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I majored in fashion design

When I tell people that I majored in fashion design from UC Davis, many think that I am this amazing fashionista knowledgeable on every high fashion brand available, however; I actually majored in fashion design to learn how to sew, dye, and make my own clothes.

Fashion design in undergrad was my outlet from all the tedious organic chemistry courses, where I had no idea whether the hydroxyl group or the methyl group had to attach to another carbon molecule.

Although sometimes it was very intricate and troubleshooting, fashion design served as a form of mental therapy helping me ease my brain, recharge, and approach my optometry pre-requisites courses with a clear mind.

It was a great decision

Being able to have an outlet in undergrad was possibly one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only did it allow me to stand apart during the application process into optometry school, but it also allowed me to have a hobby I can actually get excited about.

However, now that I am in optometry school, I rarely have time to sew as much as I would like. The only project that I have completed for myself was the white coat that I used for our pre-clinic course; since then, I have really not had time to touch the sewing machine at all.

It was not until I took notice at a particular accessory of men’s clinic attire during my second year that I found my sewing passion re-ignited; the bow tie. So what did I do you ask? Of course, I had to get into the bow tie business.

The bow tie business

I began sewing bow ties for my classmates and realized how much I missed sewing. I realized that maybe this was my missing piece in optometry school: continuing partaking in this hobby of mine to help me de-stress.

With all of the midterms and finals that seem to come all at once, it is really difficult to step outside of set aside some time for myself. There are always many events and meetings for students to attend, and with the thought of studying in the back of my mind, it almost seems like there are not enough hours in the day to complete them all.

Nevertheless, I did not want to over market my bow tie business, I wanted it to feel a bit more exclusive. Once I decided to market my business on Instagram, I had to remind myself that if this became another stressful activity in my life, I would have to cut it out because of my priority in life, as of now, is optometry school.

Our success is connected to our happiness

Sewing normally takes a couple hours to prepare the patterns, the fabric, and the minor details; however, sometimes the decision whether to use those two hours to memorize a fact for optometry school or cut fabric becomes a very hard decision.

My main goal when starting this small business was to give myself study breaks in order to remind myself that stepping away from the books was the healthier option.  I did not want to try to juggle much more than I could handle.

I think many students, like myself, can get caught up in only trying to get good grades, but we need to realize that our success is connected to our happiness and well-being because that can easily be forgotten.  What crafts, hobbies or interests do you pursue to relax during Optometry school?

Denise Tirado
Denise Tirado is a third-year optometry student at UC Berkeley School of Optometry. Denise received a BS in Design, emphasis in fashion, at UC Davis. She is currently the president of UC Berkeley's National Optometric Student Association and has been a member of the Beta Sigma Kappa chapter for 2 consecutive years. Denise has volunteered for VOSH Nicaragua 2015, and one of her goals in her optometric career is to help educate the Hispanic population on the importance of eye care. Instagram: @bearsbowtique

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