By Rasika (Khatu) Whitesell, OD, Class of 2013

Currently, I am practicing in Wilmington, NC, with Myeyedr. I have two small boys, ages 2.5 years and 9 months old. Also, I recently completed the NC Optometry leadership program and served as secretary of my local optometry society in 2016-2017. I have loved getting involved with the leadership side of optometry and look forward to becoming more involved in the future.

I graduated from the UAB School of Optometry in 2013, but it seems like just yesterday that I was walking the halls of the Henry B. Peters Building cramming for my next exam. There are so many things I have learned after graduation that one cannot put into words until you experience it for yourself. I will be sharing some tips with you on what I have learned after graduation. 

Tip 1:

Networking is important! In this day and age it's so important to be present in a virtual setting such as social media. Instagram is how I actually got the opportunity to do this article. I have an eye health and wellness page on Instagram (@mrsindianeyedoc) that helps educate the public about eye health and eye exams. I started this page in August 2019 after I saw a few misleading blogs about eye exams. I also followed a few different types of doctors on Instagram and loved the message they were able to spread across the whole world, not just in their own city. Through social media I have been able to connect with doctors from around the world who also practice optometry and it's so interesting learning all the different sides to our field!

Tip 2:

Learn to speak up and advocate for yourself at your place of work, especially if you are not a practice owner. This is a tough skill to learn right out of school. We were all new grads at one point in time and nervous to demand too much at first. It is okay to ask for what you want whether it be higher pay, more PTO, better equipment, better hours, etc. The people you work for may say no but what if they said yes? 

Tip 3:

Try and pay off your student loans as soon as possible. Once you graduate it is tempting to not ‘live like a college student’ anymore and buy the house and the car. If you can buckle down for a few more years and maybe even stay at home with family and pay off the loans, you will be more successful in the long run.

Tip 4:

Stay in touch with your friends from school, they are now your best friends and colleagues for the rest of your life. I have a group text string with five of the best optometry friends a girl could ask for and we chat every day about life and all things optometry!

Tip 5:

Get involved with your profession! Optometry is a legislative profession—we are constantly fighting for increased scope of practice, especially in North Carolina where I practice. Be a leader at your local society meetings and try and get your colleagues involved. Do not rely on others to push your profession forward. Do your part and pitch in to help and your practice will thrive as well. Let's all work together to better our profession for ourselves and the future of optometry!

I hope these tips are beneficial to you! If you have any questions about how to get involved please reach out to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..