The Fear of Becoming the Odd One Out

For most Canadian students, the route to becoming an optometrist is simple
considering there are only two universities in Canada that offer this wonderful doctorate.
The choice between the two schools of optometry is influenced by one main factor.
Unexpectedly, this factor is not related to the difference in the quality of education, but to
a language barrier. Sadly, we find ourselves limiting our options and choosing between
schools based on if we can or cannot speak French.

…my fear of not meeting the French language requirements was making me oblivious to
the fact that I was a perfect candidate for both schools

As a mainly English speaking university student from Ontario finally deciding to
apply to a school of optometry, I found myself narrowing down my options and realizing
that I basically only had one to choose from. I speak both English and French, however,
my fear of not meeting the French language requirements was making me oblivious to
the fact that I was a perfect candidate for both schools. My biggest fear was being
judged by others and by the interviewing committee based on my French communication
skills instead of my academic accomplishments as well as my passion and interest for
this magnificent profession.

I am now in my first year of my doctorate at Université de Montreal. Which goes
to show how ridiculous it was of myself to almost not consider Université de Montreal as
an option. This being said, I strive to help other students that are faced with the same
decision that I was by abolishing this foolish and imaginary restrain we convey upon
ourselves because of our fear of not being good enough in French. The way that
Université de Montréal accommodates English speaking students exceeded my
expectations by a great deal. Never do I find myself worried or held-back by a language
barrier. Moreover, my class colleagues help me as well as I help them. For example,
considering that in the clinic we do not choose who we treat, it isn’t unlikely for us to be
paired with an English speaking patient. Furthermore, I have improved the quality of my
french vocabulary. Having said that, I no longer see french as one of my weaknesses,
but as one of my assets as well as one of my best qualities that may create additional
opportunities for myself in the future.

I think that this information should allow
future optometry students from Ontario to consider both universities equally.

Additionally, for those who may not know, Université de Montréal sets aside five
positions for french speaking students from Ontario. When this was brought to my
attention, I was convinced that this meant I had even fewer chances of getting accepted.
I kept thinking, over and over again that there was only five positions to accommodate all
the Ontario students that apply to Université de Montréal. Normally five is a small
number, yet we have to compare it with the total number of students accepted per year.
With this point of view, five does not seem so bad after all. Nonetheless, I am the only
Franco-Ontarian student in my class. Therefore, I think that this information should allow
future optometry students from Ontario to consider both universities equally.
My ultimate goal is not to promote Université de Montréal, but to allow future
optometry students to keep every door open and have as many options as possible

 

 

 

Written by Brittany Yelle – Université de Montréal. OD 2020. 

The Fear of Becoming the Odd One Out