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I've only ever met three other guys in my life with the name Jed, all of which are about as cowboy as you can get. As much as I have dreamed spending my days riding horses through the Utah mountains, that's not me. I grew up in Brigham City, a small town in northern Utah with a population of about 18,000 people. My grandpa (who actually was a cowboy) settled in Brigham City shortly after obtaining his OD degree from Southern College of Optometry. My dad, also an SCO alumni, continued running the family practice and has been there for more than 30 years.
It might seem that optometry should have been an easy decision for me. In fact, not only were my dad and grandpa optometrists, but my great grandpa was one as well. With such a tradition in my family of providing eye care for over 100 years, it's surprising to many people that it was not until I was a sophomore in undergrad that I had decided on optometry.
I attended Brigham Young University in Provo, UT from 2011 to 2015. I loved my experience there and it still feels like a bit of home to me. I majored in Neuroscience as a result of two inspirational high school teachers that taught Biology and Psychology. Not only was neuroscience a topic I was fascinated by, but I also felt that it would help me get into a health-care field which was my ultimate goal. BYU is a private church school nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains. My spare time was filled with mountain biking, hiking, camping, fishing, skiing, mountain climbing, snow-shoeing and anything else I could get my hands on. I met my wife, Andrea, at BYU and we were married in July 2012. I had barely known her a year, but I knew early on after meeting her that she was someone I could spend the rest of my life with. During school, Andrea ran on the track and cross country teams and I kept the funds coming by working for the Intramural Program.
As I mentioned, around this time I didn't know for sure what I was going to do after undergrad. I'd had some very significant moments dealing with optometry in my life but I still wanted to stay open to other professions as well. As I continued my education, I found myself more and more attracted to optometry. I loved the optics section in my Physics courses and I was fascinated by how intricate and detailed the ocular innervation was in my neuroanatomy class. More and more I found that optometry fit very well with my interests and strengths. Optometry offered me a chance to work with individuals to problem solve and help come up with the best treatment plan (which was why I was interested in health care in the first place). Not only that, but optometry was consistently ranked among the most satisfactory professions when it came to quality of life. Being freshly married, this was also a very important part of my decision.
After working hard to take the right classes, shadowing optometrists , passing the OAT, and other requirements, I was accepted to optometry school. I started my first year at Southern College of Optometry in 2015 and am now entering my second year. SCO had always been my top choice for many reasons, particularly for the superior clinical experience that I would obtain. This first year has had many challenges but it has been well worth it. With both my wife and I being westerners (she is from Washington) it has been a major cultural shift but we love our new home! We are continuing to find more things to do each month amid our busy schedules, and we're glad we are making Memphis home.
Andrea and I after the White Coat Ceremony last Fall. See how supportive she is wearing her glasses shirt? :)
I'm looking forward to sharing with you my experiences here at SCO and hope that it might answer questions, make you think, or at least give you a good chuckle. Thanks for reading!