Victoria Davis was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 12, but she has not let that stop her from achieving her goals. She has performed in dance competitions and is on her way to being promoted to manager at Panera Bread while working toward her associate of science degree at Eastfield.
Davis was recently awarded the Myers-LeCroy scholarship for outstanding leadership and academic achievement. She sat down with Et Cetera contributor Daniel Mascorro to discuss her plans for the future and how she spends her time away from Eastfield. Their conversation has been edited for clarity.
Q. How has being diagnosed with diabetes affected your life?
A. It helped me start eating healthier. It took me a long time to realize that these are the things that I am going to have to deal with for the rest of my life, and I just had to adjust.
Q. How did you get diagnosed with diabetes?
A. The morning I was diagnosed my mom and I had just dropped my dad off at the hospital for heart surgery. While [still] in the car we got a call from my doctor. He said to take me to the emergency room immediately because my blood sugar was over 600. So my mom immediately took me to the hospital. I was put in an ambulance and taken to Children’s Hospital, and my dad did not find out that I was in the hospital until he got out of open-heart surgery.
Q. What was your reaction when you found out?
A. I was young when I was diagnosed, so I did not know how serious of a disease this was at the time. I was just like, “Oh I have the disease my dad has now.”
Q. What has been the toughest part of living with diabetes?
A. Not being ashamed of having it. In middle school I would be embarrassed that I had to leave class earlier than other kids because I had to go check my blood sugar and take insulin before lunch. I would try and hide my diabetes. I did not want anyone to know. My junior year in high school I realized that this is something that I will have for the rest of my life. It is a huge part of my life, and I shouldn’t be ashamed.
Q. Who would you say has been there for you along the way?
A. My dad has helped me along every [step] of having diabetes, from the day I got home from the hospital. He helped me take my first insulin shot.
Q. What are you majoring in and why did you choose it?
A. I am majoring in science. It has always been one of my passions and my favorite subject in school. Also, earning my degree in science will hopefully lead to my acceptance into medical school.
Q. What is your career goal?
A. To become a pediatric endocrinologist, which is a doctor for children who have diabetes.
Q. Why is that career important to you?
A. I was very close with some of my doctors [when I was] growing up with diabetes, and they helped me understand so much. This has really encouraged me to help children with diabetes as well, especially since I know firsthand how they feel.
Q. What are your hobbies?
A. Outside of school, I dance competitively.
Q. When did you start dancing?
A. I started dancing at the age of 6
Q. What kind of dancing do you do?
A. I do all forms of dance. I do ballet, jazz, contemporary and modern.
Q. What is your proudest moment in dancing?
A. My proudest moment in dance is when I performed a solo in front of my entire high school for a Black History Month pep rally, and everyone in the audience started to sing along to the song I was dancing to. I felt so happy in that moment. I felt like I belonged up on the stage and everyone was just there in that moment with me.
Q. What app do you use the most on your phone?
A. I would say Snapchat or maybe Netflix.
Q. What are you watching on Netflix?
A. I’m currently trying to watch “Criminal Minds.”
Q. What is your favorite show that you’ve watched on Netflix?
A.“The Office “and “Friends.”
Q. Do you have any pets?
A. No, I don’t, but I really want one.
Q. What kind of pet would you want?
A. I’ve always wanted a golden retriever.
Q. Do you consider yourself to be an introvert or an extrovert?
A. I can be a little bit of both at times. I know when to speak out and start a conversation, but I can also be quiet and keep to myself.
Q. What are your short-term goals?
A. To make all A’s this semester
Q. What are your long-term goals?
A. To get my associate [degree] in science.
Q. Where do you work?
A. I currently work at Panera Bread and I’m training to become one of the managers.
Q. How has COVID-19 affected you?
A. During quarantine, we couldn’t practice dancing in person, so we had to practice on Zoom.
Q. How did having to practice on Zoom affect you and your team’s performance?
A. Being on Zoom did not really affect our performance at all because all of our dances were already finished, so we just had to practice to make sure we did not forget anything and work outto keep our stamina up. When we got to nationals, we were runner-up for the America Loves To Dance championship. We were all so happy to be back on stage again and performing even during a pandemic.