By Dana Brinkman, New COVT

People ask me all the time, why did you leave teaching? Up until now I never knew how to answer that question, but now I do:

“I left to find my passion!”

I sit here at my desk the Monday morning after the COVD 2018 Annual Meeting and I don’t know where to begin. This past week in Bellevue, Washington I met an amazing group of people, educators, explorers, trailblazers; we started out as acquaintances or friends but as I sit here this morning I have a whole new family! A family who is as passionate and dedicated to this precious job as I am. A family who welcomed me and has inspired me. It’s rare that you find a job that you love! How lucky are we all to have found the COVD Family, surrounded by others who love the same thing?


I was a ball of emotions heading to the conference. I would be away from my kids and my family, I would be flying (I do not like airplanes!), and I wasn’t too sure what this week would be about. Not to mention, how anxious and nervous I was to be taking my exam and sitting for my oral interview!


Going into this experience as a first-time attendee, I expected to just sit and listen to some people speak about ideas and activities; that these people would all be above me, way more knowledgeable than myself. I never expected that by Friday I’d feel sad, never wanting this week to end! I had learned so many new activities and techniques and heard so many case studies about the patients people work with. I had met so many wonderful people who did not act like they were above me, but rather accepted me and even wanted to learn from me, too! I was an equal!


Today, at work, I don’t know where to start! Do I start programming patients with any of the numerous great activities Tom and Jessi spoke about in VT 101? Or do I pull out my hard cases and really look at how we approach strabismus, like Dr. Torgerson and Mandi discussed? Oh, gosh–and then there’s my littlest patients! I could take what I learned from Dr. Baxstrom’s infant esotropia course and try some different things with them, too! My mind is racing and it feels great!

I think I will start by just sitting here, enjoying this feeling I have for this job that I love, alongside a new family who feels the same way. So, I ask you, how do YOU feel on this Monday morning?