student at SCCO. Dr. Hirano emphasized that without SCCO’s curriculum, advanced equipment, and staff, he would not be the successful and diligent clinician he is today. Both Dr. Hirano and my mother intensified my interest in SCCO not only due to their success post-graduation, but also because of how much they cherish and appreciate SCCO.
Although the campus and staff have undoubtedly evolved since their time, I want to experience SCCO like my mother and Dr. Hirano did while also making my own memories. I am eagerly and enthusiastically attending SCCO because of its prominent reputation, the large clinical exposure, and the tight-knit, familial community.
What do you like to do when you’re not studying?
When I am not studying, I do my best to take time for myself by de-stressing and keeping my mind off of classwork. I spend time with my family and friends. I always enjoy cooking or watching movies with my family and friends. Watching a new episode of The Bachelor or Bachelorette with my mom and sister, while we eat ice cream and popcorn, is all the motivation I need to get through the last few hours of studying.
Any advice for Prospective Students?
Gain as much experience in optometry as possible. This will not only help your application, but also reaffirm that this is a field you would like to pursue as a lifelong career. Evidently, getting good grades and a high OAT score are vital, but having a diverse resume with unique experiences is also important. Your resume should show the admissions team who you are beyond your academics. From my experience, the SCCO admissions team is far more interested in your personality, quirks, and interests than the grade you got in organic chemistry lab sophomore year of undergrad. Lastly, be as vulnerable and honest as possible with your application essays. The essays are an opportunity to show the admissions team what motivates you to want to be an optometrist and why SCCO is the school for you. The essays give the admissions team a story of who you are, your values, and your passions, all things that are integral to your success as a student and clinician, but impossible to gather from academics alone. Above all, take a deep breath and do your best to de-stress during these intense, nerve-racking times.