Home Students Five Things I Wish I Knew During My First Year as an...

Five Things I Wish I Knew During My First Year as an OD

Dr. Cornwell-Young talks about five things she wished she knew
Dr. Makayla Cornwell-Young

By Makayla Cornwell-Young, OD, Southern College of Optometry ’23

Editor’s note: Dr. Makayla Cornwell-Young posted the content below on her LinkedIn page. It’s excerpted here with her permission.

Wow, time flies! It’s been exactly one year since I graduated from optometry school. Reflecting on this past year, I wanted to share a few things I learned during my first year flying solo.


Whether that be with other optometrists or ophthalmologists, I highly suggest branching out and meeting your local eye care professionals! We are all serving the community in our own ways and creating a communicating relationship can really fill the gaps in patient care.


I have found that many of my patients do not know much about the medical side of optometry. Refraction will always be our bread and butter, but with the recent changes to education, our vision exams have become a lot more health comprehensive. Spending an extra couple of minutes explaining findings to the patient has instilled confidence and trust that I am addressing all of their ocular health needs—not just glasses!


As with any other young professional, it can be exhausting hearing the comments about looking “too young to be a doctor.” Easier said than done, but taking them with a grain of salt and having a default response ready can really help defuse the situation and move onto the exam. As annoying as they may be, the comments are generally made to be a compliment!


I believe that one of the most important things to remember as a new graduate is when to say “no,” or when to refer a patient to another provider. Whether that be treating something you’re unfamiliar with, a second opinion for a diagnosis or you just don’t get along very well with the patient… it is more than okay to refer out.


The subsequent months after finally graduating from optometry school are going to be the final time you have a true “break.” Make sure that you are making the most of that downtime and enjoy your life outside of school. I know you’ll be eager to start practicing, but you have the rest of your career to work— RELAX!

Happy graduation month and congratulations to all the new ODs! We are so happy to have you as a part of our eye care community.

Read more about the class of 2023 here.

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Growing as an OD While Giving Back

Before Kami Nguyen, OD, graduated from Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry in 2019, she spent more than a decade working in...

The Myopia Collective Names Inaugural Change Agents

The American Optometric Association (AOA) and CooperVision announced the inaugural cohort of Change Agents for The Myopia Collective. The news coincides with Optometry’s Meeting in Nashville,...

School’s Out: Time to Start Preparing for the Back-to-School Rush

If you wait to start preparing for the back-to-school rush in late summer, you’ve already missed a good part of the opportunity, says Tonya...

Dr. Roya Attar: AI Is Essentially the Next Industrial Revolution

Roya Attar, OD, FAAO, MBA, DHA, of Jackson, Mississippi, says that when she first started getting into artificial intelligence (AI) for optometry, "I used...