Pursuing your passion against all odds

As a stay at home mom for the past four years, I hadn’t given thought to the possibility of returning to school. I previously worked as an area manager for a local retail grocer and had placed obtaining my accounting degree on hold after starting my family. Being a military family, we recently moved from spending a short time in Virginia back to the upstate of South Carolina in December 2015. Here, we placed our roots and settled in to the family life.

Our days consisted of spending time with family. My husband went back to work, and continued to serve as an Infantry Officer in the Marine Corps Reserves. I remained active in my sons’ education and assisting in extracurricular activities along with keeping the toddlers busy. Then, in March 2017, we got the news that my husband was soon to be deployed to Afghanistan. At the same time, we learned that my grandmother’s health was declining. I began to spend a lot of time communicating with doctors, nurses and various health care professionals. I realized the impact that they can have on patients and their families.

After my grandmother passed away, I began to re-evaluate my purpose. It had been six months after her initial hospitalization. The care that she received and our family received influenced me to want to be that person for someone. However, the goal of pursuing a career in health care was daunting. I learned that with proper time management techniques, a genuine support system and dedication, anything is possible. Thankfully, my mother moved in and was paramount in my ability to maintain my studies. I made my decision to register at Greenville Technical College and enrolled into the university transfer program, which would allow me to transfer to the Mary Black School of Nursing at USC Upstate. I began mapping out my career to ultimately becoming a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

On my journey to becoming a nurse anesthetist, I learned about the Medical Experience (MedEx) Academy at GHS. I began to research and I discovered that it’s a one-of-a kind program designed to create more interest among young people interested in health care. I immediately became fascinated. I knew that this would be significant in my maturity in health care, and I was right. Since beginning Med Ex, I’ve made influential friendships, I’ve been exposed to the clinical settings of different specialties and I’ve developed a stronger awareness to confirm my career decision. Med Ex is invaluable and it is vital in my progress as a student interested in medicine.

I have learned that with a vision and a plan, your wildest goals could become a reality. The first step is taking the first step toward the direction in which you would like to go, whether that means writing your goals down, talking with a trusted friend, a mentor, or even networking. While I may not yet be where I would like to ultimately go, I hope that I could inspire someone in a way in which I have been inspired.

Octavia Frazile is a 2018 MedEx Academy graduate and aspiring nurse anesthetist. She earned a 4.0 GPA at Greenville Tech while balancing classes, MedEx and caring for three sons during her husband’s deployment. She is the recipient of the debut Robyn Zimmerman Scholarship, awarded to one MedEx graduate who demonstrates outstanding academic performance, community service and leadership. Read more about this inaugural scholarship presentation here.


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