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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Young, Ambitious… and Stressed

March 28, 2013

photo-1Jaspreet (Jessy) Manak, RRT will be the first to tell you that she was spread very thin those last couple of months before she graduated from Rancho Cordova’s Respiratory Therapy program in November. During her 4th term Jessy organized a Respiratory Therapy event at the Yuba City Sikh Parade. “At the same time we were taking mid-terms, finals and practice exams for our CRT and RRT certifications, and I was at my breaking point,” says Jessy. “I wouldn’t have made it through the program without my classmates- that turned into an extraordinary group of friends.”

During times of stress she pulls her family’s love and wisdom around her and remembers their struggles and encouragement. “I was 7-years old when my Dad (Joginder) died, so my mom, Baljit, raised my younger brother, Shaun, and me by herself for many years,” says Jessy. “She never let us see what a struggle it was for her.” But, Jessy knew that when her mom’s parents came to the U.S. from India, “They had a hard time even putting food on the table,” she says. “And, she just wanted her kids to have a better life than she had.”

That ‘better life’ is starting to unfold for Jessy, who went to work in January for O’Connor Hospital in San Jose as a Respiratory Care Practitioner. It was her first job application, first interview and first hire in her chosen field. “SJVC really prepares you to interview,” says Jessy. “Those interview skills were why I was chosen for this position, and it’s like the 18-months of (RT) training really paid off.”

Now happily settled into her new position at O’Connor, Jessy isn’t letting up on herself. She is working 12-hour shifts every Thrs., Fri., and Sat. night at the hospital, while going to San Jose State Monday through Thursday to complete her B.S. She is feeling the burn of long hours, but she is not backing off.

Jessy’s plans include future certification as a Neonatal Pediatric Specialist and an eventual Master’s Degree in Public Health. Her motivation to excel comes to her in the quiet moments. “My Dad is always watching over me and I want him to see that I’m growing up to be the successful woman he wanted me to be,” says Jessy. She knows the road will be difficult, but she remembers her Aunt Jas saying, “Even when you are young and you see your friends going out, you have to make sacrifices.”

Jessy hears the truth in those words and adds a few of her own: “I have the rest of my life to have fun. I have to get my future together now!” Meanwhile, Jessy is setting an important example for her siblings, including her 5-year old brother, Ryan, who says, “I want to graduation college just like Jessy.” Jessy feels the reward of creating that kind of inspiration. “My brothers are a big motivation for me and I want them to know they can succeed in whatever they put their minds to,” she says.

Jessy does manage to balance her intensity with occasional rewards. “I do find time for a workout, pamper myself, shop and go out with my friends,” says Jessy. “All the things normal 22-year old girls do – just not as often!”