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My name is Paige Willett and I am a first-year student at SCO this year! I am from Little Rock, Arkansas and went to undergrad at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. I just graduated in May and commemorated the occasion by walking all the way to my mailbox to get my diploma. Memphis was only an hour drive from Jonesboro, so I have made many trips over here for some good BBQ and shopping. I’m very excited to live in Memphis for the next four years. It is the biggest city I have ever lived in, but I already have a southern accent going for me so I am sure I will fit right in!
My journey to choosing the career path of optometry has been somewhat atypical. My mother is actually an optometrist and a graduate of SCO. My mom is my favorite person in the world and my best friend. When I was growing up I would often get the question of, “Are you going to be like your mom and be an eye doctor too?” and my response would always be something like “No, I don’t think so.” I never had any interest in pursuing optometry, and to be completely honest I thought my mom’s job was a little boring at times.
Going into my freshman year of college, I decided to work at my mom’s office for the summer to make some extra money. After my first day there, I completely fell in love with optometry. I realized how wrong my previous thoughts about optometry were and began thinking about what a career in optometry would be like. I realized that each patient presents a different challenge in their course of treatment and the job is the furthest thing from monotonous. I had always explored the medical field as a career pursuit and the more I worked with patients in the optometry setting, the more assured I became of where I belonged.
While this year has not started off in the way anyone could have imagined, SCO has been wonderful in providing new ideas and ways for us to still get to know our classmates. We normally would have gotten to meet each other in March at the housing fair, but we ended up having a virtual housing fair instead. Our class also started a GroupMe group chat which we talk in almost every day. This has been a great way for us to get to know each other since we haven’t been able to meet face-to-face. Another fun thing we have been able to do is participate in Virtual Happy Hours hosted by SCO Student Ambassadors. Over the past couple of weeks, we have been able to log on to a Microsoft Teams meeting and get to meet a few of our fellow classmates and ask the ambassadors about any questions we have. It has been a fun way to get to know my classmates during these crazy times.
I am so excited to be starting my first year of optometry school so soon! I knew SCO was my top school the moment I stepped on the campus. I was very impressed by their value of service, board passage rates, and the clinical experiences they offer. Everyone was very welcoming and genuinely interested in getting to know me on my interview day, which helped me feel certain this was where I belonged. I can’t wait to begin my optometry career at SCO and I am looking forward to the next four years. Memphis and SCO, here I come!