20 Something Optometric Physician

I get asked the following question all the time: “Why did you choose to be an eye doctor?” My answer is always the same, “I always knew I wanted to be a doctor.” I just didn’t know the type of doctor I wanted to be, therefore,  “I shadowed different medical professionals until I determined the best fit for me.” That’s my story, at least what I tell my patients.

The truth is my interest in medicine started as a child but not because I knew anything about the medical field or had any medical field representation in my family, but because I felt being a doctor was the pinnacle of success for a black girl being raised by a single mother on ‘G Street.’ Yes, G Street, as the name kind of implies-its the hood.  There were thieves, drug-busts, shoot-outs and other typical hood rat happenings. I, however, had a prayingggg grandmother who happened to be a school teacher so I stayed in the books. I didn’t want to grow up to be a teacher like her or a social worker like my mommy, so I said I’d be a doctor. Being a doctor “sounded good.” It sounded like influence, power and as Cardi would say, “MONEY!” Most importantly, at least to me,  I knew it would make my mommy proud. So, that’s the path I took. Relentlessly. It did help that I was genuinely interested in science and became intrigued by the intricacies of the body. Plus, school came pretty easy to me so I was never concerned that I would not succeed academically.

Now when I said doctor, I meant medical doctor. I never envisioned anything else. Until I went to Clemson and somewhat ‘found myself.’ In my search for ‘self,’ I realized I didn’t want to go medical school. Mainly because I knew I only could give a maximum of four years to a graduate program. And I came to realize that I could not pursue a career for my mommy. I knew I was tired of school but I wanted to be a doctor; I just didn’t know what type of doctor I wanted to become.

When it was actually time to figure out what I was going to do with my life, I started doing what I tell my patients I did… I worked to figure it out and it worked.

Getting here was was easy part, at least academically. What I didn’t know is how hard it would be to actually be a doctor...A black one…

To be continued...

All Eyes on Me,

Dr. Ward

Brandis Haynes