Sarah Young has a crazy 15 months ahead of her. This month she turns 25 and has a graduation ceremony to look forward to. She is in the process of buying a house, and is planning her wedding with fiancé Ross for August 2014. Add in the fact that she’s just a month or so into her ‘dream job’ and it’s easy to see why Sarah feels that her life has turned in the right direction.
Sarah started the Medical Assisting program at our Carrington College California San Jose campus in May 2012; she completed her externship in April this year, and has her graduation ceremony on June 28 2013.
“I graduated high school in 2007; it was really hard for me because a lot of my friends already knew what they wanted to do. They were going off to four year colleges, but I had no idea what I wanted to do.
So I enrolled at a community college and spent four years earning an Associate degree in Liberal Arts. I picked it because it was the broadest range of classes you could take, so I hoped it would give me choices later on and maybe I’d find something to interest me. But even after I graduated, I was still not sure what I wanted to do. It was really frustrating because I felt I needed to figure it out. I was wasting my time and I was getting older; all my friends were coming home from school and getting jobs.”
Sarah didn’t want to get stuck in a job where she hated getting up to go to work every day. She wanted to find something that interested her, something that would make her excited to go to work. That’s why she found it so hard to choose what she wanted to do. Sarah started to think about career colleges; she heard about Carrington from a friend who had graduated from the Medical Assisting program, and that’s when she began to look in to health care.
“I started thinking that there are so many different things I could do in the medical field, so many different offices, and so many different specialties out there. When I started thinking about it, I realized that I’d always had an interest in plastic surgery. I’ve always watched it on TV and been fascinated by it, but it never registered that it could be something I could make a career out of.”
Once Sarah realized that she may have finally found her direction, she followed her friend’s advice and made an appointment with our Enrollment Services team to take a tour of our San Jose campus.
“They took me around the school and I just fell in love right away; they showed me what I’d be doing every day – I’d go to lectures and then right after I’d go to the lab and practice hands-on what we’d been learning. I just loved that. That’s the way I learn best – doing things – hands-on practice. That’s what really drew my attention to Carrington.”
Sarah considered other schools, but everything seemed to fall in favor of Carrington for her particular situation.
“I did look at other schools, but I was ready to start. Carrington has classes starting every six weeks so I didn’t have to wait too long, and that worked for my schedule. I also liked that it would be the same teacher for lectures and labs. I looked at the enrolled students during the tour and everybody looked like they were having such a good time – the atmosphere was great. I loved what I saw – it just looked like the perfect fit for me.”
Sarah did look into Vocational Nursing, but it was a longer program with class hours that didn’t suit her.
“I was living out in Discovery Bay at the time, so I had a two hour drive each way. The LVN schedule was 8am to 5pm; living two hours away and not being able to work on top of that, it just wasn’t going to work. That’s why medical assisting was the best option for me.”
The greatest revelation for Sarah during her time at Carrington was the fact that she started to enjoy learning – something that she’d never experienced before.
“In general I’d never been that interested in school, so stuff kind of went in one ear and out the other. But at Carrington it just clicked right away – this is what I want to do. The way they were teaching me, it just stuck. It gave me such confidence to know that I’m going to be able to go out in to the job market, put forward what I’ve learned here, and succeed.
I’d never ever felt like that before. It was just a great feeling. It surprised me how much I knew that this was what I was meant to be doing. Yes it took me a little while to figure it out, but once I started I knew this was where I was meant to be.”
That’s not to say that Sarah didn’t have some darker days; times when exhausted she would wonder if it was all worth it.
“There definitely was a point, especially commuting 4 hours every day, that I doubted myself. But I knew that I needed to keep pushing forward. There was a lot of homework when I got home, lots of reading, a lot of stress that comes along with going to school. But I kept reminding myself that in the end it would be so worth it. I focused on getting good grades and paying attention to make the most of it.”
In the months prior to her externship, Sarah sat down with her Career Services Advisor for a couple of hours and talked about what she wanted to do, and the direction she would like her career to take.
“I told them exactly why I’d decided on Carrington, about my interest in plastic surgery. We discussed the possibility of doing my externship in a cosmetic surgery office. If they couldn’t find something like that, then ideally something in dermatology, or something to do with the skin. We worked together and he actually found me a plastic surgery office not too far from the school.
The office interviews their extern candidates before they take anyone on; there were five other students interviewing, but they chose me! I was so excited, it was awesome – I was actually going to do my externship in a plastic surgery office!”
When the office offered Sarah the externship they were very clear about what she could expect, and they managed her expectations very well.
“They told me right off the bat that this is a really hard field to find a job; when people start they don’t tend to leave as it’s a fun place to work and the benefits are good. They made it clear that there wasn’t a job opening, that this was just an externship…and I was totally fine with that. I was just grateful for the experience I would gain because this is where I want to be somewhere down the line.”
But things changed; during her last week the office manager called Sarah into her office…
“She said that they were astounded at my performance, that I was ‘awesome’ with the patients, that I was amazing when assisting the doctors, and that they would love for me to stay! They basically created a position for me! That was a dream come true – I got my dream job out of my externship. It was amazing, I never thought that would happen to me…but it did.”
So having been one of the fortunate ones, having landed her dream job immediately, we asked what’s next?
“Honestly I don’t think I will ever leave this field. If I do move it may be just to another office for career progression, maybe to become an office manager. At the moment I’m happy to be getting more hands-on, on-the-job training; I’d like to learn how to do certain procedures and get certified in different things.”
We asked Sarah for some advice for people reading this who may be considering joining the Carrington College California Medical Assisting program.
“The program is not for the faint-hearted; you really have to dedicate yourself to it. But I promise you that once you get started you’re going to see that this is definitely the right place to be, and if you just push yourself it’s going to pay off in the end. The teachers were amazing, the way they teach you is just awesome. The fact that you learn stuff from books in lectures, and then go straight into the lab to practice what you’ve learned hands-on. It really sticks in your mind.”
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