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Stop Stressing & Hit Submit – You Got This!

K Cheng Cover Photo

When I began my journey to optometry school, I never anticipated that hesitation would strike the moment it came to submitting my application. I poured six months of my life into perfecting every aspect of the application (tip: not possible) and I studied each OptomCAS section enough times that I could have recited a good portion of them from memory (tip: this is helpful for interviews, just at a slightly less intense level). If you’re anything like me, the anxiety of not being the “ideal candidate” can feel paralyzing and even insurmountable at the most inconvenient times.

I spent four gap years simultaneously preparing for optometry school and tuning out the persistent self-doubt that nearly prevented me from applying. I knew I would never forgive myself if I conceded so I took the necessary steps to ground myself and build confidence in what I could present as an applicant.

The application process is notoriously arduous and, if you’re not careful, can be equally as lonely. I made it a point to keep a reliable support system and loved ones by my side to keep me grounded and assured throughout my journey. I communicated my concerns and my progress with them, and in turn they encouraged me and held me accountable. Combating application burnout and insecurity is much more challenging alone than when you have people around to uplift you. Reach out to your loved ones during this time, so they can celebrate your accomplishments with you as well.

It took me longer than I’d like to admit, recognizing that the “perfect” application doesn’t exist. Throughout the application process, I experienced a constant underlying guilt that I could be doing more to improve myself and my application. Eventually, the pressure wore me down and I was forced to acknowledge that there was nothing more I could offer. When you reach the point where there are no longer any immediate or viable improvements that you can make to your application, embrace it. Know that you’ve already contributed all that you could and that your intentions and motivations will shine through to resonate with the admissions team.

Don’t wait for some sign or clue that it’s the right time to apply; it doesn’t exist. Trust me, I’ve looked. It’s 1,000% okay to hesitate when it comes to submitting your application, but don’t let the doubts hold you back when the time comes. Create your own perfect moment and be willing to take each step at your own pace, so that you continue moving forward to reach your goals. If you have any specific concerns that might be holding you back from applying or if you need any clarification regarding the application process, please reach out to the SCCO Admissions Team! We Student Ambassadors are an additional resource if you have any questions or need advice. We are more than happy to help in any way that we can. Feel free to reach out to me at The entire SCCO community is rooting for you and will do what we can to aid in your success!

Click here to read Student Ambassador bios on our website!