Starting out as a first year optometry and vision science student can be a little daunting at times. There are plenty of differences between high school and university to navigate as you acclimatise to your first term. That’s why joining our peer mentoring groups helps you to land on your feet and get off to a positive start.

Peer mentees benefit from the experience and advice of our seasoned fourth year students. Peer mentors help you make the most of uni life and hit the ground running. As fourth years, your mentors will have experience of the classes you will soon be doing, and they will guide you through any confusion or questions you may have in the early weeks.

The peer mentoring program is an opportunity to make friends with your new university peers, friendships you may potentially have for life. Like all degrees, studying optometry and vision science can be challenging at times, so developing a group of study buddies early on is a great way to help your academic progress.

How to enroll in a peer mentoring group

Registration for peer mentoring will be available soon.

If you have any difficulties or questions, email Michelle Wanandy.

  • Sophie Lam

    Hi, my name is Sophie and I’m currently a fourth-year optometry student working as a casual at Specsavers. I love to travel and discover new places, eat good food, as well as chill at home on Netflix. On my days off, you’ll find me spending time at the beach (chasing sunsets) and hanging with my friends and family. Making Spotify playlists is also up there on my favourite past-times.

    Kevin Jiao

    Hey, I’m Kevin and I’m stoked to be able to help settle the incoming cohort of Vision Science and Optometry students into university. Having worked at 1001 Optical and OPSM in Macquarie Centre, and transferred from Vision Science into Optometry, I hope to share any advice on hand and quell any anxieties regarding university. My hobbies include getting involved in church and Campus Bible Study (CBS), reading, playing board games, brewing beer, fishing, and going on hikes with mates.

    Yeun Ji Kim

    Hi my name is Sarah. I’m Australian born Korean currently working at specsavers cbd! Because of lockdown, I picked up new hobbies like playing pc games with friends and discovering new movies to watch in bed. I also enjoy going on road trips and taking photos of my friends on my film camera (I loveee the excitement of developing a roll of film). Overall, I would say I am more on the introverted side but an easy-going and approachable person!

  • Bixing (Barton) Yan

    Hi Everyone, my name is Bixing (Barton) Yan currently in 4th year studying Vision Science/Clinical Optometry. I decided to become a peer mentor because of the amazing opportunity to meet new students as well as the tremendous support that I received through this program back in first year. While studying, I work as an optical assistant in Berowra and a maths tutor to help local high school students. I was also the External VP with UNSW Giving Sight in 2021.

    Emilie Zhang

    Hi, my name is Emilie! I currently work for my parents who own a small takeaway business. I love to wind down and relax by watching variety shows, Korean and Chinese dramas, and anime. I’m also an avid baker, and love experimenting with desserts like macarons! When I’m not being a homebody, you’ll find me going out with friends for karaoke, trying escape rooms, and exploring nice cafes and restaurants.  

    Fiona Gold

    Hi! I’m Fiona a fourth year Optometry student and hopefully soon to be eye doctor! My favourite things to do outside of university are running and reading. I go on morning runs regularly, it’s the best new habit I’ve gained in 2021! I also love reading classics, let me know if you want to join my mini book club! I have worked in independent practice and I’m currently working at Specsavers. I would love to share my two cents about uni life, vision science as well as industry knowledge to help you feel comfortable about this new environment! I am super keen to meet each of you!

  • Medanki Jeyakumaran

    Hello! I'm Madanki and I'm one of the peer mentors. I moved from Melbourne up to Sydney to study optom, so any fellow melbournians please come say hi! I'm also currently working at Specsavers Neutral Bay. In my spare time I like to hang out with friends, explore new hiking spots or  catch up on netflix.

    Helen Lin

    Hello! My name is Helen and I work part-time at a corporate eyecare practice. I became involved in the Mentoring program because I feel that it’s important for mentees to have someone to listen, give advice and hopefully make the transition to university life a more positive experience. In my spare time I like to spend time with family and friends, playing card games, listening to music or playing badminton.

    Ridwan Usamah

    Hey! My name is Ridwan and I’m a current 4th year student studying Optometry. Honestly, I’m your typical university student; I’m an avid foodie, gym enthusiast (when I feel like it hehe) and when I’m not out with friends, I’m either binge watching the next new tv show or gaming with my other friends. I was fortunate enough to begin working in the Optometry industry as an Optical Assistant within my first year and have moved between a couple companies, in doing so, understanding the different directions you could take as an Optometrist. Keen to see you all soon!

  • Alex Qiu

    Hey guys I’m Alex! Whilst my friends know me as someone who loves to nap and occasionally rocks up late to 9am classes, the main descriptors I’d give myself are Christian, introverted and laidback. If I’m not enjoying those lovely naps, you’ll often find me listening to all kinds of music, catching up on shows and working at an independent optometrist! Most importantly, I enjoy studying the eyes and like many others, I transferred from vision science to optometry after third year, so feel free to ask me heaps of questions! Keen to meet some of you guys soon!

    Lauren Nguyen

    Hey guys! My name is Lauren and I currently work at an independent optometry practice in Carlingford. I enjoy doing creative hobbies such as painting, drawing and scrapbooking. I've loved trying new baking recipes (especially during lockdown), and singing karaoke (most often in the shower). I've got a massive sweet tooth, but I like to think I balance that out with going on fun outdoor adventures and walks with friends. I'm excited to meet you all, make some new friends, and hopefully get to be your peer mentor!

    Iris Huang

    Hello! My name is Iris and I love trying out new places to eat. Most of my spare time is spent on listening to music, watching kdramas and dance (ballet and sometimes kpop!). I also enjoy small crafty projects and cooking simple meals. Currently, I work as an optical dispenser and receptionist at a private optometry practice and tutor high school maths students. I’m super keen to meet you all!

  • Alex Lam Chen

    Hi 1st-year students, my name is Alex and I am a 4th-year optom student. I am an international student from Ecuador, so my first language is Spanish. I currently work at Specsavers Neutral Bay and so far, I gained amazing experience and met amazing people working there. As for my hobbies, I work out at the gym and spend endless hours watching Tiktoks. Besides studying and working, I always try to make time for my friends to eat at different restaurants.

    Jacob Escalada

    Hi Everyone!! My name is Jacob Escalada and I'm here to help you all get accustomed to starting university!

    Throughout my life in Optometry I've been both the External Vice President and Treasurer of Giving Sight (Optometry charity) for two consecutive years, as well as been on the subcommittee for Fred Hollows Foundation Social Media and Economics Society. I also work in a full scope independent practice selling luxury frames!

    University is much more than academic success and I believe it's important to have plenty of friends that you can rely on. Within our group you can be sure that we're all going to form tight-knit friendships to tackle uni with, and we'll provide plenty of support for you along the way!

    Kiera Nguyen

    Hi! I am Kiera, a fourth-year Optometry student. I am also Vice President of Externals of the Society of Vietnamese International Students here at UNSW and have participated in many volunteering programs. In my free time, I love hanging out with friends and discovering multiple places around Sydney. After the challenging transition into university, my experience here has been super dynamic and fun. I would like to be your first friend and help you with all things about university life so you could enjoy it as much as I do! I am excited to meet you soon!

  • Reynard Wee Cheng Tay

    I'm Reynard and I currently work in the optical industry as a retail optical assistant at Specsavers. I'm a pretty active and outdoorsy person so in my spare time away from work and uni, you'll probably find me in the middle of a national park on a long hike with friends (or at home planning my next adventure if the weather is poor). I also have interests in photography and I have occasionally been known to take to the skies in a little Cessna 150 slowly working my way towards my Private Pilot's Licence. 

    Rachael Chan

    I'm Rachael and I'm excited to hang out and show you the ropes at uni and in optometry. I'm apart of the furniture at Specsavers and I've worked at Centre for Eye Health so in terms of optometry I am keen to share my experiences. In terms of uni... we've been online for half our degree so waking up early for face-to-face classes will be a joint struggle. I enjoy hanging out with friends, exercising, shopping, eating acai bowls and I lead youth group at my church so I also enjoy sharing any knowledge and advice I can offer.

    Justine Mai

    Hey guys! I’m Justine and I am so keen to become a peer mentor this year. I currently am working as an optical dispenser at an independent optometry store and in my free time I love to draw and make art Tiktoks. They’re pretty dodgy but practise makes perfect :’) I also enjoy discovering different food places with my friends and occasionally like to go on nice hikes with them. I am looking forward to meeting you all and being the best mentor I can be :)

    Kelly O

    Hey y'all I'm Kelly! I'm a 4th year Optometry student who enjoys working out and playing sports. Outside of studying, you'd find me scrolling through Tiktok endlessly as well as messing up my mum's kitchen whilst I'm trying to bake up something sweet!. I've worked at a few different optometry stores over the past years, allowing me to gain experiences in this field outside of uni which I'd love to share with all of you. 

    Keen to meet you all soon!