Student Focus on Mary Curtis
Name: Mary Curtis
Hometown: Hilliard, Ohio
High School: High School: Hilliard Davidson
Undergraduate Institution: Bowling Green State University
Undergraduate Degree: I took the not-so traditional route and never ended up getting a degree. I majored in health sciences but ultimately focused on taking all the prerequisite courses required for optometry school.
Anticipated #OSUopt Graduation Year: 2022
How old were you when you received your first eye exam? What was the experience like for you?
To be honest, I don’t know if I ever had a true eye exam until optometry school. Crazy, I know. But it was because my dad is an optometrist and I’m sure he checked my eyes at some point but since I have great vision without any type of glasses correction I never needed to do the whole “which is better, 1 or 2 thing.” He would take pictures of the back of my eye and dilate but it was never a true structured eye exam. So my first real eye exam was my first year of optometry school!
When did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career in optometry?
Middle of my sophomore year in college was when I decided optometry was the best career path for me. It aligned with everything that I wanted in a future career, including being in the health care field while still maintaining a great work-life balance.
Why did you choose Ohio State Optometry?
For a long time I was determined to go to NOVA in Florida so that I could be close-ish to Disney World (yes, I’m a major Disney fan). But then I had my interview at Ohio State and everyone was so warm and welcoming and it instantly felt like home. After the interview day I had no doubts any longer that Ohio State Optometry was meant to be my home for the next four years.
What was your first impression of Ohio State Optometry?
I remember going to a visit day about a year before I applied and hearing Dr. Earley speak. My first impression of the college was intimidation. Dr. Earley talked about how amazing applicants were and how the college had some of the highest GPAs and OAT scores in the country. I went home that day and cried thinking I would never make it into optometry school at Ohio State! Spoiler alert, I did! And my second impression was interview day where I was welcomed instantly with huge smiling faces (when we could see smiles back in the day) and abundant kindness from everyone I spoke with that day.
What surprised you most about Ohio State and/or Columbus?
I’ve grown up in Columbus my whole life but in the suburb of Hilliard, so I didn’t explore true Columbus all that much until optometry school. And I was so surprised by how many fun things and places to go there were! Honestly I was shocked at how cool Columbus is!
Which clubs/organizations have you joined at Ohio State?
I am part of Epsilon Psi Epsilon, the EYE fraternity!
Who has most positively affected you during your time as an optometry student so far?
I have absolutely loved having Dr. Morrison and Dr. Reidy as my BVP attendings! They have both gone above and beyond to help me understand BV and have made it such a welcoming environment every time I have clinic. They make me excited to pursue binocular vision and pediatrics in my future optometric career!
Tell us about your extern rotations so far – what did you learn? What did you most enjoy?
Over the summer I was at Erdey Searcy Eye Group and now I am in house at the college. I’ve learned so many important clinical skills and so much knowledge but the most important thing I’ve learned is how imperative it is to be kind to your patients. Being kind and just listening to them will gain you mounds of respect and success.
What advice do you have for students who are going through their optometry school application process now?
If you’re applying to optometry school, you’re already smart and driven. You know to get good grades and OAT scores and have good shadowing/working experience. But what I think stands out the most is personality and being able to make connections. So once you reach the interview process, it’s ok to be nervous but it’s important to be yourself and let them see your true personality. That’s the impression that will stick with them the most more than your GPA and OAT score. So be professional, but also have fun!
When you think of life post-optometry school, what are you most looking forward to?
Immediately after graduating I’m most looking forward to traveling before I start working! But long term I look forward to starting a family with my husband without having the stress of school on my shoulders.