Henrietta Wang is president of the University of New South Wales Optometry Society for 2016. She is determined to make sure optometry students are industry-ready, connecting them with eye-care professionals before they start in their careers.
By Henrietta Wang
UNSW OptomSoc President
My grandfather was diagnosed with glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration just over five years ago. I haven’t been able to go back to Taiwan to visit him in the past few years so I’ve only heard through telephone conversations about how his vision has been affected over time.
Studying optometry has offered me the chance to not only better understand what my grandfather is going through but also provide support and help for people who are going through the same thing.
Optometry is a tightly-knit profession and the friendships forged at university usually last a lifetime. As the optometry course at UNSW is quite full on, there are limited opportunities for students to create connections outside of their own cohort. My goal for this year as president is to continue growing relationships between students and industry professionals, and to create opportunities for students to build inter-year relationships.
I’m a strong believer in working to expand the platform from which current students can begin to build relationships with each other and with members of the broader optometric community. Providing support networks for students both within and outside of university will help make our students more industry-ready than ever so they can hit the ground running when they graduate.
My first piece of advice to new students is to make friends and reach out to as many people as possible because these people will be your family for the next five years. There’s no time like the present to start getting to know them. They will be your support network; the people who motivate you to keep moving when times get tough. Don’t be afraid to ask people for help.
My second piece of advice is to be who you want to be and to do what you want to do. Join the clubs you're interested in and pursue your hobbies. University is the time when you work out who you want to be.
Starting your degree at UNSW, whether it is in Vision Science or Optometry, is like becoming a part of one big family: no-one gets left behind.