By Courtney Johnson
CCC Journalism Program
SICKLERVILLE – First-year college student Erika Miller-Land was your average college student until she went above and beyond to work for the Department of Disabilities.
“I started working there this semester and [the department] asked me to continue to work for them in the summer,” states Miller-Land.
What started out as a way to earn some extra money turned into an experience that could influence her entire life.
“My major is for occupational therapy, so the job really helps me for my future,” she adds.
When Miller-Land is with these disabled students, her average day is helping them get around, taking their notes, writing their answers for them on tests, and anything else they need that requires physical activity in class. Her bond with the students was able to reach a personal level when she began helping them outside of class with writing papers and reading and typing their e-mails for them. She mostly does that for her disabled student, Sean.
“Just talking to him and hearing the daily things he goes through and the struggles he has dealt with makes me so grateful. He is such an independent and great guy, and I know that when I go to him and tell him if something’s going on in my life, Sean helps me come out feeling better about myself,” Miller-Land says.
Miller-Land has more school activity than working for the Department of Disabilities. She has also been in the Philosophy Club and the Christian Connections Club. However, when it comes to her life outside of school, she is just like any other student and has her hard times. With a job at Teavanna and living with her single mom, who works seven days a week for long hours, her home life can be rather quiet.
“Yes, sometimes it gets lonely since I am an only child, so it’s nice to have friends,” Miller-Land says.
Miller-Land’s friends are always happy to have her around. Five-year friend Ritchie King speaks about their friendship.
“She’s cool, reliable and just a great friend … She puts herself before others, and she always strives to succeed and I love that about her,” King says.
Even friends she has recently met have seen the greatness of Miller-Land.
“I met Erika through mutual friends. She’s nice, a little [strong-willed] … and she’s funny,” says two-week friend Amiyra Carter.
Life doesn’t end with a career and friends for Miller-Land. When asked what three main goals she wanted to achieve in her life, she replies, “I want to pledge a sorority, have a bunch of kids because I want a big family, and go to Africa and take my occupational therapy there.”