SBBC Grad’s Dreams Come True

Here’s an inspiration piece from our student speaker at the 2011 graduation ceremony in Ventura. Sheri B. graduates with an Associate of Science in Medical Assisting, and reminds us all that if you work hard enough, you can make your dreams come true!

Good evening everyone. When I graduated from high school in 1977, if you weren’t one of the super smart students, college wasn’t really an option for you if your parents couldn’t pay for it. So, like many of my classmates I went to work full-time, dreaming of going to college, but thinking that there wasn’t any chance that would ever happen. After becoming an employee for the County of Ventura, I learned that they would help you pay for your schooling. So I took a couple of classes and did well in them, but I was going to need at least seven to eight math and English classes just to be able to take the classes I needed to receive an AA degree. So, at one or two classes a semester, it was going to be a long time before I would see my dream come true. Or so I thought.


In May of 2007, after more than a year of major changes at the County and my having been out on leave, I made the painful decision to resign. It was an extremely hard choice to make, but the stress had begun to take its toll on my health, and even though I still loved my job and was very good at it, I no longer looked forward to going to work. I knew it was time for a change.

I had been injured at my County job, so I went for more treatment to resolve the lingering effects. Little did I know that it would take over one year for the treatment and by the time I was ready to rejoin the workforce, the bottom had fallen out of everything and people were being laid off left and right. I finally found a position as a care provider, but didn’t have enough hours to be working full time. So, I started to look at what kind of a job I wanted, what positions would always have a need, and how I could get the training I needed to be successful. I saw an ad in the newspaper for classes in medical assisting at Santa Barbara Business College, called the number, and began my incredible journey.

I remember walking in the door, meeting with admissions and having the program explained to me. I thought I would just get a certificate, but when I was told that in 18 months I could have an Associate’s of Science degree, tears welled up in my eyes. A REAL LIVE COLLEGE DEGREE! I sat there on pins and needles waiting to see if the admissions department would feel I would be a good fit for their school. And when I was told “yes,” I can’t even describe how I felt. All I knew was that I was going to go to school. I was so excited.

Challenging. One definition in Webster’s Dictionary is – a stimulating or interesting task or problem. This is exactly what I got from my very first night. College Success was my first class, and I told my teacher Dan Campbell (aka Brad Pitt), that this class wasn’t going to teach me anything, because when I was a County employee, we had all kinds of rah rah trainings, so basically, I felt I knew it all. Boy, was I ever wrong.

Higher education is obtainable for everyone. I’ve learned that in my time at SBBC. I also learned so many other things and not just about my course work. I learned to truly believe in myself and that with hard work, and hours of homework, I could get really good grades. I learned that giving injections and taking blood isn’t so scary when you remember it’s all for the patients benefit. And I learned that everyone who crosses your path has something amazing to bring to your life if you’re open to their gift, and that in return, I had something wonderful to offer the world.

And so as I stand here tonight, a strong, confident, caring and compassionate medical assistant, I know I didn’t get here on my own. There are many people to thank for their help and support along my crazy life’s journey. So, thank you to all the staff and faculty of SBBC, especially to all of my teachers. I wasn’t an easy student, but you all hung in there and gave of your time and help freely. Special thanks to Jenn Holt for setting the bar extremely high, for all the extra help, and for answering all of my constant questions.

To my family and friends, those who are here and those who couldn’t make it, I thank you. Your love and support of me through the years has led me down a path that is satisfying beyond my expectations. You’ve all played a huge part in my success and saying thank you doesn’t seem like enough. Special thanks to Pattie and Brian who have been there for many years, even when you should have walked away. I hope I’ve proven that your belief in me was worth all the effort, love and caring you’ve shown me always. To my friend Lilly, who’s been a wonderful friend, role model, and inspiration to me. You helped me see that a college degree was obtainable by your example of going back to college yourself. I look forward to celebrating your Master’s degree in the near future. Thank you for all of your help and support.

To Patty Andrade and the staff of Clinicas in Ojai where I did my externship, thank you for your willingness to take me on and for giving me the opportunity to put my newfound skills to use. And an extra special thank you to Yeni, who knew what it was like to be on externship and took time to show me the ropes and trusted me. You helped to make my externship a very rewarding and successful learning experience.

And to my son, Caitanya das. You are the most amazing person I will ever have the privilege of knowing. You have shown me by example what passion and perseverance can help you achieve by continuing to reach for your own dreams. You’ve been there for me in more ways than one – being a shoulder to cry on, a kick in the butt when I needed it, giving me extra help with algebra and trusting me enough to perform skin punctures. Without your endless help, support, and love, I would not have been so successful in my schooling. I’m about to become a college graduate, something I’ve dreamed of being called for a long time. But no title will ever mean as much to me as being called Das’ mom. I love you with all of my heart.

Lastly, to my fellow graduates, life is a long road filled with everything from speed bumps to mountains, straight endless highways and sharp curves. As you travel along your road, don’t forget to stop and look around at all the beauty that life has to offer. And mostly don’t forget to look in the mirror everyday and see the beauty that you bring to the world. For without your own contribution, the world is just a little less spectacular.

Congratulations and best of luck to you all in all of your future endeavors. Thank you.

Sheri recently had an interview with a local medical employer, and SBBCollege faculty and staff wish her nothing but the best. Congrats Sheri!