Ambraya Grisby was the oldest of seven kids growing up in a single parent household in South Stockton, California. Her mom worked hard to support the family but as the oldest, Ambraya had to help. In seventh grade she was pretty much raising her baby sister, finding time for homework and watching two other younger siblings.
But Ambraya kept working hard. She graduated high school, then worked two jobs to take care of herself, her baby sister and another baby that her mother had a month before Ambraya graduated. 18 months after high school she knew she had to get herself a career. She had to make a change.
“I graduated a month before my 18th birthday and I’ve been working two jobs since. I thought I’ll put off school a year, I’ll wait to go back, because I needed to put some money in my pocket. Helping my mom was my goal, or at least being able to take care of myself so she didn’t have to. That’s been something I’ve tried to do since I was able to work. But to be honest I wish I’d gone to Carrington the moment I turned 18, I really do. I’d already have my associate’s by now. I was making excuses and I wish I hadn’t.”
Becoming a Medical Administrative Assistant
Ambraya graduated from the Medical Administrative Assistant (MAA) program  at the Stockton, CA, campus in October 2016. She then enrolled in the online Health Studies program  to pursue her associate degree and continue her education. But why did she choose health care?
“Originally I wanted to be a mechanic, but being able to make a real difference in someone’s life is what drew me to health care. My grandmother and I were very close. I was 16 when she got sick and passed away. That was the moment I realized I wanted to make a difference. When she died, I honestly felt it could have been prevented if the process was better. I wanted to be part of that change.”
Ambraya chose to pursue a career in medical administration. She has some patient care experience working as a caregiver, so she had a taste of what it might be like to be a medical assistant . That experience showed her that she’s better suited to an admin role.
“Nurses and medical assistants obviously play a very big part, but they carry a lot on their shoulders, especially nurses. They have a lot of patient responsibility. I’m happier in administration. I love dealing with the paperwork part of it. I love answering the phones and reaching out to patients. I’m not a very big part of the change, where I’m changing someone’s life completely, but I’m part of the process. I’m saving patient’s time, money, things like that. What I do, and how well I do it, can make a difference.”
Ambraya did her MAA externship at a dental office in Stockton. The office talked about hiring her but, at the time, they wanted someone who could also speak Spanish.
“They loved me, and I still have a good relationship with them, but they really wanted someone bilingual. I don’t have that at the moment, but it’s something I’m willing to work on for sure because I know it will open up a lot of opportunities for me.”
After graduating the MAA program, Ambraya decided the time was right to continue her education. Going on to study for an Associate of Science degree in Health Studies wasn’t what she had in mind when she first came to Carrington.
“I’ll be honest, it wasn’t something I’d thought about because going back to school was a challenge for me. But I thank my lucky stars, and every person that encouraged me, because it’s been a lifesaver. I told myself that while I may not really want to go back to get my associate’s degree, if I didn’t do it now, it would only take longer to get it later. So I decided to get it over with while I’m young. It looks better on my resume, it feels better, and I think it’ll bring me more prosperity and opportunities.”
After the disappointment of not getting a job with her externship site, Ambraya soon got a job as a front office coordinator at Midtown Optometry. She’s also a part-time caregiver, providing companionship to senior citizens. With two jobs and studying for her associate’s degree, she has a very full schedule. But how does she like studying online compared to a campus based program?
“It’s a lot more convenient to do online courses. I can work on it how and when I want to. But it’s definitely a challenge because you’re not sitting in front of a teacher with them explaining it you. You have to roll with the punches and figure it out. But it’s very convenient for someone like me who’s trying to get my career started and build my future. Unfortunately I’m a big procrastinator – I’m trying to work on that – but with the other things I’ve got going on in my day to day life, it works out well for me.”
Love Your Work!
Ambraya is a few months into her job at the eye doctor’s office and she couldn’t be happier…in fact she can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning!
“I love it! You know how some people just wake up and hate their job? They roll over and go back to sleep until they have to get up? Well I wake up and I’m not mad about it. I enjoy it! I was hospitalized a couple of weeks ago and I was trying to get out of the hospital so I could go back to work! I love going to my job, I love being there, I love the doctors – it’s a great experience.”
Stick With It & Search Out Scholarships!
When it comes to advice for future students, Ambraya has some great words of wisdom and an insider tip for searching for some potential financial assistance!
“Stick with it and don’t give up. You’ll hate yourself if you don’t put the effort into it. You are your best investment, so invest in yourself – it will only help you. Yes it might take some financial aid or loans, but there are scholarships and plenty of things out there to help you make it through this journey. 
She speaks from experience when talking about scholarships; Ambraya applied for a bunch of different ones. She won one while she was enrolled in the MAA program last year, as well as the ESL101 scholarship she won this February. Ambraya used the scholarship funds to help pay for her tuition and fees.
“I found the ESL101 scholarship through iGrad. I’d asked my counselor what kind of scholarships Carrington students qualify for, and she told me about the site. It’s a website that helps with courses on financial aid and stuff like that. I was on the site one night applying for scholarships and I came across ESL101. I applied and submitted my essay. I was shocked when I got an email back to say I’d been shortlisted.”
Give Yourself Credit
Most people learn something about themselves when they go back to school. Ambraya was no different. She’s discovered some life-changing things at Carrington, things that should help her succeed in life.
“I learned that when I start something I don’t give up. I’ve always doubted myself, never given myself the credit I deserve, but at Carrington I’ve learned to think more highly of myself and what I bring to the table. If you don’t believe in yourself, there’s no way anyone else is. Carrington helped me see who I really am, who I want to become, and what I want to do with my life. Even though I’m only entry-level now, I’m going to make it up there for sure. Carrington has helped me see that I have to have a career in this life. Because just working a regular job is not going to be enough for what I need to be up there in life. That’s what Carrington really opened my eyes to.”
 Important information about the educational debt, earnings and completion rate of students who attended this program can be found at https://carrington.edu/degrees/medical-administrative-assistant/.
 Important information about the educational debt, earnings and completion rate of students who attended this program can be found at https://carrington.edu/online-degrees/health-studies/.
 Individuals seeking to enter this career field may be subject to screenings such as, but not limited to, criminal background checks and drug/alcohol testing prior to externship, to attain occupational licensure/certification or employment and throughout their careers.
 Student loans, grants and scholarships are available to those who qualify.
 Carrington College does not guarantee students will qualify for the ESL101 scholarship.