Cerra Kauanoe was content working as a personal shopper at a large retail store, but she learned very quickly that having a child changes things.
She had always dreamed of a career in the medical field and had even investigated training to become a medical assistant in the past, but she was nervous about trying to pay for school. When she found out she was pregnant with her son, her priorities changed.
“I had put that on hold and did just what any other person would do, I started going with any type of job that would make me money,” she said. “As soon as I found out I was pregnant in 2021, it felt like the perfect opportunity. It was a hectic time, but I might as well do it right now while I have that feeling. I decided to go to UEI College.”
“I know that I love to help people and I just wanted to see what I could do and what could challenge me in the medical field,” she said. “I believe that UEI was a steppingstone. If I wanted to go further, I could, but I wanted to start from the beginning.”
The hands-on experiences really caught Cerra’s attention but her biggest challenge while completing the program was juggling all her personal responsibilities.
“With my work schedule I made sure to set times and make sure everybody had a piece of me,” she said. “I just made sure I was on top of my own work when I got a chance. I was also a brand-new mom and wanted to experience that as well. I just had to take it day by day for myself. UEI made me feel like OK, I might be stressed with homework, but it was manageable with my work schedule and being a new mom.”
Cerra managed to keep high grades throughout the program and graduated on the honor roll. She was hired by her externship site.
“I definitely feel like it made me grow as a person,” she said. “It challenges me every day. I could have stayed at home, been a mom and worked but I wanted something to change in my life, so I did so.”
“I am always so proud of students when they reach the end of their program despite the challenges life might throw their way,” said Antonietta Cuadra, Cerra’s instructor. “It’s a true testament to the commitment they have for themselves and remembering their ‘why.’ Cerra was a good student, she always tried her hardest and did her best. I think she has a very bright future as an MA.”
Cerra said in the future she hopes to gain more experience and work her way up to a company that will help her continue her medical training. Some day she would like to become a nurse.
“This could be you as well,” she said. “You have to work hard at what you are doing so you can get where you are going for the future. Make sure you have daily reminders for yourself to continue working hard. You have to be supportive for yourself as well.”