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Carrington College Blog

Years of Medical Challenges Inspire Tucson Student Alex Mulleneaux to Pursue a Career in Health and Wellness

December 13, 2022

Alex Mulleneaux values good health for a very personal reason: she hasn’t always had it.

When she was just three years old, Alex was diagnosed with leukemia. Her life was saved two years later by a bone marrow transplant from her infant brother.

Three years ago, at 29, Alex was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and was, until recently, taking 20 pills a day.

Those life-threatening experiences sparked her interest in improving her own health and wellness—and learning how to help others do the same.

Alex’s dream is to become a master acupuncturist and Internal Medicine physician—and she’s already taken some important first steps toward turning her goals into reality. She completed Carrington’s Pharmacy Technology program in April 2022 at Carrington’s Tucson campus and is currently completing her Associate of Science degree in Health Studies online. She intends to complete massage therapy school next, and then pursue medical school.

“It’s taken me a while to find my path,” says Alex. “I’ve driven for Lyft and Uber Eats, worked retail in a mall, and in food service at a hospital. While each of those jobs served their purpose at the time, I’m interested in a career I can be passionate about. Completing my programs at Carrington is the first step toward making that happen.”

We talked with Alex about what motivated her to become a pharmacy technician, why she occasionally returns to the Tucson campus to mentor students, and the best advice she’d give anyone who’s thinking about enrolling in Carrington’s Pharmacy Technology program.

 

How did you first hear about Carrington College?

Once I decided to enroll in a Pharmacy Technology program, I started doing online research. Google kept linking me to Carrington. I knew I wanted a program that included in-person classes and offered hands-on training, which Carrington did. When I discovered I lived only 10 minutes from the Tucson campus, I scheduled an appointment to check things out. After completing the tour, I decided on the spot to enroll. The next class began a few weeks later, and I was in it. I started my program one day before I turned 31. It was a great gift to myself.

 

What was your experience at Carrington like? What did you like most about it?

I really liked how personal the experience was. It felt comfortable. I felt like I belonged and fit in. I also liked that my class size was small enough that I never felt like I got lost. I also met a lot of wonderful people from a wide variety of backgrounds

 

What first attracted you to the idea of becoming a pharmacy technician?

My interest in becoming a pharmacy technician came from a desire to better understand why I was taking all the medications I was taking, how they worked, and whether I really needed all of them. I was like most people. If a doctor prescribed a medication, I just filled the prescription and took it. I didn’t ask questions. But after I was diagnosed three years ago with congestive heart failure, I was taking 20 pills a day. I was on meds for high blood pressure. I was on blood thinners. I decided I wanted to become a more educated patient and consumer. I found it all very interesting and realized it could be the beginning of an exciting career path for me.

 

When you finished your Pharmacy Technology program, you first worked in retail pharmacies—at a drug store and then at a large supermarket chain. How did you like it? 

When I started the program, I was interested in doing medication compounding at a hospital. I didn’t think I would enjoy working in a retail environment, but it was a great first step and there were things I really liked about it. I loved talking with customers, educating them about their medications, and feeling like I was serving a community. I recently left the retail pharmacy to accept a position with Amazon as a Senior Certified Pharmacy Technician. I’ll be managing my own team and will work from home, taking inbound calls from doctors and nurses and coordinating patient medications.

 

What have you learned about yourself while pursuing your education at Carrington?

It’s actually been a very enlightening experience. I’ve learned that medicine and health and wellness is a field that really appeals to me. It’s what I want to do with my life. I also think I’m much more aware of my strengths and weaknesses. I’ve learned that the best way to achieve a goal is one step at a time. I’ve also learned a lot about patience, balance, and making choices.

As a kid, I was a straight-A student. As an adult, I still tend to understand things quickly, but my challenge is juggling multiple demands—school, work, and life. It’s definitely a skill, and it’s one I’m still developing.

A couple of months ago, I made the decision to pause my Health Studies program. With my work schedule and everything else that was happening in my life at that time, I just didn’t feel that I was able to dedicate the time and energy it required. I probably could have pushed through, but I wouldn’t have learned nearly as much—and learning is really my goal. That experience taught me that it’s okay to respect your limits and take care of yourself.

 

You’ve returned to the Carrington classroom several times since you completed your program to speak with students. What motivates you to do that—and what do you enjoy about it?

My Pharmacy Technology instructor, Debra Golden, has been such a role model and mentor to me. She did so much more than teach me. She inspired me. Returning to her classroom and talking with students about my experiences in the field feels like a great way for me to give back and share what I’ve learned.

 

What would you like to be doing ten years from now?

My long-term goal is to create health and wellness centers that offer therapeutic massage, acupuncture, and quality medical care. I want to become an Internal Medicine physician who specializes in prevention and helping people become—and stay—healthier. I think all of the education, training, and experience I’m getting will help lay the foundation to make that happen.

 

What advice would you give someone who might be thinking about enrolling in the Pharmacy Technology program?

A lot of people go to school because they want to develop skills and gain the training necessary to get a better, higher paying job. That’s great. But before you enroll in a program, I think it’s a great idea to ask yourself a few important questions. What are you passionate about? What really matters to you? Is the career path you’re considering something you can envision doing ten years from now? The answers to those questions can help you identify a career you’re likely to love long after you’ve left the classroom.

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