By Noelle Tay
BOptom (University of Melbourne 2013)
OPSM Carousel WA
I'm happy with the move I made to Perth. It wasn't easy at the start to go out of my comfort zone and away from family and friends in Melbourne. I've learned so much since starting work, not only from an optometry point of view, and grown personally since moving out of home and becoming independent.
I was able to meet new people through my interests and hobbies such as church and social sport groups. There are also many optometry-related events organised throughout the year, which offer great opportunities to meet new or recent graduates who are in the same boat as you.
There were a lot of different pathways I could have taken after graduating, which made the choice of where to work a bit overwhelming. In the end, I chose my employer based on what was most important to me: having an optometrist in the practice who could act as a mentor, and practising in a good working environment where I could see a large variety of patients.
I made a trip to Perth to visit some practices while I was in my final year, which helped me a lot in choosing the right practice for me.
In the first few weeks of work, every young optometrist faces a big learning curve. I had to adapt to a fast-paced working environment. After coming from the university clinic, which allowed me to take my time and focus on learning from my supervisors, this was a genuine ‘change of pace’.
Learning to manage my time and to be confident of my own management decisions were things I had to learn quickly. Having a mentor in the practice helped in those situations. I am working at OPSM Carousel.
Outside of work, I found ways to manage my time and find a good work-life balance so I wouldn't burn out.
I haven't decided which areas of practice I would like to gain more expertise in yet. I'm hoping to challenge myself a bit more in areas that I haven't had a lot of experience in, such as specialised contact lenses.
Perth may be smaller than the bigger cities in Australia but there are a lot of places to visit in WA. I've been snorkeling at Rottnest Island and taken a road trip down to Margaret River. There’s much more to see and I’m looking forward to exploring.
To learn more about becoming a member of the Optometry Western Australia Graduates Group (OWAGG), email email@example.com.