This week, the Warrior Word sat down with Mrs. Garber, a new social worker at the school. Get to know her as she shares information about her goals, hobbies, and fascinating decision to make a career change.
Tziyona Gheblikian: Where were you born and raised?
Mrs. Garber: I was born in New York and I was raised in Riverdale, New York.
TG: So what brought you down to Florida?
MG: I guess it was kind of a COVID move. I have an 18-month-old son; his name is James, and my husband and I moved out of the city during quarantine, where we were living on the Upper East Side, and we moved in with my in-laws in Long Island. We were there for about four or five months, and over that time we kind of started just rethinking where we wanted to live and what we wanted to go back to hopefully after quarantine ended, and just what changes we could make to better our quality of life. We really just didn’t want to go back to the city. We thought, for a few different reasons, that Florida would be a really good opportunity for us to go somewhere new, join a new community, and for us to be able to be outside year-round and have good weather for us and my son. So we decided to move to Florida.
TG: Do you have any family here?
MG: My grandmother is here; she lives in Boca. Other than that, everyone’s in New York.
TG: How have you been adjusting to the move? With the Coronavirus, I can imagine it would be hard to connect with your new community.
MG: It has definitely been more challenging than it would have been if it weren’t for COVID, but at the same time, I would say that the community here has been so welcoming. I was added to a bunch of different WhatsApp groups, like mom chats, community chats, and places where I could ask questions about pediatrician recommendations or where to go shopping for this and for that, and what parks or playgrounds to go to. Not that everything is open, but there’s a soccer field that a bunch of kids like to go and run around on; things like that are what I’ve been invited to. So it has been really great.
TG: That’s really awesome, considering the circumstances. So what was your dream career as a child?
MG: This actually is a career change for me. I graduated from college about five years ago, and for the last five years, I actually started off my career in the fashion industry. I was working at a bunch of different companies. I started out at a luxury fashion company called Oscar de la Renta. I was there for about eight months and quickly realized that it wasn’t the type of environment and company culture that I wanted to be a part of. It was very cut-throat and kind of cliquey, and just a lot of pressure. I moved around for a little bit after that. I worked at a company called Lord and Taylor on the buying side, and I also worked at Ross stores more recently, which you guys probably know of here in Florida. I was on the buying side there also, but I originally thought that I would love to be in the fashion industry. It was a hobby and passion of mine, and I loved design and clothing, but I came to realize that as far as the career went, it just wasn’t really a gratifying experience for me. I felt like I wasn’t gaining a lot from the actual work that I was doing, but I loved the people that I worked with and I thought that it was a really great opportunity for me to meet different people from different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences, and to build those relationships. But as far as the career went, I decided to go back to the drawing board. I actually majored in Psychology when I was in college; I went to Hunter College. I really loved my Psych classes, and I really loved the purpose of that career. I didn’t really want to go back to Psychology right now, but when I heard about all the different things that you could do with social work, it seemed like a really really great opportunity for me to be able to find that more gratifying career. I’m super excited to see where it takes me.
TG: What exactly will you be doing with us as a social worker at the school?
MG: So at this school, one of the biggest things is that this is a really big learning experience for me, so that’s why I’m working with Dr. London to see how she runs her classes and groups. It is an opportunity for me to be able to work with students in the high school and to meet with students who might just need some extra support and help, and to be able to really offer that guidance and support through whatever they might want to talk to me about. So really, I’ll be there as a support system. Especially during these unprecedented times, where this whole experience with quarantine and COVID is so new to all of us as students and adults, and everyone, I think it’s really important for us to be able to have some extra support. Coming back to school, it might heighten levels of anxiety or just cause a lot of uncertainty and make us really nervous about being in school, or different things. So I think that especially during these times, it’ll be really great just to have some extra support.
TG: What is your main goal at the school for this year?
MG: My main goal for this year is that I hope to form some strong connections with the students, and I hope to be able to create a more positive and supportive environment. I know I keep using the word support, but that’s really what I want to do. I know high school is an amazing time, but it is also a challenging time, and there are a lot of different things going on, whether it’s at home or in school. I’m pretty far out of high school at this point, but it doesn’t seem so far away to me and I hope to be someone that the students can trust and can go to if they need some extra help.
TG: Do you have any goals for the new year, aside from your career oriented ones?
MG: That’s a good question. We keep talking about mindfulness in Dr. London’s classes, and I think that is something I really want to work on in my personal life. I might try some new meditations and different prayers, or praying more, to keep me more mindful and more present.
TG: What are your hobbies?
MG: I like to cook, and I like to dance. I haven’t in a little while, but I was actually a dance minor in college, and I was on the dance team in high school, so that has always been a hobby of mine. And spending time with my baby is another one, he’s so cute.
TG: What’s your favorite dish to cook?
MG: I really like making pastas. I’m big on Italian food. I really like to make a mushroom lasagna, I eat the whole thing every time I make it.
TG: That sounds so good! If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
MG: I think I’m fun, understanding, and social.
Compiled By: Tziyona Gheblikian (12th grade)