Optometry Personal Statement
I believe that the secret to a rewarding career is to find a profession which both fulfils one’s intellectual interests, and also offers the satisfaction of a clear sense of purpose. In my particular case, this would require me to pursue a career with a strong scientific aspect to the work, as I have always been fascinated by the fields of biology and chemistry, with the task of helping people on a day-to-day basis. Through being involved in various work placements within the health sector, I have realised that optometry is a profession that would allow me to combine these two elements. Studying sciences at school has caused me to become captivated by human anatomy. Through studying biology I have learnt a great deal about how and why the human body develops diseases, as well as how it attempts – sometimes unsuccessfully – to fight them off. Biochemistry has been of particular interest to me, and my understanding of it has been reinforced by studying A Level chemistry. I have thoroughly enjoyed studying biology and chemistry at school, and look forward to being able to apply the knowledge that I have acquired so far in these subjects to gain a detailed understanding of ocular science.
To further my understanding of optometry, both as a field of study and a profession, I carried out an extended work placement at a local optician. During the placement I shadowed different opticians as they performed a range of services, such as eye tests and contact lens fittings. I learnt that in optometry good communication skills are vital. Without them, it would be much more difficult to guide customers and patients through what can often be complex procedures. Perhaps even more importantly, it is also necessary for opticians to act with empathy and patience in cases where patients are experiencing vision problems or feel distressed by the prospect of undergoing tests. During my placement I also had the opportunity to spend time in the laboratory, where I observed – and sometimes participated in – the processes that go into preparing lenses and frames. The experience gave me a much greater appreciation of the technical skills involved in making glasses, as well as a better understanding of the different types of lenses that are used. Because I found the work placement so rewarding, I have continued to work at the same optician as a volunteer every Saturday.
I have also carried out a work placement at a local pharmacy. This experience encouraged me to develop some of the personal skills that I believe are necessary for working as an optician. During the placement I had the opportunity to interact with customers. Through this I learnt how much I enjoy work in which I can offer advice to people, and also felt a gratifying sense of responsibility in response to the fact that the advice I gave them regarding non-prescription medication could play a role in alleviating the symptoms of their health problems.
In my spare time I have participated in a range of activities that also allow me to be involved with helping people. In Year 12 I mentored a group of Year 7 students; I enjoyed being able to make them feel less apprehensive about starting life in secondary school. I have been involved with several fund-raising initiatives for Afrikids and Cancer Research, such as selling cakes and doing a sponsored walk. These activities gave me a sense of satisfaction through allowing me to work as part of a team with a common goal. My sense of teamwork has also been improved by my involvement in my school’s hockey and netball teams. On a more personal note, I am a highly enthusiastic musician; I play the guitar, and also particularly enjoy traditional Indian music. I have found learning to play an instrument to be both an outlet for self-expression and a way of developing my skills of perseverance. I am also an avid reader of fiction, in particular stories that ignite my sense of adventure, such as Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.