Home Newsmakers Meet the Student Advisory Board: Paige Wagar, UWO

Meet the Student Advisory Board: Paige Wagar, UWO

Paige Wagar

Paige Wagar has always been disciplined. Wagar competed in ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary and musical theater starting when she was four. Finding that it kept her busy and built “valuable characteristics such as motivation and teamwork,” she’s now transferring those skills she learned to help get through her studies at the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science.

AN UNEXPECTED INTEREST

Wagar knew she had an interest in medicine but didn’t see optometry as an option until she took a part-time position at a friend’s relative’s office. “I took the position as I was frantically looking to fill summer hours,” Wagar says. “At first it was a means to pay for school. But working with patients and learning about various cases got me interested in the visual system.”

The summer after that, she applied to work in a private practice. “I fell in love with the environment, pace, patients and scope of practice,” she says. “The rest is history.”

HONING HER SKILLS

Wagar during a hike.

Wagar now has an interest specifically in myopia management, something that can be “hard to find” in more rural Ontario, she says. “I want the flexibility to gear a practice that fits the needs of my patients,” she says, as she hopes to eventually end up in private practice, “where I’ll have the opportunity to treat underserved populations and fill the gaps in the system.”

The biggest challenge so far has been finding time to do it all, she says. “Eight-hour days filled with classes and labs can make it hard to find time for yourself. I’ve learned to look for even the smallest opportunities to study, such as during breaks or while walking with friends. It can make school more fun and engaging, too. But one thing I’ll never sacrifice for school is sleep!”

An “aha!” moment of seeing what she learned in a lecture being put into action in a clinical case was exhilarating. “Keep going, because in the end it’ll all be worth it,” she says to her fellow students and board members. “Take more breaks, and be kind to yourself. I’m often told I’m my worst critic, and it’s true. I have to remember that no one is perfect, and it’s okay to make mistakes. If anything, my supervisors encourage it, as they say it’s the best way to learn.”

Wagar hopes to visit 30 countries by her 30th birthday.

In her free time, Wagar enjoys yoga, hiking, crocheting and cooking. She has set a goal for herself to visit 30 countries by her 30th birthday. She’s well on her way—she’s traveled to 14 countries in North America, Asia and Europe and will be spending two weeks in Malawi, Africa, in May with the school. By the end of the summer she plans on being at 19/30. After graduation, she hopes to return to Ontario and offer full-scope myopia management to her community.

 

Read other student advisory board and newsmaker stories from WO here.

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