Studying Orthoptics gave me the motivation and direction I was looking for in my career path.
I graduated with a Masters of Orthoptics at the end of 2017. Prior to that, I had completed a Bachelor of Medical Science at the University of Sydney with a major in Physiology. I am currently working in the field of Orthoptics as well as undertaking a PhD with a focus on neurological vision disorders. Despite my predominately science background, I am a big music and visual arts fan, and enjoy going to live shows and art exhibitions whenever I can.
I decided to study Orthoptics because I have always had an interest in healthcare and Orthoptics provided the opportunity to work in a field that was both challenging and rewarding. I wanted a career that would allow me job security, the opportunity to work in a variety of different settings, but also one that would allow me to make a positive contribution in some way. After doing some research on the field of Orthoptics, I realised it had the potential to provide all of these things, and that is what finalised my decision.
I chose UTS because the university had a good reputation with high-quality education and facilities, and I had heard that it was also undergoing active redevelopment to improve its courses and expand the resources available to its students. I liked the idea of attending a university that was dynamic and innovative in the way it educated.
The course had many highlights for me, including my interstate placement in Brisbane which felt a bit like a working holiday. I was honoured to have been awarded the Lance-Jolly Prize upon graduating, which I now hang proudly beside my desk. The biggest highlight though was probably meeting a group of friends that became more like family.
Studying Orthoptics made me realise my potential and gave me the motivation and direction I was looking for in my career path. I feel the experience has helped me develop as a person and made my professional goals clear whilst helping me to achieve them.
Orthoptics was a very different experience to my undergraduate degree. It was a smaller cohort where not only did you know your lecturers' name but they knew yours. The content taught was specific and applicable, and there was a definite purpose to every class, every practical, every assignment. Assessment schedules were discussed with the students and based around their feedback, and the teaching staff always made themselves available to students who had questions or needed help. It felt like everyone wanted you to do well, and as a student, you had the support of the staff and your peers.
The teaching staff were always very helpful. They made a real effort to make sure we as students felt confident in our knowledge and skills.
I am currently doing a PhD in Orthoptics with a focus on vision care and rehabilitation of stroke survivors in Australia. I am also working casually as an Orthoptist and now as a practitioner teacher in the School of Orthoptics.
I plan to finish my PhD and aim to continue to contribute to research in the area of vision rehabilitation. I hope that my future as an orthoptist will allow me to gain experience in a variety of specialties so that my contributions to the field as a clinician, researcher and teacher are targeted and relevant.
My advice to future students is to stay organised. It seems clichéd but good time management is so important in a Masters degree and life in general. Also, you don’t have to abandon your social life and hobbies to do well – balance is key. Work hard during work-time and it will make your leisure time that much more enjoyable because you know you’ve earned it!
A highlight of my time here was definitely my involvement in the many events organised by the Student Orthoptic Society, particularly the end of year ball. Everyone in my cohort got along really well and even under the stress of doing a Masters, we always managed to have a laugh inside and out of the classroom.