Across cultures, a door symbolizes the changing of life with opportunities that arise and disappear. Possibilities stacked on either side, waiting to be opened and entered. Saint Luke's College of Health Sciences student Charity Arnold walked into such an opportunity after a friend told her about the College’s medical assisting program.
After working for nearly a decade as a cosmetologist learning about skin conditions, Arnold’s interest in health care continued to grow. Medical assisting was appealing because of the flexible hours that were more stable than cosmetology.
“I’ll continue doing hair on the side, more for a hobby, but I wanted to help people. Every time someone sat in my chair, and I got questions about scalp and skin issues, it made me want to get deeper into this,” said Arnold.
Arnold was at a place in life that she felt she could go back to school. With a very supportive boss and family, she felt like it was the right time to work towards her dreams.
Raising a family, working full-time, and going back to school takes a determination that rivals any modern superhero. Having professors that have lived through a similar situation allows students to see what they can achieve. The Director of the Medical Assisting Program Donna Gardner, CMA, BS, MPA, became a medical assistant while raising a family, she is a real inspiration to a student like Arnold.
At the College, Arnold has also been able to find a group of students with whom she connects. “I have an excellent study group with all medical assistants. It’s nice getting close to them, getting to know them. I didn’t know what the classes were going to be like, and now I have people that I may work with in the future.”
Higher education is rarely easy. Whether it be a traditional four-year university, or a trade school, or a school that focuses solely on the health sciences, it takes time to adjust and learn how to study. It takes time to go from thinking like a student to thinking like a professional. Arnold has some advice for students, especially for those who are in the process of searching for a school. “Do your research about what school works for you. Colleges are either face-to-face or online, but this one had both. Be sure to get people’s feedback about their good and bad experiences.”
Dreams are achieved through opportunities, whether they are found or sought out. Stepping through the doors of the College has allowed Arnold to embark on a new career that will enable her to have more time with her daughter. It was an opportunity that appeared at the right time. For her, medical assisting provides a career that she can grow with and allows her to make her dreams a reality.