Grad Q&A with Medical Office Administration graduate Alesha Angel
Alesha Angel was a 30-year-old single mom of a teenage daughter (Aleena) who knew that continuing to work minimum wage jobs in retail and group homes would not give her little family the life she wanted them to enjoy. Career education and training seemed the right way to get there, but serious doubts clouded her decision-making process.
Could she really do the whole student thing again? She didn’t really like school when in her youth she had to go, and admits she had a hard time completing her high school education. But she felt she had to at least see what was out there.
What was your first step toward a better career and life through higher education?
I was searching through schools, talking to people at community college and trade schools when I found SJVC. They made me feel comfortable both on the phone and in-person. The person I talked to listened to my situation, what I was going through and focused more on how much better our (family) future could be. SJVC (Madera campus) wasn’t like others I’d talked to. Money wasn’t the first thing we talked about. Right there, I was drawn to them. They made me feel comfortable. OK, this is the right school for me.
Why did you choose the Medical Office Administration program?
I wanted something different. Working in the medical field I could help people in some way and interact with them. And, I love talking with people, interacting with them. I wanted to be a great role model for my daughter and make a better future for us.
What was the hardest part about making this commitment to education and a better future?
The hardest part was me thinking I was going to fail. After I started my program, I had to really push myself and would study late at night. I told myself every day, ‘I can’t fail, I can’t fail. As much as I might want to quit, I have to finish my education’.
One night I was frustrated because I couldn’t get something I was studying and my daughter woke up and told me, ‘Mom, don’t give up when it’s hard. You’re this far. I’m proud of you’. I knew what I had to do to finish school and to be a better role model for my daughter.
Did you find the support you needed at school?
The teachers were amazing. They made sure I learned everything the right way and that I did well on my exams. I was struggling because it had been so long since I was in school. But they didn’t make me feel like I was at school; they made me feel like I was at home. They told me to ask as many questions as possible. They were there as much as I needed them.
What did you enjoy most about your program?
There was always something new in the classroom; it was never boring, and I never didn’t want to be there. They made it fun to learn and not so hard. From the first second there they made us feel like a family, and I felt like I was at home at a family gathering.
What was the biggest surprise about the Medical Office Administration program?
There was a time when I didn’t think I would be able to complete the program. It was extremely hard to study and pass an exam. I didn’t think I had it in me. The instructors made sure that I had as long as I needed to ask questions, to understand and that I knew everything I needed. If I was in a different school, I would not have made it and would not be in a full-time job now.
Do you have a favorite moment?
I’m really bad at tests and when I got my first ‘A’ on an exam I was extremely happy. Or when I got a positive remark from an instructor, it made me want to push more.
And, just hearing from close friends and family that they think I’m doing something good and getting positive feedback on social media felt so good it sometimes made me start crying.
What inspired you to keep pushing?
When I was little my mom, Laura, made a lot of sacrifices for me. She was a single mom, as well, and worked a lot of jobs. She is one of the strongest women I know. And I owe her, too, for giving up her school to provide a great life for me. She felt like she wasn’t a good mom because she didn’t finish her education to give me the future she wanted. But I feel like she did. She always told me that whatever I do in life, she would be proud of me.
You successfully completed your program a few months ago, where did you land?
I went to work right away as a Dental Receptionist for Camarena Health (medical/dental/vision) where I’m responsible for scheduling appointments, handling insurance, going over treatment plans with patients and what their insurance will cover and what they might need to pay out-of-pocket. I’m pretty good at what I do! I’m blessed and thankful that my job is amazing, and I definitely love what I do.
What do you like most about your new position?
Knowing that our patients walk out with a smile. I pretty much know all my patients’ daily life, their vacations. We have a personal relationship. I love interacting with them and it makes my day more enjoyable.
I definitely want to stay with this company, I couldn’t find anything better than the people I’m working with. They really care about their employees, and I want to find how I can grow here.
Any advice for others who might be considering education toward a better career?
That’s the thing – there’s never a wrong education path. If you don’t know where your future’s going to be, just take a class, take a couple of classes. You’re finding out who you are, what’s right for you. I know because I’m still learning about myself.
It’s never too late. You can be 20, 30, 40, 50. The main goal is to further your education, then your career.
Our RN to BSN program is a Bachelors degree completion option for Registered Nurses.