In late August, 45 young men and women arrived on campus to begin a four-year journey toward becoming an optometrist. The stories of these 45 will differ from each other about why and how they decided this was their chosen profession, but for two days (August 18 and 19) they sat together in a room to learn more about each other, the expectations of the next four years, the experiences of current students, and organizations.
Orientation marks the beginning of four years of instruction and clinical experience, but it also marks the development of a new family within the College of Optometry. Each year the College of Optometry admits between 44-46 students who are often initially unfamiliar with one another and over time become a close-knit family. The two-day orientation is packed with information that will help students remain successful in the program while getting to know each other better. Madison Moss (’20) felt that orientation, “was really great in acclimating us with the school and helping us get to know each other better. We had the opportunity to spend long amounts of time together and become more comfortable with one another, so we were excited to start this journey together.”
The resources provided by the college also help in giving the new students insight on what to expect through panel presentations with students and faculty. “Having the opportunity to ask questions to students and faculty at various points during orientation was extremely helpful, and I think it set us up well for the weeks to come,” Moss said
Students have many reasons for choosing the College of Optometry. As Moss talks about, “I chose UMSL Optometry because I was seeking a community that would welcome me in and not let me go. I feel that here. This is the most inviting, encouraging place, where your classmates and professors alike care about your present and future success. The sense of community here is overwhelming in the best way, and I am so honored and privileged to be a part of it.”
The next four years will pass by quickly for the Class of 2020. “We get the opportunity to learn the skills and information that we will be using for the rest of our lives, alongside friends that will one day be our colleagues. That is pretty incredible. Although optometry school might be challenging along the way, it will be well worth the effort,” Moss said.
During the two-day orientation much information was shared along with icebreakers, presentation from representatives of national organizations, and lunch with ambassadors and faculty. The class of 2020 has been deemed the “Class of Vision” by Assistant Dean for Student Services and Alumni Relations, Dr. Ed Bennett, who comments, “We are all excited about the potential of the Class of 2020. There is much diversity in the class and a great history of engagement and leadership that should benefit our College the next four years and our profession thereafter.”
Small group activities were a highlight of orientation
A highlight of orientation every year: A panel of student leaders address questions from the Class of 2020.