May 18, 2021




Before entering optometry school, Xiao Jing Xu said that she wasn’t aware of the extent to which doctors in the optometric profession can change lives. “Throughout my time at the College, I realized how important vision is and how often we take it for granted.” The recipient of the ALCON AWARD for the Outstanding Case Report on the Use of an Alcon Product, Xu reflects on her journey at the SUNY Optometry as a student and looks forward to making a difference for people of all walks of life as a new doctor.

Degree: Doctor of Optometry


Undergraduate Education: The College of New Jersey, B.S. Biology and Minors: Chemistry and Psychology

What draws you to optometry?

I love optometry because I get to help people every day while achieving a work-life balance. It’s so rewarding to know that someone can enjoy their life more because they can finally see better.

What is your fondest memory of your time at the College?

Four years flew by so quickly! My favorite experience was our first holiday party. As first-year O.D. students, we finally survived the seven or eight back-to-back finals and clinical assessments. Despite being sleep-deprived from the constant studying leading up to that evening, we were all able to let loose and have fun together as a class to celebrate.

How did your classmates shape your experience?

The past year was crazy. From Boards being canceled less than 12 hours before our start time to fighting for our graduation, we went through a lot as a class and formed lifelong connections in the process. I find it so cool how we each took the same core courses, but all developed our individual passions for something different in optometry. Moreover, I was lucky enough to live with my peers during my four years, which allowed us to study, explore, and even travel internationally together.

What was your favorite course?

My favorite class was Visual Functions (the class with the Horopter), which is probably also one of the most challenging/confusing courses. I loved drawing the diagrams during a lecture to grasp concepts that are hard to conceptualize. It was super confusing at times, and I had no idea what I was drawing, but it allowed me to learn in a non-traditional way.

What are your post-graduation plans?

I recently accepted an offer for a role in the heart of Manhattan. I love the city and all it has to offer, so I’m happy to be able to stick around for a while. Eventually, I see myself going into Private Practice that incorporates both primary care and specialty contact lenses.

What advice would you give new students at the College?

Work hard, then play hard, not the other way around. Always do your best, because even if the outcome is not what you expected, at least there are no regrets. At times, it may seem like there is never enough time for new opportunities, but never glorify the idea of being busy. And lastly, have fun!