Student Focus on Clayton Richardson
Name: Clayton Richardson
Hometown: Knox City, Texas
High School: Benjamin High School
Undergraduate Institution: Texas State University
Undergraduate Degree: Biochemistry
Anticipated #OSUopt Graduation Year: 2026
How old were you when you received your first eye exam? What was the experience like for you?
I was eight years old when I received my first eye exam. My first eye exam experience was one for the books. I was the only kid who wanted glasses because I thought they looked cool! I mean who wouldn't? I actually wanted them so badly that I tried to 'trick' the optometrist into writing me a prescription for glasses. The secret was, my vision was not blurry at all. Sadly, I left that eye exam without getting glasses (the optometrist saw right through my tricks). My vision to this day is still 20/15, but I am waiting for the day I get those glasses!
When did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career in optometry?
I realized optometry was the career for me the first time I shadowed an optometrist. I was a freshman in college and was looking into many healthcare careers. When I shadowed my hometown optometrist I saw firsthand the impact being an eye doctor has on people's lives and even populations as a whole. Especially growing up in a rural area where healthcare is falling behind, the importance of delivering quality healthcare is of utmost importance. Being able to see the change you make in people's lives before they even leave your exam chair is something a lot of careers do not have. Optometry does and it makes me wonder why doesn't everyone want to be an optometrist?!
Why did you choose Ohio State Optometry?
Academic excellence. Point-blank. To be accepted into Ohio State Optometry was such an honor. This is because Ohio State's College of Optometry has some of the best optometric names in the world. From cutting-edge research to successful board passing rates, this college is successful in educating future generations of optometrists. I am proud to be part of this upcoming generation of optometrists and to be learning from the best!
What was your first impression of Ohio State Optometry?
Professional, yet had such a sense of home. Growing up in a town with a population of 1,200 I have always been accustomed to smaller class sizes and having my teachers know my name. Even though The Ohio State University is a large university, which makes it great for finding things to do outside of the classroom, the College of Optometry here is the smallest college on the entire campus. This shows every day in the classroom when our professors know us all by our first names due to having a small class size. Not only that but the faculty and staff at the college have treated me like a fellow professional since the first time meeting them.
What surprised you most about Ohio State and/or Columbus?
The weather! Growing up in Texas, there isn't really a transition from summer to fall. It goes from 95 degrees one day to 30 degrees the next and you have officially entered winter without warning. The fall here in Columbus was something to remember. The leaves slowly changed to dark red and yellow. Even though this past winter here in Columbus was mild, it still amazes me that people drive in the snow. Texans, like myself, usually just stay inside and don't even risk of driving if there is a drop of snow on the ground.
Which clubs/organizations have you joined at Ohio State?
I have become a senator for the Interprofessional Council and a member of Epsilon Psi Epsilon. I wanted to make sure that the organizations I joined while in optometry school were ones I was truly passionate about. The first is Interprofessional Council. At the beginning of the year, I was one of the three elected senators in our optometry class to represent our College of Optometry alongside all other professional schools here on campus! The second is Epsilon Psi Epsilon, which is our optometry fraternity. This organization has allowed me to flourish professionally, socially, and academically.
Who has most positively affected you during your time as an optometry student so far?
My classmates. These people are so academically motivated and it motivates me to be better every day. They are also the only people I can 'nerd' out about eye facts and they are equally if not more happy to be talking about it. They are also all very kind and really help me realize that optometry is a great experience and being able to share it with them is a blessing.
What was your favorite part of optometry school so far and what are you looking forward to in future years of the program?
My favorite part of optometry school so far is tailgating for Ohio State football! I am not a huge sports guy, but here at Ohio State, the love for sports is so contagious I can't help but get into it. Tailgates at the Epsilon Psi Epsilon house make each game day electric and one to remember. As for what I am excited about these future years of the program is finding my passionate niche. Could that be in ocular disease, contact lenses, or something I have not even thought of? Who knows. That is what I am excited to learn!
What advice do you have for the class of 2027 as they start optometry school this fall?
Fall in love with what you are learning! Learning about the human body and all things optometry-related is exciting! Your future patients are going to be so appreciative you have dedicated so much time that you can help them! For me, the thought of going to optometry school was intimidating. However, I have worked so hard to get to where I am! As have you, and you are not in this process alone. The admissions team would not let us into this program if they did not know we are more than competent enough to become great eye doctors. Believe in yourself and dive in!