With the help of her Career Services Advisor and Instructor, Linda Hernandez Completed the Dental Assistant Program and was Hired by her Externship site Immediately after Completing the Program.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I just turned twenty-seven. I am a single mom, and my son Cilus will be two in August. I was born in Clovis, New Mexico, but I grew up in Albuquerque’s South Valley. I was the youngest in my family, and I lost my mom in 2013 when I was eighteen. I was on my own from there, and it was a bumpy ride. I was lost for a while, and I had to overcome adversity. Now I’m on track and one of the first in my family to graduate from college.
When did you decide to pursue a career in dental assisting?
I’d wanted a career for a while. Then I got pregnant with my son in 2020, and I wanted to be able to provide for him. I wanted to have secure income coming in so I could buy my son a house and be able to leave him something. My son is what pushed me towards it, but I always wanted to have a career. I originally wanted to be an ultrasound assistant, but I knew this woman named Melissa, and she told me about dental assisting, so I looked into it. Then, Carrington called me, and I decided to jump into it. I discovered that I was really good at it and really enjoyed it.
What motivated you to choose Carrington?
I didn’t know too much about college. I looked into their Dental Assisting program online, and they called me. It was as easy as signing up and getting financial aid. You go, and you can do it. I never knew it was that easy. All it took was that step, and now that I know it is that easy, I know I can do it again. It was easier than I ever thought it would be.
What was your favorite part of your program?
My teacher, Stephanie Skansgaard. She put her full everything and attention into us–her students. She was really dedicated to us. I will never forget that. She wanted to make sure we knew what we were talking about when we got into dental offices.
What was the most challenging part of your program?
X-ray, radiograph–to this day I still struggle a bit, but I also understand that they take time and lots of practice to perfect.
Did you ever want to quit when you were in school?
I dealt with a lot of adversity towards the end of the program, during the time of my externship. I was going through relationship, health, and housing crises all at once. I had always been one of the best students and a class mentor, but then I was missing class, bringing in doctors’ notes, and struggling. Oh yeah, I wanted to quit, but I never did.
What got you through the challenging times?
My son, myself, and I guess just promising myself that if I made it this far, I can’t let anything stop me now. I would always make sure to have my homework done and that was the thing that saved me at the end of the day. I had a lot of absences, but my class grades were up. So, coming out of surgery, I would grab my iPad and finish homework before the end of the day. I also always let the school know what was going on with my health and life. Everybody at Carrington was awesome and understanding.
Is there a Carrington instructor or staff member who you would like to acknowledge?
Yes–multiple–Sierra Armstrong, Dominic Guerra, Stephanie Skansgaard, and Sonja Perea.
Please tell us about your current work.
I’ve been having a difficult time finding daycare, so I am not currently working, but I hope to start again soon. I have an interview on Monday.
What do you enjoy most about dental assisting?
The interaction with my patients. Sometimes you get patients who are grumpy and cranky, and they don’t want to talk. I think it is fun to get a smile out of someone so serious. I really want to work with kids. So, I plan to move over to pediatric dentistry at some point in my career.
How did Carrington prepare you for your career?
All the hands-on that we did and the extra time my instructor put into showing us and teaching us what we needed to know was great preparation.
Do you have any advice for people interested in going into your field?
It’s a good career to go into. You see all kinds of different things. I love it. For any career or going to college, all it takes is that one step and just do it! Once you take that first step, you’re going to realize that it is that easy.