Student Focus on Lauren Schneider
Name: Lauren Schneider
Hometown: East Rutherford, NJ
High School: Henry P. Becton Regional High School
Undergraduate Institution: Siena College
Undergraduate Degree: Biology
Anticipated #OSUopt Graduation Year: I graduated with my MS in Aug. 2021, and am anticipated to graduate with the OD in May 2022.
How old were you when you received your first eye exam? What was the experience like for you?
I was about nine years old. I was having some issues focusing up close, since the font started to get smaller in fourth grade. I loved going to the eye doctor because her office was so fun and she would always show me the cool gadgets she had like the retinal camera. I got my first pair of reading glasses and have gone to the eye doctor every 1-2 years ever since!
When did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career in optometry?
Freshman year of high school, I took general biology and absolutely loved the class. That love of science got me looking into different health professions because my talents and desires aligned with that overarching field. As I looked into different options, everything about optometry - the study of the eye, possibility for instant gratification with treatment options, work/life balance, and holistic nature of the profession - seemed to click for me. As I moved through high school and got more acquainted with the profession, I continued to fall in love with this career path, it feels very right like it was what I was meant to do.
Why did you choose Ohio State Optometry?
I went to small schools all my life, so having a smaller, more personal program where professors knew my name and I knew all my classmates was very appealing to me. Ohio State’s program had the benefits and resources of a major university with the smaller class size of a private institution, which is really special. Even as a prospective student, I felt very supported by Ohio State Optometry and that meant a lot to me. I also really liked Ohio State’s reputation for producing top-notch doctors of optometry.
What was your first impression of Ohio State Optometry?
I remember interview day and being amazed at how big Ohio State’s campus was but how Ohio State Optometry was in its own little corner. I also remember sitting in the interview with some of my future professors and thinking, “These are the people I want to learn from and mentor me!”
What surprised you most about Ohio State and/or Columbus?
The size of Ohio State's campus was most surprising to me. Having a 20+ minute walk to get from one side of campus to the other was a foreign concept to me and having a gigantic football stadium in the middle of campus was also wild to me. I have really enjoyed getting to explore the nooks and crannies of campus, and I feel like any time I go on a walk I find something new!
Which clubs/organizations have you joined at Ohio State?
I was involved with Lions Club, COVD, NOSA, and AOSA, having served on executive committees for Lions Club and COVD. I really enjoyed getting to expand my education beyond the classroom and clinic, and work on my leadership skills as well!
Who has most positively affected you during your time as an optometry student so far?
All of my professors and attending doctors have been wonderful to learn from and have helped me grow into the student and OD-to-be that I am today. One who sticks out though is Dr. Donald Mutti, who was our Optics teacher during spring semester first year, and served as my research advisor as I pursued the OD/MS. His support, encouragement and enthusiasm were invaluable, and I am so grateful I got to work with and learn from him!
Tell us about your extern rotations so far – what did you learn? What did you most enjoy?
In the summer I was at a VA hospital in West Virginia, where I learned how to effectively communicate with patients and work on an interdisciplinary health team to get patients the care they needed. I really enjoyed the patient population and sharpening my skills when interpreting special testing for monitoring chronic ocular disease. Right now I am rotating through Ohio State Optometry's specialty clinics and I am really enjoying the variety - no one day's schedule is exactly the same, which keeps me on my toes when caring for different patient populations. I have been learning how to apply all the concepts we learned in class about contact lenses, pediatrics, and low vision with real patient cases and seeing that connection to the classroom is really exciting.
What advice do you have for students who are going through their optometry school application process now?
When interviewing at schools, make sure you also interview the committee members you are interviewing with. They want to see if you're a good fit for their program, but it is also important to see if the school is a good fit for you and your educational style. Don't shy away from asking them questions about their careers and what they like best about working at the school. Their answers can help you figure out where you want to learn and grow as a clinician.
When you think of life post-optometry school, what are you most looking forward to?
I am most looking forward to doing what I love to do every single day and sharing that passion with my patients. Personally, I am looking into career paths in academia, and I am excited about all of the different opportunities there are to care for eyeballs and teach, too!