Tired of Working Multiple Jobs, Mother of Two Becomes Valedictorian

Sitting on her living room floor, feeling frustrated as she helped her son with is homework and tired from working four jobs, Michelle Redditt knew she could not put off getting her education any longer.

“I think the final straw was me not having stability,” Michelle said. “I was always making excuses for not going back to school. The final lap of it was I was in my living room and my kid was asking me about what I had finished in school because I was helping him with his homework, and I couldn’t lie to him anymore.”

Michelle had dreams of working in healthcare like many of her family members. UEI College’s Tacoma campus offered the best path to become a medical assistant.

“Being a 29-year-old mother of two with no insight as to what could happen or what I could learn, I was anxious but at the same time I was very excited,” she said. “I had low self-esteem when I went in because I thought I would be the oldest person here. The first time I got my class schedule I sat there in amazement for about an hour. I had finally done it. Now there was no time for giving up or quitting.”

Michelle did not quit and at the end of the program, she was named one of the first valedictorians for UEI’s Tacoma campus.


“Determined was an understatement,” said Denise O’Hara, Michelle’s instructor. “She wanted to be everything done, done on time, she was never late with anything. She was just always on top of it.”

Michelle was laser focused on her goal from the beginning and she quickly learned to enjoy learning.

“The best part of the program would have to be hearing the first thud of a heartbeat in my own stethoscope,” she said. “I liked learning clinical procedures and learning how much I didn’t know and how much I could learn. I also loved my instructor.”

The secret to doing well, Michelle said, was taking advantage of every opportunity the school offers. She was not afraid to ask questions and attended tutoring when she needed it. She also became an ambassador and offered support to other students.

“UEI has people from a lot of different backgrounds,” she said. “There is always going to be someone to relate to you there. There is always going to be a support system. There is always going to be somebody’s door that is open for you to talk to, and they are helpful no matter the situation at hand. They make sure no matter what you’ve been through, they don’t judge you on it. It’s an easy path to understanding what your future can hold.”

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In less than 10 months, Michelle completed the program and earned her Medical Assistant certification. She was also hired by her externship site and named valedictorian of her class.

“I was in disbelief,” she said. “I really didn’t do well in school beforehand so coming out with 4.0 and high honors and being on honor roll and being made a valedictorian was a lot to uphold but UEI is a great school to be a valedictorian for because it sets examples for who is to come and what they can accomplish no matter what background they have. I was excited to show my family I was capable of doing something other than being a workaholic. I’m capable of learning new things and I know my worth. To finally be recognized for something in this manner was life changing.”

Now that she has started, Michelle does not want to stop. She plans to go back to school to become an RN and some day she wants to be a surgeon.

“Self-doubt can be one of the most terrifying things you can come to face with,” she said. “Having the doubt in your mind to try to quit is not where it is. You can’t stumble on things you’ve bailed on before. Being in school, especially UEI, is going to show you not only is it going to be hard to balance work, school, life balance, it’s going to show you that you have persistence to keep going. You have the drive to want to be good at something and not only make your family and kids proud but yourself too.”

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