Class Year: 2022
List the award(s) / scholarship(s) you have receivedDr. Louis Herrmann Memorial Award for Outstanding Compassion in Patient Care
What does receiving this award or scholarship mean to you?I'm really grateful to receive this award, because it has definitely been a personal goal of mine to be my best self and the best support for my patients every single day in clinic. Sometimes being a doctor just means being a fellow, empathetic person in listening and talking to someone and it's my favorite part of being an optometrist. Just being able to connect to the patients on a level most other professions don't have the leisure of doing is what I enjoy doing most, even beyond treating and managing disease or solving complex, complicated cases. It motivates me to continue always taking the extra initiative to ask a question beyond the scope of optometry (so you're having trouble seeing threads during sewing... how did you start getting an interest in sewing?), be a little more observant (hey, I see you've got a tote bag with a local coffee company on it, is the coffee good there?), and just to always give a smile throughout.
What drew you to the field of optometry?I originally wanted to be a high school guidance counselor, and was a super lost teenager when looking for career choices. My immigrant mother was super against me going back to school to be a counselor. I just had my annual eye exam scheduled while in one of my deepest life crisis ever and my optometrist noticed and stopped the exam to take time to help me sort through career options. Then she gave me the amazing opportunity to shadow and learn under her, and in a way became my guidance counselor throughout my last few years of high school. She showed me the way doctors in the field of optometry really have the time to interact and get to know patients, as well as serve as a role model for future generations. I am really hoping I can inspire some lost teens some day like my own optometrist did! I am trying to keep myself hip with Tik Toks every day.
What are your plans following graduation?Heading to the US Army to be a medical officer! I will be Captain Jay Kim in just a few more months.
What was your most transformative experience during optometry school?Seeing a fourteen year old first time myope come back for her VA/BV check and telling me all the things she had missed out on seeing that she now was able to see, from the crunchy fall tree leaves to her dad's nose hairs. It really made me realize how a simple refraction change lives.
What advice would you give incoming or prospective optometry students?Make stupid mistakes your first year -- or more so, don't be afraid to be wrong. It's so much easier to get those questions and faults out of the way in the beginning, than to pretend like you know things. Don't get to third/fourth year and wish you had asked more questions earlier. You learn so much more by being wrong and uncomfortable, and if you can just bear through it, you'll be so much more comfortable later!