#WCW - Meet Talia Tee, OD-S

Meet Taila Tunstill. She is currently in her second year of Optometry school at the University of the Incarnate Word Rosenberg School of Optometry. Aside from being an optometry student, she also has her own YouTube Channel TaliaTee, and can be found on Instagram at @talia.tee. 

Why did you choose to pursue a career in optometry versus other careers in the medical field?
I decided to pursue a career in optometry due to the strong focus of physics in that field. I found a great interest in physics while in undergrad at Texas A&M University and when determining my career path, I recognized that optics, which is a large section in Physics 2, is essential to optometry. Also, I was in the position that most pre-health/med students are in, I had to eliminate health professions based on lack of interest and this ultimately led me to optometry!

What is the difference between being Optometry vs Ophthalmology?
Ultimately there are two major differences between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist. The first being that Ophthalmologists go to medical school and then specialize in eye care while optometrists go to optometry school in which their sole focus is on eye care.  The second being that ophthalmologists often have more freedoms than optometrists when it comes to administering services and they usually do surgeries such as lasik eye surgery and optometrists, in most states, cannot.

What has been your biggest challenge thus far in Optometry school?
My biggest challenge has been avoiding burnout. We have to take about 22.5 credit hours per semester and we also have labs, after hours, volunteering opportunities, and other time commitments. With that being said, I have fallen into the trap of pushing myself through all of my obligations without scheduling time for socializing and hobbies. Therefore, I have had to fight the burnout from overscheduling and not prioritizing well.

How did you prepare in undergrad to get into Optometry school?
During undergrad I joined the “AOA” which is the Aggie Optometry Association. This group was a pre-optometry club that shared information on the OAT “Optometry admissions test” and the application process as a whole.

What is the typical day like as an optometry student?
Usually we have didatic learning back-to-back from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Then, later in the afternoon we will go to labs and after hours depending on the day. After hours are required every week but we have an option as to what days we decide to go. After mandatory commitments, we usually go home or hang out in the library to finish assignments and prepare for the next school day and possible quizzes.

What advice would you give pre-Optometry and current Optometry students?
I would tell pre-optometry/optometry students to do a lot of shadowing hours and go to people with different specialties to see what the career will be like and what residency you could potentially be interested in.

What challenges have you faced as being a minority in the medical field?
One challenge that I have faced as a minority in the medical field is isolation. My minority group is usually underrepresented in healthcare so I have often been one of few black students in my class, so I would often feel like an outcast.

What advice would you give to other minority students who are looking to pursue in the medical field?
The best advice I would give to other minority students looking to pursue a career in the medical field is to find a minority mentor. It is always best to find someone that has once been in your shoes and can see things from your perspective and it also helps to start networking and making connections early because those connections will be beneficial in the future.

What inspired you to start a YouTube channel and what has been the biggest challenge as being a YouTuber?

I was inspired to start a YouTube channel simply because I could not find many optometry student YouTube channels when I was applying for optometry school. I feel like it’s beneficial to get a really honest and detailed perspective into the life of an optometry student and that was the goal of my channel. My biggest challenge has been lack of interaction from my viewers. I have pre-optometry students that message me saying they watch my videos to prepare for their applications but never give me clear suggestions on what they want to see and I have a hard time remembering the types of questions and concerns I had before entering optometry school.


  1. Wishing you the very best in your challenges and career live your dream you are A EMPOWER BLACK WOMAN THIS BLACK GIRL ROCK.

    Carrie Tunstill

    1. aw thank you so much! This means a lot xoxo

  2. Awesome thank you so much for your insight! I just want to make sure I will do this right before I go dropping that much money on sunglasses. optometry equipment


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