Fall 2016
Fall 2016

Balancing Hobbies and Passions
At ICO orientation, new students are told that, “a one-dimensional student doesn’t make a good optometrist.” When you were in optometry school, how did you balance studying with other hobbies and passions? How do these pastimes affect you as a doctor today?

Arol Augsburger, OD

ICO President

Since my wife Stephanie and I got married two weeks before I started optometry college, I had lots of “passion” for activities other than optometry school. We didn’t have much money, but we had a paid-for four year-old car. Gas was 32 cents a gallon and our apartment cost us $87 a month. One of our favorite activities was to go for rides exploring the city, its parks, and historical places, usually for free. In those days, I was still involved with traditional athletics, and played on the intramural football, basketball, and softball teams. Both the intra-city travel and these sports kept me grounded.

Interestingly, these activities are still appreciated today, but the geography for travel has broadened to all over the country in my work promoting ICO. The sports have changed to golf, which I play at least twice a week (often related to ICO,) and optometry business. Oh, and that “passion” resulted in three sons (and now eleven grandchildren) who occupy a special place in our lives.


Robin Rinearson, OD ‘77

I worked in a pharmacy for the 4 years that I was at ICO. I made the unheard of sum of $5.00 an hour… I was on easy street!! I have often said that I only work to support my travel habit. So, the summer between the 1st and 2nd year, some friends from my undergrad school embarked on a 5-week road trip from one end of the USA to the other. I married in December 1975, and at the winter break from the 2nd year of school, was able to go on a trip to England with my family.

I have always needed a physical outlet for energy. I took up a pottery-throwing course that was given in a studio in downtown Chicago and loved it. I could beat the clay and toss it around and get all of my frustration taken care of in a socially appropriate way.

In addition to examining patient’s eyes, I often give travel tips and share my favorite websites for the best fares! I have hung up dozens of photos of wildlife in the office- taken while on safaris and other adventures. I like down hill skiing, scuba diving, and white water rafting. I have taken up woodworking, and turn pens and bowls. I have also taken up fused glasswork. All of these things help my creative outlet and enable me to enjoy all of the things that life has to offer.


Bary Brown, OD ‘75

I grew up in a small farming community in Nebraska. Everyone in Auburn seemed to care about each other. Community involvement meant something. Helping each other was important. At ICO, I discovered that one’s passion to help others was the foundation of a professional practice. It is not what you know that is so important, but why you do what you do.

I participated in the Big Brothers of Chicago program in my second year at ICO. I became a big brother to two boys who lost their father. Their mother struggled with two jobs. She barely could afford rent. For three years, I spent nearly every weekend with them. I helped them grow up, but they helped me even more. Those little boys couldn’t care less how smart I was. They needed to know that I cared about them. In your practice, you will find that your patients will feel the same way about you.

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