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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Pharmacy Technology Student’s Degree Was A Long Time Coming

November 28, 2012

SJVC Pharmacy Technology Student Tameka SmithTameka Smith started and stopped college many times before enrolling in SJVC’s Pharmacy Technology program last year.

“I dropped out to get married, then to have my daughter and son, then to care for family members who needed help,” says Tameka. It just never seemed to be her turn to have the support needed to fulfill her education dream.

Now in the last weeks of her PT program externship, she has a little time to reflect on her struggle to get here. In the last year Tameka has lost four people close to her, including her beloved grandmother last December. Instead of losing focus during such tremendous loss, she came back to class certain that she had her grandmother’s blessing.

“Everything suddenly clicked for me and I felt that I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing,” she says. “Even now I get little signs of encouragement from her.”

Tameka also relied on classmates to “keep me sane.” An admitted control freak and perfectionist, she learned to take their advice and “put it down, walk away and come back with a clearer mind”, as a way to push through difficult times. Her Pharm Fam, as they call themselves, got her through the rough spots.

It was her faith and God that always gave her the ‘extra push when no one else could” she says, that she most relied upon. At home, her husband Shawn, 13-year old Maia and 9-year old Myles kept her anchored to her goals.

“Most nights, the kids and I would do our homework together,” she says. Tameka’s 4.0 GPA proves it was an effective support system.

Tameka is optimistic about employment, once she graduates in December. She plans to spend a few years enjoying her new profession while her kids get through high school and then, maybe, a BA degree in Pharmacology. She just passed her national and state Pharmacy Technology certifications and is a licensed PT, so she is well on her way.

“Right now I have the wind beneath my wings with my AS degree, and the sky is the limit,” she says.


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