Adela Juarez was a busy mom of two in April of 2021, but when she decided she was ready for a career she could grow into, she was eager to do it quickly — even after she found out she was pregnant again.
“I thought my life was over when I first got into it,” she said. She had just enrolled in the Medical Assistant program at UEI College’s Fresno campus. The same morning that she was supposed to start her classes, she took a positive pregnancy test. “I thought there is no way I’m going to finish it,” she said.
Despite her reservations, Adela went to class. She had dropped out of school in the past when she gave birth to her first child at the age of 16, and finished her high school diploma at home. This time, she was not going to give up on her education — she found that her pregnancy inspired her to move forward.
“Knowing you are pregnant, you can’t just sit down and wait another year,” she said. “I already had a six-year-old, a four-year-old and then my baby. It was extra motivation to finish school.”
What made returning to school easier was the schedule of UEI College. Adela was able to do a lot of work from home and only had two days on campus. She knew if she pushed through, she could be in a new career in less than a year.
“Having the mom role and the wife role, this was a quicker option for me instead of going to a two- to four-year-long college,” she said. “I didn’t want to take that college route. I wanted to do something quicker that was easily accessible for me to go to.”
Right away, the hands-on program had her hooked.
“It was scary and exciting,” she said. “You don’t know if you will do the skills the right way. It’s also exciting because you don’t know your own capability. In the outside world you would think I would never be able to do that, but you go in and in my first week, I did an injection. I thought it was the other side of the world and it’s not.”
Adela excelled through the program. At eight months pregnant, she took a break, and then returned to finish her externship when her baby was just a few weeks old. She was assigned to work for an OBGYN’s office that primarily serves victims of domestic violence or teen moms.
“I met a lot of young people, and I was a young mom,” Adela said. “After my extern, I knew I wanted to stay in OB. In medical assisting, you get to have one-on-one time with patients and see their history, see their story and get to talk with them. It gives you that one-on-one bond that’s different from what the provider or the actual doctor has. They talk about diagnosis and things like that, but as a medical assistant, you have that time to get to know patients on a one-on-one basis. I think it gave me a clear mind about how many people need help. I know I’m not just another person in the medical field. It’s a big difference.”
Adela was hired by Obria Medical Clinics and finally has the career she dreamed of.
“It feels good. I enjoy it very much,” she said. “For a new mom, whether you have a kid or you are currently pregnant and want to go to school, it’s a good investment to go. It’s a life changer. There are so many people right now that need help. Another person in the medical field — it never hurts.”