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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Clinical Medical Assisting student put to truest test

February 23, 2015
Clinical Medical Assisting student Gabby Manoz
Gabby is a 19-year-old who has no doubts about a Medical Assisting career.

If Gabby Manoz ever had any doubts about a career serving the medical needs of others, it was put to rest one day as she was driving along and spotted an elderly woman lying on the ground, flat on her back. Gabby pulled over and ran to her thinking, “This is real and it’s no time for me to panic,” the 19-year-old cautioned herself.

Gabby checked the woman’s pulse, found none and immediately started chest compressions, which she had recently learned to perform in her Clinical Medical Assisting (CMA) program‘s CPR class. “It just triggered: You know what you have to do, so just do it!”

The ambulance arrived just as the woman began to revive. “They told me, ‘Thank goodness you were here or she wouldn’t have made it,'” says Gabby. The lady thanked Gabby profusely, as she was secured for transport to the hospital.

But Gabby knew she wanted to work in a medical environment long before that day on a busy Madera street.  At around age seven, she took one look at Valley Children’s Hospital and said, “I’m going to work there one day.”

Gabby was around sick people all her life. “A lot of my family have had diabetes and cancer, so I was pretty familiar with illness,” she says. “Since I was really young, I wanted to help others and save lives, pretty much.”

The CMA program on the new Madera campus was a perfect match for the career Gabby was determined to have. She had checked the community college system and found it would take years of waiting and piecing together the classes she needed.

Gabby started the CMA certificate program last September with great enthusiasm. She started strong and made the Dean’s List with a 4.0 GPA, while racking up perfect attendance each month.

Two months in, life with her parents unraveled and Gabby left home to live with her grandparents, Betty and Richard.

“My parents were never supportive, always tearing me down and telling me I should be working, not going to school,” says Gabby. She realizes that the previous generation did not value education as much and did not have as many opportunities for college. She wants to be part of the future shared by those who reach a little higher.

“I am the first in my family to go to college, and I’ve doubted myself so much from everything going on with my family,” she says. “But, I’m pushing myself and getting through it.”

It is not an easy push. Gabby works at a local Mickey D’s and feels lucky to have a full-time job. Even though it leaves little time for the fun times most teens get to enjoy, she takes pride in her resolve and hectic schedule.

“There are days I’m zombie status, working, going to school,” says Gabby. “I’m basically taking it day-by-day, doing this on my own.”

“When Gabby started SJVC, I could tell she was very nervous about starting classes, since she was the first in her family to actually attend college,” says Destiny Delgadillo, Financial Aid Officer. “Although she had personal issues at home, she continued to attend class every day and did not use it as an excuse to give up.”

Gabby has found lots of support at school from instructors, classmates, and, especially, Crystal, her study partner and best friend since they were high school freshmen. “She helped me pull through things and we’ve been there for each other,” says Gabby. “We’re making memories, friends; it’s pretty much the life here.”

Gabby has bigger plans. “I want to move up to RN (Registered Nurse),” she says. “First, I will work and pay off all my bills, then I’m pretty sure I’ll end up transferring to Visalia (SJVC) for the RN program.”

Gabby’s grandmother is behind her all the way and is looking forward to a time when Gabby has the career she deserves and its financial rewards. “She tells me we’re going to have money then and we’re going to be going to the casino every day,” laughs Gabby. “I tell her that money is for bills!”

Gabby is very grateful that her grandparents have stood by her. “They’ve been here for me, no matter what and I’m so glad for everything.”

With more of her CMA program behind her than in front, Gabby has gained some perspective on the difficulties she and others have to face in order to get ahead.

“Just keep pushing yourself no matter what you’re going through,” she advises other struggling students. “All of these challenges and problems are just temporary.”

Spoken like someone way beyond her 19 years.

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