Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The College Story: Part Three

Good Evening!
What a GORGEOUS day it has been!
I honestly have no idea how many posts it is going to take me to tell this story.
For one thing, I was in college A LONG TIME.
And, A LOT OF THINGS OCCURRED during that time period.
So, I'm just going to tell this story at my pace 
and I would LOVE it if you would tag along with me and read it! :)
So anyway, to continue...

I returned to school full-time in January 2008
this time FOCUSED on completing the prerequisites 
required for me to enter the Radiography Program.
I also began working for the YMCA at the same time.
Going to work for the YMCA
was one of the SMARTEST things I've ever done.
Over the entire course of my ICC career,
the YMCA would graciously work around my school schedule
to provide me with the income I needed.
I will always be grateful to them, particularly my boss, Tammy, for their support.
(If you're interested in finding out more about my job at the YMCA,
please refer to my Birthday Post.)

To say that I was EXCITED about returning to school full-time is a HUGE understatement.
I FINALLY had direction!
I had chosen Radiography and I was okay with that decision.
I had prayed about Radiography as a Career choice and felt at peace about it.
Radiography was a SMART choice
As a career, it provides job security, good compensation,
and many different learning experiences.
As a field of study, Radiography is considered a "base major".
Meaning that once you have completed the program,
it is quite easy to branch out into other Medical Technologist Professions
such as: echocardiograms, sonograms, and MRIs
(personally, I was BLOWN AWAY by MRI
and had chosen to pursue that after Radiography).
A "traditional" MRI machine
But that's jumping ahead (again...).
At this point in my college career,
I was busy with regular, mostly non-medical classes:
Sociology (ACED that class without cracking the textbook),
Psychology, College Alegebra, American History, the Bible as Literature,
Intro to Theatre (yeah, I chose that one...I'm a drama queen and proud of it!),
and Biology (hated that class...I still don't care that plants photosynthesize).
I did fairly well with these classes.
I took as many of them as I could online or as independent studies
(thank you, NLCA and ACE School of Tomorrow).

THEN, I got to jump into some of the required medical classes:
Anatomy & Physiology of the Human Body
(loved the class, hated the lab - not so great at dissecting cow eyeballs and sheep brains),
Medical Terminology (another class I got to take as an independent study),
Disease Processes in the Human Body, Basic Health, Intro to Pharmacology
(all taken online...I told you I was better at those...),
and Medical Ethics (AMAZING class! Seriously, I LOVED it!).

Each semester I had been registering for classes online myself
and only meeting with my Health Careers adviser when necessary.
Since I had nearly completed all my prerequisites,
I figured it was time to meet with her again
just to make sure I was still as "on-track" as I thought I was.
It turned out to be a quite depressing meeting.
She confirmed that I was on-track,
so I asked, "So, you think it's time for me to apply to the Radiography Program?"
She gave me a shocked look and replied,
"You should have been applying for the program every semester since you chose that major."
I'm sure I gave her an equally shocked look right back,
"But I'm just now finishing up my prerequisites.
Why would I apply to a program I wasn't ready to enter?"
"Because," she answered, "there is a huge waiting list for the Radiography Program.
It can take years to get accepted."

Needless to say, my heart dropped to the floor.
Whether I had completely missed this fact in our prior meetings
or she had simply neglected to inform me was irrelevant at this point.
Of course, I was frustrated, but I was more interested in figuring out how to get into Radiography.
My adviser walked me through the program application process
and told me to reapply every semester if I was not accepted.
She then suggested we look for classes that interested me
for me to take the following semester since I HAD to be a full-time student
to stay on my mother's insurance plan (this was yet another bomb dropped on me...
I didn't know that's how THAT worked either!!!!)
and I didn't have enough prerequisite classes left to qualify me as a full-time student.
And there was ABSOLUTELY no way
I was getting into the Radiography Program next semester.
So...in spite of the fact that I was taking out student loans
every semester just to pay for the NECESSARY classes,
that's exactly what we did.

I ended up taking several useful, but unnecessary classes
over the next few years as I waited for a spot in Radiography to open up:
Basic EMT, Intro to Electrocardiograms,
and Psych 104 ("How to Succeed at a Community College"...
yeah, that class was a few years too late...) to name a few.
I temporarily quit the YMCA in May 2010
and went to work for a company called HealthPort
(technically, I started working for Healthport in December 2009
and was working for the YMCA part-time as well).

HealthPort is a medical record copy service that is a contract employee of OSF.
Basically, I looked like "The Bag Lady" while I was employed by them.
I carried a massive laptop and scanner with me at all times
as I traveled around the Peoria area processing medical records requests for local OSF physicians.
I worked full-time for Healthport for seven months (I took a sabbatical from ICC),
then worked for them part-time while I studied for
and RECEIVED a Certificate in Phlebotomy in Spring 2011.

THEN I was FINALLY accepted to the Radiography Program in Fall 2011.

To be continued...