Native Midlander describes journey of self-discoveryAugust 25, 2023

The image to use for this article. Listing image managed through RSS tab. Candice Atwater

On August 31, Candice Atwater will celebrate her 27th birthday.  The occasion will also mark her 27th year of living in the same house in Midland, except for a brief stint during the one semester she attended Texas A&M University Corpus Christi.

“During my senior year at Midland High School, I was accepted into Texas A&M Corpus Christi and was awarded a scholarship in theater arts,” Atwater explained.  “I was very involved in theater in high school and was in Pickwick Players at Midland Community Theatre when I was a child.  I thought that going to Texas A&M Corpus Christi and majoring in Theater Arts would be the perfect fit for me.

“However, it didn’t’ turn out the way I had planned.  It was a huge school and incredibly daunting.  I was overwhelmed and never really felt comfortable.  I stuck it out for one semester, and then came back to Midland and enrolled in Midland College, where I immediately felt at home.”

From January 2016 until Mary 2023, Atwater attended Midland College part-time.  She said that she had to work while taking classes.  

“I definitely was not a traditional college student,” she stated.  “It took me seven years to get an associate degree, and I learned a lot along the way.  Two of the most important things were not to be afraid of commitment and to try everything!

“I soon discovered that Theater Arts was not a very practical degree, so I decided to ‘explore’ other pursuits.  At one time I considered accounting, and then after taking a psychology class, I thought that perhaps psychology would be a good major for me.  As it turned out, I didn’t choose accounting or psychology, but I learned something about myself in every class.

“Midland College was incredibly helpful.  I never had a bad professor.  I loved everything from speech classes with Amy Post McCorkle to chemistry classes with John Anderson.  The chemistry classes were a big surprise to me.  I never thought I would like chemistry, but Mr. Anderson explained things in a way that made sense.  Everyone at Midland College is incredibly helpful and passionate about their jobs.

“I especially liked my biology classes with Shawna Lopez and Joseph Schenkman.  When I took biology, I realized that my career would involve healthcare.  This coming January I will enroll in dental hygiene courses through the University of Phoenix.”  

Atwater said that she also took advantage of the college’s Career & Transfer Center.  This past May, she graduated with an Associate of Science degree.  

While attending Midland College, Atwater held various retail/customer service jobs.  From 2020-2022, she managed the ice rink at Music City Mall in Odessa.  She still coaches figure skating to children ages 3-13.  

“I started ice skating when I was in the 3rd grade,” she explained.  “Then as I got into high school and became interested in theater, I didn’t keep up with skating.  However, about five years ago, I started skating again, and I enjoy it more today than I did as a child!  Skating allows me to focus on the moment and shake off daily cares while gliding over the ice. I also like working with children and teaching them the art of skating.  It offers a unique opportunity for kids to become physically fit while expressing themselves creatively.”

Currently, Atwater continues to coach skating, and she also works as a part-time manager at EntertainMart in Midland.  

“I’m not the kind of person who is comfortable sitting behind a desk.  Through my various jobs in retail, I discovered that I have a ‘knack’ for customer service, and I love working with children.  So, once I get my license in dental hygiene, I think I would like to work in pediatric dentistry.”

Even though Atwater graduated from Midland College this past May, she is taking one more class during the current fall semester—microbiology—in order to prepare for her dental hygiene program.  

“I don’t think I would have discovered a career in dental hygiene had I not come back to Midland and enrolled at Midland College,” Atwater explained.  “I learned how to study and communicate.  Even though it took me seven years to get a degree, it was an incredible journey of self-discovery, and now I’m looking forward to what the future will bring.”  

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