Student Focus on Zak Bogosian
Name: Zak Bogosian
Hometown: Silver Creek, New York
High School: Silver Creek Central School
Undergraduate Institution: SUNY Fredonia
Undergraduate Degree: Biology
Anticipated #OSUopt Graduation Year: 2025
How old were you when you received your first eye exam? What was the experience like for you?
Although I do not have any memories of my first eye exam, I do know that I saw an optometrist every year growing up. Like many of us, around the time of middle school I noticed reading the board became increasingly difficult, especially from my seat toward the back (where you can still find me these days). Before I knew it I had the choice of blurry vision or having to wear glasses that I thought didn't look good on me and interfered with sports. My family's optometrist recommended contact lenses, and I have been hooked ever since. This was the first time I realized optometrists do not just treat medical conditions, they treat people each with unique lifestyle and visual requirements. This has become even more evident since coming to optometry school and is one of my favorite aspects of patient care.
When did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career in optometry?
I had long thought about working in medicine but it was not until late high school that I zeroed in on optometry. I was at a routine eye exam when I began asking our family’s long-time optometrist about the career. Almost immediately his face lit up and excitedly told me about his passion for eye care and love of optometry. Seeing someone at the end of a long career be enthusiastic about the youth entering their field was a huge green flag. This prompted me to learn more and I soon realized what a wonderful profession optometry is and how well it fits with my goals in life!
What was your first impression of Ohio State Optometry?
Sometime early in undergrad I heard some negative rumors about Ohio State along the lines of “You’ll only see college-aged eyes and that optometry is just a small program at a giant football university.” I almost did not even apply to Ohio State. I really wish I remember the eye doc who told me this so I could politely inform them of how incredibly wrong they were! My first true impression of Ohio State Optometry came during my virtual interview. Ohio State had the most extensive and worthwhile virtual interview day of any school I applied to. Even though a screen, the faculty and especially current students made the exceptional culture here plain to see.
What surprised you most about Ohio State and/or Columbus?
The size and scale of campus still surprises me to this day. For reference, my hometown has one single traffic light and the entire student body at my undergrad university would fit in the football stadium 32 times! Having access to the gyms, green spaces, libraries, and many other student resources is hugely valuable and has enhanced my time in optometry school. Columbus in general is a very student and young adult friendly city as there are seemingly endless restaurants, bars, shops, and music halls within walking or biking distance of campus. Additionally, Cbus is a great city for runners because it is extremely flat and has well maintained sidewalks and a trail system along the Scioto and Olentangy rivers.
Which clubs/organizations have you joined at Ohio State?
Ohio State University has the only surviving… no thriving chapter of the optometry fraternity Epsilon Psi Epsilon (EYE). Being someone who makes the choice not to drink, I was originally hesitant about the idea of a fraternity but after attending many of the football home game tailgates fall of first year, I felt compelled to join. It is great having a non-campus space to get together and socialize with not just my class, but classes above and below me. This provides a space to share our knowledge and experiences with each other and to make lifelong connections with our future colleagues in a way that is unique to Ohio State. Having a strong network of people I can rely on is especially important as an out of state student.
Who has most positively affected you during your time as an optometry student so far?
Myself and Dr. Michael “Jules” Raise
performing at The Dayton Airshow.
The Bad Habits “Eye Docs of Rock'' is a band formed in 1987 by optometry students at Ohio State. Since their humble beginning selling out the EYE house, the band has grown and played across the country at all the major optometry conferences and meetings. I have been so lucky to be invited to play with them multiple times in Columbus and even the Hard Rock Cafe in Washington, D.C. and Times Square in New York City. I would have never dreamed I would be playing so many big shows in optometry school! As great of musicians as the guys in the band are, they are even better people and have treated me like one of their own. They are also all successful optometrists and I have gotten tons of real world advice and guidance. On top of all this, the number of handshakes and business cards I have received after shows is honestly a little unfair to my classmates!
What was your favorite part of optometry school so far, and what are you looking forward to in future years of the program?
I have always been a hands-on type of learner and getting to explore, practice, and grow my physical skills with friends has been so enjoyable. Time spent in the pre-clinic is just as valuable as time in the library. What is even better is finally being able to apply our skills and knowledge in the exam room on real live patients! Being a rookie in clinic can be quite challenging at times but the reward of finishing an exam with a happy patient and a happy attending is tremendous. I am very much looking forward to fourth-year externships and all the unique patient encounters to come.
What advice do you have for the class of 2028 as they navigate the admissions process this year?
Probably the best advice I could give is that virtually every step of the process takes longer than you might expect. Because of this, I would recommend being on top of each part of the application as much as you can and start as early as possible. It can be overwhelming juggling so much at once but it is worth it to submit your application sooner rather than later. As far as interviews go, I would focus on what makes you an interesting person and unique future doctor. Optometry is a very people skill heavy profession and admissions is always looking for the type of person patients will want to come back to year after year. They are looking for future leaders of the profession, not just star test takers.