Graduating senior De’Ja Montgomery accepted into the University of Houston’s College of Optometry

Graduating senior De’Ja Montgomery may not have enjoyed wearing glasses growing up, but she loved visiting her eye doctors, who sparked her interest in optometry.

“I was a child who was insecure about wearing glasses,” said Montgomery, a chemistry major at Alcorn State University. “However, I visited amazing optometrists who eased my anxiety while informing me about the field. The doctors’ care and intelligence inspired me. This led me to ask more questions about the field.”

Years later, the Houston, Texas native follows in her doctors’ footsteps as she was accepted into the University of Houston’s College of Optometry. The College’s mission is to lead in the discovery and dissemination of knowledge in optometry, vision, and clinical care with unparalleled excellence, integrity, and compassion.

Admission to optometry school has pushed her closer to her destiny. She’s excited to begin her journey toward becoming Dr. Montgomery.

“Words cannot describe how I feel to be a step closer to fulfilling my dream. I am beyond excited to focus only on my field of study. I’m ready for the long hours, clinicals, labs, and patient care. This is a step closer to accomplishing my dream of becoming a doctor.”

Montgomery reflected on her path and how learning about eyes and their functions turned her interest in optometry into her passion.

“The eye is a fascinating, yet complicated, organ. It’s the main organ of the visual system. You can diagnose many illnesses such as diabetes, certain cancers, and hypertension from an eye exam. I love learning about optometry. My interest grew as I got older and had more eye exams.”

Creating bonds with her future patients is what Montgomery anticipates the most about her upcoming education and career.

“I look forward to the patient/doctor relationships that I will build. Watching my patients grow while giving them tips to maintain healthy eye care will be worth all of the work.”

The road to her acceptance into optometry school presented several challenges for Montgomery, the most pressing of them being time management. Being a student while securing her future taught her the importance of prioritization.

“Applying to professional school while being a full-time undergraduate was a challenge. I had to attend class, study, and complete assignments, but I also had to plan for my future. That consisted of figuring out the best day to take my optometry admissions test, planning a study schedule, securing internships, and taking care of myself. I had to plan and organize to overcome these challenges.”

Despite the rigors of securing her future after Alcorn, Montgomery’s four-year undergraduate experience was life-changing. She appreciates her Alcorn years for transforming her into a well-rounded individual.

“My college experience was fun, challenging, and unforgettable. The past four years at Alcorn have been essential to my growth as a student, friend, and person. I faced several challenges along the way, but I handled my business. I made several friends, joined clubs, served in positions, and had a lot of fun.”

Learning from some of Alcorn’s best professors taught Montgomery many study tactics to succeed in class. She appreciates her teachers’ ability to strengthen her mind and study habits.

“I was exposed to several teaching styles. It forced me to learn and study differently. It was not easy, but once I grasped my studying style and built my confidence in my field, I got a handle on being great academically. Alcorn has prepared me by giving me a great foundation while allowing me to grow in optometry.”

Montgomery understands the weight that an Alcorn education carries. Earning a degree from the University is a testament to her determination to succeed, and it motivates her to accomplish more in the future.

“It feels fulfilling to earn my degree. I can’t believe it! To earn a degree from a school with such rich and important history makes me want to continue accomplishing my dreams.”