Victoria recently graduated from Renton Technical College, earning an AAS degree and a certificate in Medical Assisting. She is now working as a Medical Assistant.Her goal is to earn her Bachelor’s in Nursing and become a registered nurse. In the words of one SEA staff member, “When Victoria walks into the room, the whole room lights up with her energy and compassion. I can’t imagine anyone I would rather have as a nurse.”
I was drawn to the medical field because it’s my way of giving back. My dad passed away in 2006 of heart disease and losing him was hard. I cared for him during his final illness and have also always taken care of my mother, who is disabled. These experiences helped me realize that I am a gifted caretaker and that nursing is a meaningful profession that I can take pride in. The people who helped my father at the hospital were compassionate to us.
I’m a very caring and outgoing person. I can talk to anyone. I also like that there is always advancement in the medical field. You can be a doctor or work in medical technology. Medicine is always advancing; for example, robotic surgery is becoming more common. Job security in the medical field is another aspect that appeals to me. I can make a living wage with excellent benefits while doing something that is important to me.
While I was still in high school, I earned my Certified Nursing Assistant certificate through Running Start. I worked for several years as a CNA. I next enrolled at Seattle Central Community College, planning on getting my Associate’s degree and taking the prerequisite courses for nursing. Unfortunately, I did not have the financial resources I needed to stay in school, and had to take time off to work full time to support myself, my mother, and my younger siblings. Throughout this time away from school I never gave up on my dream of returning to college, and Seattle Education Access did not give up on me either.
After losing a job, I went on unemployment and applied for worker retraining, which extends your unemployment benefits. I was then able to support myself while going back to school. I transferred to Renton Technical College, and SEA awarded me a scholarship. The SEA staff helped me write letters to the unemployment program and proofread my scholarship application essays. They helped me fill out the financial aid paperwork, supported me with tutoring, and paid for my certification test and study guide. SEA has been a backbone throughout my education. Anything I’ve needed, they have provided. I would have made it no matter what… I have that unbreakable faith. But having good support systems to help us along makes a big difference.
I am the first person in my family to graduate from college, and although I now have my AAS I will not stop until I reach my goal of a BSN. To other young people I want to say: Follow your dreams and your heart. Stay encouraged no matter what obstacles you may face in life. If you have a goal, go for it. Whatever your dreams are, you can be anything you want to be. You have to have faith that “no matter what, I’m going to be successful.” You have to work hard and do things whole-heartedly.