What to Listen For: Muhammad Haqq Finds His Path to a Medical Assistant Career

Moe, as he is affectionately known by his colleagues at Carrington College, hardly would have known that he was ever going to find his career as a Medical Assistant. He was born in Sacramento and lived in foster care from age 3 to 18. He says he basically raised himself, taking knowledge from adults and those he felt honestly wanted him to better his life. Perhaps battling through all the self-doubt and hardship way back then, he developed a keen sense of what to listen for.  At 16 he did reconnect with the majority of his original family of three brothers and three sisters, though he was never close to them again (with the exception of one half-brother). Only vague memories of his family come back, in flashbacks from before he was 3 years old. At 18 he was emancipated and living in an independent program through the Volunteers of America. Today, at 29, he earned his Medical Assisting (MA) Certificate of Achievement at Carrington’s Pleasant Hill campus and was hired by the company he externed with before he had graduated. Ten years after his emancipation, Moe knows how to find the support he needs, but most importantly, he has learned how to listen to himself and be his own biggest supporter. This is his story.

Tell me about yourself.

I was born and lived my whole childhood in Sacramento. When I was 3, I was put into foster care.

Wow – do you remember any of your childhood before you were 3?

Not really. Sometimes I have flashbacks of my family. And I do know my Mom and Dad now; they still live in Sacramento. But I rarely talk to them.

Sounds hard.

It was, but I did reconnect with my brothers and sisters when I was 16, although I’m not in touch with most of them either.  I had gotten set up for a studio apartment through the Volunteers of America.  I lived there until I was 18.

What happened when you turned 18?

I was emancipated, so I tried college. I went to the American River College in Sacramento three times, but each time it just didn’t feel right.

Is that when you went to Carrington?

No, first I moved to the Bay Area. I was homeless for awhile, you know, couch surfing at friends’ homes. Then, my half-brother, Hiram moved to the Bay Area looking for new opportunities. We moved in together; we helped each other out.  He had a job at Kaiser as a manager and encouraged me to sign up for a Medical Assisting program. I started looking around and ended up at Carrington in Pleasant Hill.

What made you think of Medical Assisting?

I was thinking of applying for the Vet or MA programs; Hiram taught me about Medical Assisting and pushed me to start with the MA program and see how I like it. Now, I’m thinking I might go for nursing training later.

What did you like about the MA program?

I liked learning more about the body – the anatomy and about how disease works. It helped me appreciate the importance of good health prevention. I rarely have to go to the hospital myself! But I did have a hard time at first with the externship.  It was a struggle.  I got let go from two different externships for reasons that didn’t make sense to me.  I wanted to quit. I was depressed for a week and half, heading downhill. The Carrington Program Director, Victoria Nelson (I call her Ms. V) was so supportive. Even though I had to completely start over my hours for a third chance, I had decided I just wasn’t going to give up. I remembered how I fought through foster care, waking myself up and trying to make a life.  I had to push myself to get through this, like when I almost didn’t graduate from high school because I had a 1.3 grade average. I only had two weeks left before school was over, so I worked like crazy and raised it to a 3.3 average and graduated. Here I was again struggling to make it to the end. But even with the help from Ms. V, it was me who had to decide not to give up. I got hired by a California eye clinic for an externship, and then they offered me a job after I graduated. Third time was the charm!

More than just charm – you really earned that.  Congratulations!! Is there anything you’d like to tell prospective students who may have an idea of what they want to do with their life but are doubting themselves whether they can succeed?

Go for it. Just do it. And you will thank yourself when it’s done. Don’t doubt yourself. Anything you can put your mind to you can accomplish.

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