Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: Orleans Public Education Network – Olivia Ding

One month into 2015, the office at OPEN is looking markedly different from how it did when I entered back in July. We have shifted gears, brought in new staff members, and moved around a lot of furniture. One of our office spaces was lost to a neighboring organization, which introduced our team to quite the game of Tetris as we tried to figure out how to collapse our desks into the space we have left. After much thought, we moved Julia, our communications coordinator who handles media, into my office. We hauled the printer, copier, and filing cabinet into my office too. Despite the reduced space, I am happier with my new set up: my desk is now directly facing a large glass window overlooking Tulane Ave.

Our E.D. has taken a very much deserved sabbatical. In her place, we have welcomed a new intern who doubles at Cowen Institute, and we are bringing in yet another from Tulane University. I am very excited to have coordinated the interview with my Tulane intern, thanks to the opportunity from the CPS internship fair.  I am very excited to work with the new team members and getting to know my new roommate more.

Our passionate director speaking about the importance of "Community Schools"

Our passionate director speaking about the importance of “Community Schools”

Sending off our director with love

Sending off our director with love: the cake does say “Bye Felicia”

Personally, this has been a month of development for me. I have done a lot of reflection, literally, looking out my new window, pondering what it is about this year that is significant in the global view of my career path. And I came to the conclusion that this service year is informing a huge part of my future career as a physician. My time at OPEN is teaching me patience, empathy, and how to listen to people from very different backgrounds. Though these skills do not directly correlate with better clinical judgment, my medical philosophy is that it’s often equally important to understand the patient with the disease, than the disease that the patient has.

When I started here, we were truly a fast-paced organization, with the office bustling at every hour in preparation for major events like the Convening and the OPEAs. Now that that noise is behind us, our pace has changed significantly, leaving us waiting a lot of the time, waiting for partnerships to develop by their gradual nature. This is important for me to digest and accept. I used to get anxious when I wasn’t reading 200 pages a day, running about doing a million things at once. OPEN has taught me recently to calm my nerves sometimes and practice being OK with waiting. After all, patience is key in fields of work that serve to help people, much like it does in medicine.

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This entry was posted on February 3, 2015 by in VISTA Field Reports.

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