Marshall Duong has been elected president of the Deakin Optometry Student Society (DOSS) for 2017. A second-year student, Marshall wants to facilitate connection between different optometry year levels.
As a child growing up from an immigrant background, family was a notion that was close to my heart. At the age of 65, my grandfather had begun to lose his eye sight and eventually became dependent on the rest of the family to tend to his needs.
Even as a child, I saw that the loss of his vision took a large toll on his mental health; he didn’t seem to smile as often any more and this also deeply affected the rest of the family.
At the time, we were unable to take him to the optometrist for a variety of reasons. Ultimately, he was diagnosed with cataracts and within a few months of his visit to the optometrist, he had the cataracts removed in both eyes.
Almost immediately I could see the life and joy return to him; he seemed to be smiling more often and brighter than ever. My family became lively again and everything returned to normal.
This was the first instance where I was able to appreciate the importance of good vision to people as well as the people around them. It is something that I will never forget; it is what forged my path towards a career in optometry.
I’m originally from Petersham in Sydney but moved to Victoria to study at Deakin University. I’m an active member of the School of Medicine at the university, taking part in the peer-mentoring program on campus.
Prior to joining DOSS, I felt that a number of things could be done to improve the way the student society ran, but I also saw a huge amount of potential. Rather than sit back and do nothing, I decided that DOSS needed to be changed from the inside out.
As DOSS president, I have a team of four executive members, as well as six student representatives who are a part of the society. We act as the ‘face’ of the society, in order to push for a greater community presence. I believe that I owe it to our members to improve the efficiency in the way DOSS is run.
I intend to improve the relationship between the different year levels as well as with teachers, by running social events where everyone can interact with each other and have fun.
A strong relationship with industry is also important and will be addressed through planned events such as an industry night. Students will not only meet industry as a possible employer, but also really get to know industry representatives on a personal level.
New optometry students should know that the workload of the optometry course is much harder than it was at high school. Be prepared to stay up late studying. Students should also know that optometrists do not just prescribe glasses. We do a multitude of things, such as detecting diseases which may not be related to the eye.
I want to portray the optometry student body in a positive light to teachers, the community and industry. Hopefully, through my term as president, a change for the better will be seen.