Medical Assistant, Medical Billing and Coding, AustinWanda

“When I was 16 I had to drop out of high school because my mom needed help with my sisters and brothers. I got married and finally got my GED when I was 31. It took me from then until three years ago to get to college.


Not too long ago, I discovered I had cancer. Six months after coming to school they found out it was more aggressive than they thought. The medicine and the shots made me so sick. I had surgery twice and each time I came back to class two days later. The teachers were great. My last name is Martini and that’s what they call me. They would say, ‘You can do it, Martini!’

“When I was 16 I had to drop out of high school because my mom needed help with my sisters and brothers.”

A friend of mine at the college always buys me Harley-Davidson jewelry. I also wear martini glass jewelry because my boys gave them to me. My boys also paid for a tattoo that covers one of my surgery scars. It’s a zipper with a dragon coming out of it. My boys are very supportive of me.

When I first started school, I got into the Medical Assistant program and finished it. I love helping people. Now I’m almost finished with my Medical Billing and Coding diploma, so I can work the front office and the clinical side. I love drawing blood and doing EKGs. Eventually, I want to work in a hospital. A clinic is fine but I want to work nights because I like doing things during the daytime and take motorcycle rides.

“Just stick with it. Keep in your mind what you want out of life.”

To me, success is accomplishing something you dream of doing and you actually went and did it. It’s dealing with all the stuff you don’t think you can deal with, like cancer. You can’t just stop. You have to keep going. I think about all the people who deal with a lot more pain and maybe they don’t have a family or support.

My advice for new students is no matter how bad or how hard it seems, think of something positive you want to accomplish. Talk to the instructors and students. They’ll help you. Just stick with it. Keep in your mind what you want out of life.”

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Are you a Virginia College student, graduate or staff member?We’d love to hear your story!

“I am 53 and decided to start over in my career.”

Tammy, Augusta Student

“The proudest moment in my life is that after I had my son, I returned to finish my schooling.”

Ryan, Charleston Student

“I kept telling myself I was going to do this but never did it. Last year, I put my foot down and told myself that I am going to finish school.”

Kerpernia, Mobile Student

“I’m a 37-year-old proud mother of three children and three stepchildren, a full-time student with a 4.0 GPA, and working full-time.”

Virginia, Lubbock Student

“I am motivated by the students. I am constantly reminded that everyone is reaching for something.”

Kelly, Pensacola Instructor

“I am the oldest of five kids. At a young age my mother got sick, and I had to step up to the plate.”

Lauren, Austin Student

“My husband passed away in February 2017. I chose the medical assistant field because of taking care of him and my elderly parents.”

Janet, Knoxville Student

“Being in the military and seeing a lot of people sick, it gave me the motivation to do something challenging and be better.”

Jamar, Savannah Graduate

“As a single mother, I wanted to show my son it wasn’t too late to get my degree! I finished knowing I could start a career and provide for him and give him the life I never had.”

Chelsea, Birmingham Graduate

“Before enrolling in school, I never really felt like I was doing what I should be doing.”

Bonnie, Florence Student

“I chose Business Administration because I wanted to fully understand owning and operating a business. I am very independent and very curious.”

Cronyn, Charleston Student

“I gave up partying late at night to study late at night. And all the hard work paid off.”

Yesica, ChattanoogaGraduate

“I worked as a hairstylist for over 30 years and a licensed cosmetology instructor for 23 years. I know that hard work pays off in the long run.”

Meshandra, Macon Instructor

“I wanted better for my children and to show them there’s always something to learn.”

Laura, Jacksonville Student

“It’s never too late to go back and finish your degree!”

Almarina, Shreveport Graduate

“I have completed eight years with two deployments in service to my country.”

Eric, Jackson Student

“I have been told by some family members that I do not have what it takes to become a nurse; they have motivated me to prove them wrong.”

Caitlin, Montgomery Student

“I chose the field I am in because I have always wanted to help people who are sick feel better.”

Kennesha, Huntsville Graduate

“I am scared to death to leave my classmates and teachers when I graduate because I love them and have become attached.”

Kelsey, Baton Rouge Student

“I want my son to know that you are never too old to accomplish any of your dreams and you can do anything you set your mind to.”

Jessica, Knoxville Student

“I’m not a person that gives up easily on myself or others.”

Christine, Savannah Student

“Never let anyone stop you from becoming a greater person in life. No matter what, keep going!”

Allison, Columbus Student

“My motivation is my six-year-old daughter. To know that this little person is depending on me for everything makes me want to work that much harder and strive that much more for success.”

Lakesha, Savannah Student

“Being a chef is a dream of mine. I don’t want to think about what could have been. I had to take the chance.”

Fred, Richmond Student

“I love everything about cosmetology — hair, makeup, nails, everything!”

Camell, Columbia Student

“I was 34, a single mother of three. I worked full-time and was a full-time student. My life was nonstop for two years. As time went on it became a lot easier and a lot more fun.”

LaTasha, Augusta Graduate

“I wanted to do something with my life that would make both my children and my mother proud.”

Jasmine, Spartanburg Student

“There was a time in my life when I was sickly. One day, my husband took me to get a makeover. The transformation was phenomenal. I want to make people feel the way I felt that day.”

Sable, Columbus Graduate

“I didn't choose cosmetology, it chose me!”

Kumesia, Jacksonville Graduate