12 YEARS A STUDENT: THE OFFICE

Coworkers can become like family when you spend most of your time at work. You experience life’s ups and downs, frustrations, disappointments, and celebrations together. From Fall 2011 to Spring 2016, the ECA communication center team was so many things to me. They were my teachers, cheerleaders, and sometimes a shoulder to exhale on. We were not only coworkers but friends. They saw my growing pains through young adulthood as I eventually learned how to contain my dynamic personality. My boss taught me how to lead with firm expectations yet a soft ear to listen. She is still a mentor to me to this very day.

Working in a call center you learn how to talk to people and understand their needs. Around mid-2012, I was sitting in my cubicle and began brainstorming potential solutions for issues in the eye care industry. I wanted to bridge the gap in communication between doctor and patient. I desired for patients to be well informed and understand what “happened” to them regardless of how much money they spent at the office. I wanted to end discriminatory scheduling tactics that put less fortunate patients at a disadvantage. Those are some of the many reasons why I decided that I was going to pursue a career as an optometrist.

I am forever grateful for that job which allowed me to re-enroll in college and self-finance my classes. Early on I would commute two days per week and then work the other four days. Towards the end, I was commuting up to 3-4 times per week. I was a terrible student prior to that time, and it was rare to find me in class while I lived in Greensboro (G-boro), but I never missed a day when I commuted. Dedication.

Reflections during this period:

We must be mindful of the energy we bring into any space. All environments have some undesirable aspects but be the change you want to see or be quiet. Everyone is trying to make it just the same. Thank you, former coworkers/buddies for life! I will never forget you!

This series is titled 12 Years a Student. I will share my journey to becoming an optometrist throughout several posts. Subscribe to get notifications for the new posts. Graduation gifts are unnecessary but always appreciated. If you would like to send something, then my Cashapp is $missBERbie or PayPal at paypal.me/missberladyTTC.

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