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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Hurricane Sandy Meets Her Match

November 10, 2012

SJVC Medical Office Administration Student Charmelle AndrewsCharmelle Andrews knows how to hunker down. When challenge blows her way – whether it is going back to college at age 48, working full-time while enrolled in the Medical Office Administration online program, or trying to function in the dark when Hurricane Sandy blew through her home in Staten Island, NY – she digs in.

“When you look outside and see a boat in your yard – and you don’t own one – you know it’s bad,” says Charmelle. She is grateful she was only “inconvenienced”, when many of her co-workers at the home health agency where she works lost their homes.

“Some of my friends still don’t know where their cars are,” she says.

Even though the electricity and gas are back on, Charmelle still has plenty of struggle, working full-time while trying to complete her MOA degree program in April next year. Some days she just doesn’t want to go to class and toys with the idea of giving up. But, she knows from past experience that her degree will open doors.

“I’ve lost jobs that my experience made me more qualified for, but someone else got it because of that little piece of paper,” she says. “Ok, if that’s what they want, I’ll go and get it.”

Charmelle first enrolled in the Medical Office Administration certification program. When she finished that she decided to take it all the way and get her AS degree. This proved a little more difficult, as double classes meant that sometimes lectures overlap. Add in her 4-hour time difference in New York and full-time work and it can be a scramble.

“I’ve kind of shocked myself that I’ve had the patience to do it,” she says. Her persistence has paid off with making the Dean’s List eight times.

Plus, friends and family won’t let her quit. “When I am tired and fee like giving up, someone in her family and friend support group will say, “You can do it; your fan club is here!”’ says Charmelle.

Charmelle keeps her vision of success in sharp focus. She wants to start her own medical billing business one day – maybe working out of her home. She is counting on a little more control over her life than hurricanes have been known to offer. She is the whirlwind who can do it.

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