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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Amanda Lay '19

Chicago, Illinois

Major in Biology, Minor in Chemistry

The trimester schedule at Knox is helping Amanda acclimate more easily to the rigors of optometry school.

What are your long-term plans post-Knox?

Currently, I want to be a practicing optometrist, specializing in vision therapy. I want to make this treatment more accessible to all.

How do you think your Knox experiences helped prepare you for what's next?

I honestly don’t think I would have been able to graduate, especially a year early, without the TRIO [Achievement Program] services. They have been there every step of the way. As the daughter of refugees, I didn’t know anything about what financial aid meant, how to pay back loans, or find more scholarships. My TRIO advisor and mentor are the reasons I stayed at Knox and got where I am today. In addition, my professors taught me that I am capable of more than I ever thought. They helped me understand the humanity behind science; rather than shun it, they helped to embrace this intersection into what it is today. It was a long road to graduation and for these people, I am very grateful.

[Also,] the fast-paced trimester schedule of Knox has honed my time-management skills. This helped me acclimate to the optometry school I am at now. Each term here is also 10 weeks. While we take five courses instead of three, I still feel more prepared than my peers who went to semester schools. Previous experience with this pace has also taught me how important it is to be a human as well as a student. Yes, I need to learn as much as I can for my future patients. But taking care of myself is just as essential.

What is the most important thing you learned at Knox outside of the classroom?

It has taught me so much about love. Self-love, loving others, and loving society. I have learned how important it is to advocate for myself as well as others, especially in places that do not want to hear our voices. It has taught me the significance of community and its role in fostering success and promoting change. And it has given me a more secure sense of self, which I am continually grateful for.

What surprised you about Knox?

The amazing people hidden away in this small town among the cornfields. I have met so many people that are committed to making a difference and passionate about what they are going to do. Being in that energy is so infectious and wonderful, and it played such a big role in shaping who I want to be, within and outside of academia.

As a Knox student, Amanda was a member of Alpha Phi Omega, which is a co-ed service fraternity, and Photography Club.

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Printed on Saturday, May 18, 2024