I’ve always hoped to do something healthcare related, but I didn’t want to be a doctor or pharmacist, so optometry was picked through a process of elimination.
Although my route into studying optometry may not have been as carefully planned as some of my peers, enrolling in the Success Through Education Programme (STEP) is one decision that I’m glad I made. I’ve really enjoyed it – right from when a group of us from university attended a one-day workshop for optometry undergraduates at the Johnson & Johnson Institute.
Whilst there, we heard about the support STEP would offer throughout our pre-reg period – namely a blend of online modules, virtual classes and real case scenarios. The programme has been one of the highlights of my pre-reg period, but there’s one person that deserves special praise.
“Like every STEP mentor, Sonam is an optometrist and recent STEP graduate. It was this personal insight to the programme that I found particularly useful”
When I started the STEP course, we were assigned a mentor for the year. My mentor was Sonam and she was great. She set up a social media group where all her mentees could chat to each other and where she reminded us of any virtual classes coming up. She was really genuine in wanting to help us. Like every STEP mentor, Sonam is an optometrist and recent STEP graduate. It was this personal insight to the programme that I found particularly useful.
She was very efficient and responsive to queries we had about the STEP online modules. Plus, she gave us lots of practical tips based on her experience, including how she prepared for assessments during her own pre-registration period. It was great to have her there to answer questions and offer guidance.
At university, you have lecturers to guide you through things. But in your pre-reg year, you have to be more independent. That’s why having a STEP mentor has been so valuable.