Kassandra Becerra, aged 21, is coming to the end of the Medical Assisting program at our Mesquite, TX, campus. Having completed her classes, Kassandra is about to go out on her six week externship in the field. She enrolled and started the program in June last year.
What made you choose Medical Assisting?
Since I was a child I’ve wanted to do something in the medical field. I watched TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy throughout junior high and high school; I used to think “oh my gosh – I want to be a nurse!”
When I left high school three years ago I went to university for my freshman year, then I moved to community college for a year, and then I came to Carrington College. I was working on my nursing pre-requisites at the other schools, but it was taking too long. I chose Medical Assisting to get my foot in the door, but I still plan on getting my nursing qualification.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned on the program?
I guess I didn’t realize how important understanding all the medical terminology is; if you can really get to grips with the terminology, you’re good to go. Once I knew how to break down the words, I discovered that I knew more than I thought! It’s really something to focus on.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned about yourself on the program?
I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I believed I was; and smarter too I guess. High school was pretty easy for me, but when I went off to college that freshman year…oh boy… I was horrible. This year has been so much better for me. I’ve been the person that my classmates would come up to with questions, or look to in study groups.
Tell me three things you wish you’d known about the program when you started?
- To be honest I wish I’d known about Carrington before I went off to a big university after high school. I would have saved myself a couple of years, a lot of money, and probably would have got an entry-level position a lot sooner.
- I wish I’d known we’d have to give so many injections to one another! I know we all have to practice, but sometimes I feel like a pin cushion! The first time I was a bag of nerves.
- I can’t even think of a third. On the first day I walked in I was just going to get a tour – I wasn’t taking it too seriously. I thought I would just finish my nursing stuff, and then go on to nursing school. But they really sold me the school that day; everyone was really helpful and so nice. I was like “oh my gosh – I really want to come to here!” As soon as I walked in I got this really good vibe about the place. I enrolled, had all my financial aid stuff done, and even attended orientation on that first day! I started class the next week.
What’s the biggest thing you wanted to change about yourself during the program?
I wanted to be able to believe in myself – I wanted to believe that I could be part of the medical field, and be successful in it. I guess I doubted myself before – I thought “maybe I’m not going to be good at giving injections, or maybe I’m not going to be cut out for this.” But I was, and I am. I guess I had to prove myself wrong!
Where do you hope your career goes from here?
Well, as a first step, I’m hoping that they’ll find me a good extern site and I’ll get hired on there. And if I don’t get hired, I’ll obviously keep applying for other medical assisting positions. I really want to get some experience under my belt and then get my degree and move into nursing. I’d love to come back to Carrington one day. My ultimate goal is to be a nurse in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in a hospital here in the Dallas area. I believe there are a lot of opportunities around here.
You mentioned that you work, what do you do?
I currently work part-time for the City of Mesquite; it’s at an after-school program for kids from Kindergarten through 5th grade. I pretty much get paid to play with kids for about 20 hours a week; I’m going to miss those kids when I have to leave.
Tell me about your support network at home…
My family and friends definitely support me now; although quite frankly my parents did question me coming to Carrington last year – it was the third school in three years. They really didn’t believe in me when I first started here; they were like “You’re just going to end up quitting that!” but I didn’t. They wanted me to finish doing my pre-requisites at the community college.
But I have to say once they started seeing that I was really enjoying the program, and that I was doing well, that negativity soon turned into positivity! Honestly it feels very good to have proved them wrong. I’m looking forward to them seeing me at my graduation ceremony in September! I’m the eldest of four kids, so I’m proud to be kind of a role model for them too.
What’s the single biggest piece of advice you’d give to Carrington students just starting out?
Three months ago I was about to leave a restroom on campus, when I saw a girl crying. I asked what was wrong. She told me she was going to drop her classes and quit; she hadn’t been in school for years and was finding it really hard. But we talked for a while, and I told her that it’s not really that hard, if you put the work in. You have to want it. I think I helped her – she kept going to school anyway – but it really helped me too when I saw her in and around school. So in terms of advice, I would tell people that if I can do it – you can do it. You just have to want it enough to see it through.
You get an unexpected afternoon off to yourself, what would you do with that time?
I’d probably go shopping! That’s horrible; it’s a bad addiction to have, especially when you don’t have the money!
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