Diagnostic Medical Sonography student makes short-term sacrifices for long-term success
How much determination should students expect to have to get the education they need for the career they want? Miranda Reveles digs deep to stay on course…and set the example.
Miranda is up at 4 a.m. every weekday morning and on the road by 5:30 to make the 90-mile drive from Visalia to the Bakersfield campus for her Diagnostic Medical Sonography program’s first class. When school ends at 1:10 p.m., she has less than three hours to pick up her younger sisters in Tulare, take them to her mom’s in Visalia, and hug her own sweet, almost 4-year-old daughter Cataleya before heading to her 4-11:30 p.m. job at Walgreens.
After work, she studies and catches up with husband Jose before heading to bed at around 1 a.m. You do not have to be a math wizard to figure out that Miranda gets around three hours of sleep each week night.
What can make a person maintain that kind of schedule?
“What pushed me to go to school was having my daughter,” says 23-year-old Miranda. “I wanted to give my daughter things, the house, the lifestyle, I never had. If I hadn’t had my daughter, I would probably still be working in retail.”
Miranda and her seven siblings were reared in a household with few comforts. “I grew up with hand-me-downs; never really ever got anything that was brand new,” she says. “Money was really bad and there were times when we would go without electricity and hot water so that mom could put food on the table.”
When Miranda was 18, she started dating the man who understood her drive and would become her strongest supporter. Jose encouraged her toward her dreams of a career in the medical field.
But right after Miranda enrolled in SJVC’s Clinical and Administrative Medical Assisting (CAMA) program at the Visalia campus, Jose lost his job. Miranda felt as though she should drop out of the program, but Jose reassured her that they would get through it. “He said, ‘Go to school, I’ll find a job; don’t worry about it,’” she says. “He got three temporary jobs, and we spent maybe an hour together each day.”
By 2013, Miranda had completed the Medical Assisting program and had been snapped up by her extern site for a full-time position. She loved it, but wanted more.
“My plan was to get into the CAMA program and use it as a stepping stone,” says Miranda. “I found the DMS (Diagnostic Medical Sonography) program and fell in love with it.” So now Miranda is well into her second Associate Degree program at SJVC – this time on the Bakersfield campus.
Miranda has hit a string of high points in her program, as she learns and grows in her studies and experiences, especially with volunteer patients. “I had an OB (obstetrics) patient who was about 10-weeks pregnant, who had had two early miscarriages and had never been able to see any of the fetus’s heartbeats,” says Miranda. “When I showed her the heartbeat, she was so excited and started crying. That made me start crying,” she says.
Miranda used to be a bit of a softie when it came to challenges, fears or something new. “When things would get rough, I’d call my parents and they would say, ‘You can do it Boo Boo,’” she says. “They called me that because when I was little and would get hurt, I would get a ‘boo boo.’” Now, she is often the one providing comfort and encouragement to others.
On the first day of her Diagnostic Medical Sonography program, fellow student Kelsey Smith plopped down next to her at lunch with a “Can I sit here?” They became fast friends. “We have gotten each other through a lot and keep each other sane,” says Miranda.
She also feels close to her instructors Darrell Reed and Rachael Valley. “They are amazing. They treat you like you are their equal and are always there to help their students,” says Miranda.
Miranda’s career is coming into focus. “Maybe in a few years I’ll get my radiologist’s license,” she says. “But right now, I would just stay an Ultrasound Tech for a few years and be able to go to my daughter’s school conferences, or pageants and things like that.”
Now it is Jose’s turn. Recently accepted into a 12-week Correctional Officers Academy near Sacramento, he and Miranda will have to live apart. “I have never been without him for that long,” says Miranda. “I keep telling myself that this will better our lives. Hopefully, I have the strength.”
The self-assurance Miranda has found through her successful education makes her feel “like a dare-devil now,” she says. But with Jose away, she will have to work extra hard to keep her inner Boo Boo quieted. She will find a way to balance it all, no doubt.
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