Mesa Student Finds Deep Connection to Medical Field

After high school, Taylor Zimmerman needed a little push to continue her education but once she enrolled in UEI College’s Medical Assistant program at the Mesa campus, she found healing and resolution she wasn’t expecting.

Taylor has always been interested in working in the medical field, but her doubts seemed to get in the way. Growing up she witnessed her grandfather and a close family friend she calls a brother pass away from cancer. She carried some anger from that experience. It wasn’t until her fiancé encouraged her to visit the Mesa campus and she began studying healthcare that she found her purpose.

“I lost two people I loved so much from cancer,” she said. “I felt like I was never going to leave that roadblock behind me… I felt like I had no purpose in this world without them. Once I pursued UEI and that medical field profession I finally felt like I had hope and like I had a place in this world again.”

When she enrolled in the program, Taylor thought she wanted to work in a pediatric office, but her externship changed everything. She was offered a position in an oncology center and jumped at the opportunity. Learning more about the care of those patients was cathartic for her.

“I had a lot of anger until I started on the oncology lab and now it’s a whole different perspective on it,” she said. “I felt like I had a shot at a new beginning to make something out of myself, not only for me but for my fiancé, my grandfather, my brother.”

“It gives me a sense of completion and satisfaction,” said Cassandra Carey, Taylor’s instructor. “I know what she was looking for and I was so hopeful that she would find it and I’m so glad that she did. She needed that piece of her life to come together and make sense. Out of the tragedy she had, this brought her to a whole different side of that so she could start the healing process and start helping other people.”

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Six weeks into her externship, Taylor was offered a full-time position at the cancer center.

“It’s definitely hard,” she said. “There have been a couple times when I come home and just cry. I just know I need to get that stronger skin under me. I’ve been told when I lose my first patient that will make or break you… It’s very rewarding. No matter how hard of a day it’s been, there’s always pros and cons of each job, but there’s definitely a rewarding feeling making it through the day, knowing you helped 30 or 40 patients. It’s a good feeling to follow your goals and dreams.”

Taylor was asked to speak at Mesa’s first graduation ceremony. As she stepped to the podium, she was met with cheers from classmates who knew her connection to her career.

“This whole thing called life isn’t easy. We all run into roadblocks we feel like we can’t get over,” she said. “We feel like we’ll be stuck in this position forever. Let me assure you, you will get over that roadblock… I’m making a change for those patients as if they were my brother and grandfather. They were the ones who got me where I am today.”

“Take your goals and dreams and run with them. Run as fast as you can… Don’t let anyone or anything to stop you from doing that. This is our time to shine. Our time to become a little selfish to make something more out of ourselves. I guarantee you won’t regret it.”

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