Home New Meet the Student Advisory Board: Lauren Pohl, UIWRSO

Meet the Student Advisory Board: Lauren Pohl, UIWRSO

Lauren Pohl

Meet Lauren Pohl, an Austin, Texas native. After earning a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry in three years from the University of North Texas in Denton—five hours away—she met her fiancé and decided to move back home, leading to her finding her calling and now pursuing her passion.

Pohl, now a second-year student at University of the Incarnate Word Rosenberg School of Optometry (UIWRSO), took a gap year when she moved back in with her folks. With a degree in hand, she saw an opportunity to save up some money while finding her niche. “I knew I wanted to pursue a health profession but wasn’t sure exactly what,” Pohl says. “I had ruled out pharmacy and nursing through shadowing, and thought I should give an office job a try.” After a year at the first of what would be various optometry office positions, Pohl decided to commit fully and apply to the optometry program at UIWRSO.

Pohl with friends at the Capitol (l-r) Rosembrant, Emma, Kenneth, Olivia, Pohl

MEETING MANY MENTORS

Pohl found out relatively early in the review cycle that she had been accepted to UIWRSO. “I had plenty of time to work before starting my courses,” she says. She credits two optometrists she worked with—Quyen Hamilton, OD, of Lewisville, and Chris Vincent, OD, of Austin—for reinforcing that she had made the right choice during her time working with each of them.

“Dr. Hamilton invested in me and showed me what went into being a dedicated doctor,” Pohl says. “She is one of my biggest inspirations, and I think about her often. Dr. Vincent really took a lot of time to teach me a tremendous amount as well.” It was that feeling of a supportive community that reminded her that UIWRSO was the place to be. “I don’t feel like everything at school is a competition to be the best in the class,” Pohl says. “We all hold each other up and help each other become better clinicians. Plus, our professors have been so easy to get in touch with, and most have an open-door policy. They are so helpful and really want the best for you.”

(r-l) Pohl and her classmate Josey

WORTH THE WAIT (AND STRESS)

While studying optometry may not be the easiest path, Pohl says not to worry if you find yourself stressed. “Burnout is inevitable in a program of such high intensity,” she says. “It helps me to remember how badly I wanted to be where I am today and how hard I have worked to achieve what I have so far.”

Giving yourself some grace helps, too, she says. “I like to think about the fact that I was chosen to be here. This is not something you stumble in to via dumb luck. The pool of applicants every year is large; I know that more than one person felt I was deserving of my spot here.” That, plus her “great group of friends” and her fiancé Chandler, have helped keep Pohl’s eye on the prize, which she says for now is getting through the program and prepping for her August 2024 wedding.

Pohl and her friends, (l-r) Olivia, Pohl, Rachel, Josey and Justise

“I’m starting to think about what I want to practice… I feel that there is more to learn about each specialty, so I’m keeping my options open,” Pohl says. She says her interest has piqued so far in dry eye and myopia management, and she says she “looks forward to being immersed in even more of the field.”

OUTSIDE OF CLASS AND CLINIC

Pohl and her fiancé, Chandler

Pohl is the student social media representative for the UIWRSO student body (check them out on Instagram @uiwrso). She is the President-elect of the student chapter of the Texas Optometry Association. She also enjoys sharing her journey on her personal Instagram and TikTok @laurenopohl. In her free time, Pohl enjoys cooking, baking, photography and playing video games with her fiancé, including Red Dead Redemption 2, Skyrim, Pikmin, Animal Crossing: New Horizons and The Sims.

Pohl with friends, (l-r) Olivia, Emma, Sadeah, Pohl, Rachel, Justise and Mo

 

Learn about the other members of the student advisory board here. 

View more newsmaker stories from WO here. 

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