Meet Allison Binnie, Class of 2021
When Allison Binnie was a thirteen-year-old, she set a lofty goal for herself.
“During a recent move, I found my old yearbook from grade eight - and discovered that I predicted I would become a successful optometrist,” laughs Binnie. “I don’t even remember writing that!”
This June, Binnie is officially reaching her childhood goal by receiving her Doctor of Optometry.
Binnie says it’s not surprising to her that her younger self considered optometry to be an appealing career choice. “I always knew that I wanted to work in health care, but medical school never really felt like my calling,” said Binnie. “When I looked into optometry, it looked like a career where I knew I could help people, but I’d also be able to have a really nice work-life balance.”
When thinking about all she’s accomplished in the last four years, Binnie says she is grateful to have had many opportunities throughout the program to put into practice her learning. “By the time you get to third and fourth year, you’re really given the opportunity to make it real,” said Binnie, noting especially the opportunities she had to spend time in private clinics during her clerkship rotations.
“Being outside the academic bubble, I feel like I learned a lot more about the business side of the profession – like how to manage staff, or ways to build efficiency within your business,” said Binnie. “Picking up those skills will be so helpful down the road if I choose to buy into a clinic or open my own.”
For Binnie, some of her best memories on campus came from her volunteer roles. During her first year on campus, Binnie became a first-year social representative for the University of Waterloo Optometry Students’ Society (UWOSS). In subsequent years, Binnie served as the Vice President, Internal where she was involved in planning and organizing UWOSS’s social events, including Skit Night, EyeBall, EyeScream and the Corneal Cup. Binnie also joined Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH) for an optometry mission trip in 2019, travelling to the Philippines’ capital city Manila, providing eye care to underserved populations.
“While all of these experiences were first and foremost really fun, they also helped me build some amazing life skills,” said Binnie. “I know it can sound cheesy – but if you’re a new student, I really encourage you to think about getting involved!”
In the fall, Allison will begin a full-time position at East London Optometry in her hometown, imagining someday buying into or opening her own practice. She’s excited to start this new chapter in her life, after spending so many years in school. She is looking forward to all that awaits her as she joins the profession she aspired to as thirteen-year-old.
“I am so happy with the path I’ve chosen. I love optometry, and I think it will be such a great career for me, that will allow for so much growth.”