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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Teen Medical Assisting student finds college a lot different from high school

May 18, 2015
Medical Assisting student ElliMae Borromeo
Elli Mae made an easy transition from high school to college – and her parents very proud.

Although 19-year-old Elli Mae Borromeo just graduated from high school last year, she feels she is a world away from adolescent “mean girl” behaviors and those cliques that can cast a wide shadow.

“There’s no drama, no rumors here; everyone is more mature, and it’s an elevated peer group,” she says.

In terms of the classroom experience, Elli Mae says, “Here they don’t really babysit you. You are an adult and know what to do and it’s your responsibility.”

But she still feels the support all around her. “They don’t go too fast or too slow,” she explains. “They go one-on-one with you if you do need help with anything.”

Elli Mae was the first 2014 high school graduate to enroll at the Temecula campus last year. She chose the Medical Assisting program because so many of her extensive family are in that industry. “I wanted to follow family tradition,” she says. “I just want to continue to pass down that experience.”

Elli Mae was very practical when selecting the college that would provide her with the skills and training she needed to enter the medical field. “I didn’t want to drive too far from my parents’ house,” she admits. SJVC was in the right place on the map, so she scheduled an appointment and toured the campus.

“I loved my first impression,” she says. “The staff was friendly and the classes were small. It wasn’t a hard choice for me.”

Elli Mae enrolled just out of high school and tried to prepare for academic or interpersonal struggles that might lie ahead. Her parents, Elmer and Richel, were ready to support her in whatever she might need to succeed, even though their scant English might not be a source of strength. They came to the U.S. from the Philippines before Elli Mae, their only child, was born.

“My mom and I are really like best friends,” says Elli Mae. “I can tell her anything, and she is always there if I need anything.”

The struggles she anticipated never materialized.

Elli Mae has racked up a 3.69 GPA, two Dean’s List and Perfect Attendance awards and even had time to join several campus clubs, including HOSA, ASB, Campus Connect Crew (President) and the Diversity Club. She graduates this summer and looks forward to connecting with others in her field.

“I love helping out the community, working on events and getting closer to people,” says Elli Mae, who is tri-lingual and especially likes working with high school seniors who are looking for the right college. “I was in their steps just a few months ago.”

“Elli Mae has attended all events held for high school students, as well as attended and assisted in current high school events, while she attends SJVC,” says Luke Holtz, High School Admissions Representative. “She brings a rare spirit into the room she is in and has exemplary dedication to academics and campus life.”

The Medical Assisting program has proven a good fit for Elli Mae, even though she did hit an occasional minor bump along the way.

“Urine analysis! I didn’t see that one coming,” she laughs. “It’s just part of the profession and you have to step up and learn it. I was nervous, and I got over it.”

Elli Mae wants to experience everything she needs to be the best at her chosen profession. “With hands-on experience, you get to learn everything in a way that you remember,” she says. “I know deep down inside that I have to be professional and be an adult before going out into the real world.”

Elli Mae has big plans for her place in that world. “I will go for my Bachelor’s degree in nursing, after gaining some experience,” she says. She is currently interested in Urgent Care.

Later on, she might exercise another dream she is nurturing. “I want to get to know other countries, states and not stay in one spot,” she says, confessing she has a “bit of [an] adventurous spirit.” “I want to see how people work in other hospitals.”

But right now, Elli Mae has one thought that drives her pretty steadily. “I want to make my parents super proud that their only child is graduating college,” she says. Elli Mae wants to show her parents that she was listening when they gave her their best advice.

“They say, ‘Dreams can always come true with a little passion.'” Those are true words in any language.


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