How a Surfer can be a Guide in the Optometric Journey

A surfer’s journey may be closer to an optometrist’s journey than most might think.

Hi, my name is Joe and I am a Californian. I find myself trying avocado on everything, thinking about the beach way too much, and probably saying “dude” or “radical” way more than the typical Midwesterner. My upbringing included lots of time near the water and watching surf movies. My favorite surf movie is Step Into Liquid. In the opening montage sequence of the movie, famous surfers share some thoughts. There are two quotes that have in been in mind a lot recently and how they apply to optometry school.

The first, as told by the legendary Gerry Lopez, a.k.a. Mr. Pipeline: “All it takes is one wave- not even that one turn, you know, just a moment. It keeps pulling you back to have another moment. It never ends.” My first wave (or moment) was from my a shadowing experience. I saw the optometrist pull out a small piece of tree sap from a kid’s eye. I think about that moment quite often while I’m at ICO and it helps me stay motivated while I’m studying or practicing. I believe every student, faculty member, and optometrist had that first wave experience.

The second quote, also told by Gerry Lopez: “The first twenty years is just to figure out if you’re really interested or not, you know. And then the journey really begins in the second twenty.” As a kid, an idea or timeframe like that was inconceivable! But here I am, thirteen years later, thinking that he’s right. I am a couple years into my optometric path and it feels like I have barely started! I look at the third and fourth-year students and wonder if they are they figuring out what they are interested in. When I walk through Brady Hall or the IEI, I wonder where the attending doctors and professors are on their journey.

I know that there is so much more for me to learn and experience. And dude, that is pretty radical.

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