Starr Ronspiez was the first person in her family to graduate high school and her desire to help people pushed her to be the first to graduate college as well.
“What kept me going was I wanted to make my family proud and break the chain of dropping out,” she said. “I wanted to show them that I can do it. If you put your mind to it, you can definitely do it.”
“I just overall like helping people,” she said. “I like the satisfaction of encouraging people to get better. Whenever I do help them, they are very appreciative. I just like that feeling.”
It wasn’t easy, training to be a medical assistant while still working full time, but Starr’s instructors pushed her forward.
“Starr was a very good student,” Amanda Eger, Starr’s instructor, said. “She was always willing to lend a hand. Anytime someone needed help, she would be the very first to jump up and help out. She’s got this really friendly personality and was really reliable and trustworthy.”
“People (at UEI) are very nice and very supportive,” Starr said. “Outside my teacher, other teachers would come in and talk to me and tell me I could do it. You can literally talk to anybody. You can say I’m having trouble with this and they will stop whatever they are doing and talk to you and tell you it will be okay. I only had one teacher, but I felt like I could go to other teachers as well.”
Training to become a medical assistant allowed Starr to see the world through new eyes. Not only was she able to learn new skills but she gained confidence as well.
“It changed my perspective that I can actually do it if I put my mind to it,” she said. “I have a hard time with anxiety. There are parts of me that say ‘You’re not good enough. You can’t do this. You’re dumb. You’re stupid.’ I have a hard time with that, but I’ve come to learn if I actually take the time to sit down and do what I have to do, I’ve been proud of myself.”
With help from UEI’s Career Services Department, Starr found a job as a medical assistant right out of the program. Her advice to the students behind her is to keep going.
“I’ve been in that position of feeling so done,” she said. “No matter how hard things are, no matter what you’re going through, you can do it. You can get through it. You have to sit down, take the time, put your mind to it and you can do it. Despite anxiety or depression. You have to put that to the side and focus on yourself. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”