While it might not feel like the case when you're an optometry student, grades really aren't everything.
How I spent my time as an optometry student
I never shot for anything higher than Bs in my classes, because I knew that I had a finite amount of time that had to be spread between my studies, my loved ones, my own health, and my own investment in making myself stand out.
I knew that I wanted to stand out as an optometry job candidate, and that I didn't want to take the standard path of clinical care for 40 years straight. I knew that I was interested in business, marketing, and other non-clinical aspects of the optometry profession. And I could already tell that my primary motivation in my optometry career was leadership.
I spent that time learning about Facebook Ads, social media marketing, content marketing, and other tactics that I used to start OptometryStudents.com, and then NewGradOptometry.com. And on the weekends, I started reaching out, networking, and connecting with optometry influencers.
And, as it turned out, unique practice opportunities presented themselves to me when I graduated.
Not a single one of my interviews involved being asked about my GPA. But practice owners were fascinated by all of this unconventional value I brought to the table as a job candidate.
What do you want to do with your optometry career?
- Do you want to join a cutting edge practice? Use that extra hour per night to learn about the latest and greatest equipment you can discuss in an interview. Spend some outside hours shadowing at clinics that use that equipment so you can walk the walk and show what you've learned during an interview.
- Do you want to go into academics? In this case, it probably is worth spending that extra hour per night to study. If you go into medical optometry, education, or research, top grades will likely be considered as part of your application.
- Do you want to buy into a practice? Start your own practice cold? If this is the case, I urge you to take that time that makes the difference between a B and an A, and use it to set yourself apart.
Small wins start accumulating quickly, and by the time graduation rolls around, you'll be surprised how many doors open up for you because you took the time to set yourself apart during school.