Student attributes academic progress to taking that first leap
Tasha Oliver was 39 when she decided to enroll in Branford Hall’s professional medical assistant program. She had three kids and little income. Throughout the first few months, Oliver’s commute to campus involved two buses, each way. It was difficult, but she persevered. Nine months later, Oliver is now not only on the verge of graduating, she’s also in the process of completing an externship at a nearby orthopedic practice.
“Things are going well,” Oliver explained. “I’ve already gotten a decent recommendation from one of the doctors at the externship. He said that if the practice wanted to hire me, that he would vouch for me, which made me feel good.”
Transitioning into the classroom
During her mid- to- late thirties, Oliver had grown frustrated with her job prospects. She had gained some experience working with the New York Police Department’s School Safety Program, but the job didn’t provide her with any specialized skills. After leaving that position, Oliver applied for jobs only to be told that she was either “over-qualified” or that she shouldn’t be expecting any call.
Last autumn, Oliver accepted an invitation from an admissions counselor to visit Branford Hall’s Parsippany NJ campus. A few weeks after sitting down with the counselor, she decided to enroll.
“It wasn’t easy at first,” Oliver recalled. “I was nervous. I didn’t know if my brain was still going to function like it did when I was back in high school. But once I got into the swing of things, I found that it wasn’t as difficult as I’d thought.”
Oliver’s decision to pursue career training wasn’t so much about her own needs as it was about ensuring she was in a position to provide for her kids. While there were a lot of short-term sacrifices, Oliver insists she’s already seeing a tremendous upside. In addition to gaining hands-on experience, Oliver has also acquired a great deal of confidence in herself.
“I’m not afraid like I was before,” Oliver admitted. “I’m not afraid to make mistakes because I know now that I can learn from those mistakes and that I can go back and that I can always do better.”
Looking forward, looking back
Oliver will be graduating from Branford Hall’s Parsippany campus in a few weeks. Having completed her program, the aspiring medical assistant had this to say about career education: “Based on my own experience, if there’s somebody out there who’s considering going back to school, chances are, he or she is already aware that they want to do it. My advice would be to take that risk, because if you don’t, you may never know what you could’ve – or would’ve – been capable of.”