Everyone at some time or another wonders if they are succeeding or not. We’re all hard-wired to desire success, but what does that actually require? As a student and a soon-to-be optometrist, I’ve recently pondered this a lot. In 20 years I want to be able to look back and feel like I’ve really made a difference in optometry. There are a few things we all can do to achieve this goal, whether we’re a student, a new graduate, or even a seasoned veteran who’s been practicing for many years.


First, you have to want it! Successful people have a strong desire for achievement and a passion for what they do. It’s easy to get caught up in the mundane aspects of your job and to get stuck in a rut. My first goal then is to cultivate a desire to succeed and remember why I became a doctor in the first place. This will ignite a fire inside of me to help me become the optometrist I was meant to be.

Second, I’m going to make an effort to participate in local, state, and national optometric organizations. Recently, while attending my state optometric association meeting, I heard an inspiring quote about the profession I’m about to join. The speaker stated that optometry is as successful as it is because we are a family; we are unified. By participating in the AOA and/or its local and state affiliates, we can all strive toward making positive changes to our practice and ensure that optometry remains one of the greatest health professions.

Finally, being active in community service is key. Find a local charity and give of your time. Coordinate or participate in a community vision screening or take part in a mission trip abroad. You’ll be helping those in need while improving your personal and professional attributes, which is a win-win situation.

By keeping these three goals in mind, I hope to increase my chances for success””no matter how I define it. We should all take that first step, though, toward challenging ourselves to be the best optometrists we can be. After all, success is what you make of it!

Reid Cluff is a student at the Rosenberg School of Optometry at the University of the Incarnate Word, graduating in 2017. He also currently serves as 2015-16’s AOSA Trustee.

Editor’s Note: This column, appearing every other issue, is written by a future optometrist who voices their thoughts on the profession. Know of someone who might be interested? Email Ron Kelly at


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