Jessica Lourido has never been a slacker when it comes to her work ethic. Although only twenty years old, she worked full-time at Starbucks for three years, while she finished up her last year of high school online, gave cosmetology school a 5-month trial run and took a few medical classes.
But the more Jessica watched her mom, Dianna, the more she knew she needed to up her game when it came to her commitment to education. Dianna was Jessica’s inspiration to push herself toward a better career.
“My mom was a late starter,” says Jessica. “She started college when she was probably thirty-five, got her A.A. and Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and is now about a year in to her Master’s degree. Her interest has always been law; that’s her passion.”
Those medical classes Jessica had taken convinced her that her passion was medicine. It was time for her to set that career in motion.
“Just seeing my mom push through school, with three kids at home, all the bills and the household to run – and I didn’t have as much on my shoulders, so I could do this,” says Jessica.
She found the opportunity to prepare for the career of her dreams with the Online Clinical and Administrative Medical Assisting program. It did not take long for Jessica to know it was a perfect fit for her interests and lifestyle. She enrolled and got off to a great start.
“I was very interested in the reading material and the class discussion forums; learning everything about the body, insurance, anything medical-wise kept me interested to learn more,” says Jessica. “When I was in cosmetology school and learning about haircuts, I was thinking, “OK, this is boring.’”
Still working full-time at Starbucks, Jessica worked hard to balance the demands of her CAMA program with a crazy work schedule that sometimes had her working from 4:30 AM to after 3:00 PM the next day. On those days all she wanted was to get home and collapse into bed.
Then, she and fiancé, Jose, decided to move from New York to Florida. Trying to balance a major move with a fast-paced class schedule was almost too much.
“But between my mom and Jose, telling me to keep going, I did pretty well,” says Jessica. Jose helped out a lot by cooking dinner, washing clothes and whatever else needed to be done.”
Someone else stepped up with a lot of encouragement, too. “Alex (Alexandria Nolasco, Student Advisor) was supportive of me, especially at one point when there was too much stress and I just wanted to give up,” says Jessica. “I was failing my classes and thought there was no point in keeping going. But there was no way she was going to let me give up. She definitely made the difference.”
“We went through countless tutoring appointments where I know she was tired and ready to be done with her program,” says Alexandria. “She never gave up; she kept pushing through. Her journey with SJVC was a true example of how tough times will come, but with hard work and dedication, you can make it to the top.”
Jessica is absolutely on top now. She graduated this past March and is working full-time in the private practice office of an Orthopedic surgeon. She had actually gone to interview for a position with a doctor in the same office, only to find out that job was part-time. As she was leaving the office the Office Manager for the Orthopedic surgeon stopped Jessica to tell her about the full-time position she had open.
Almost three months later Jessica is thoroughly enjoying her job, co-workers and patient responsibilities. She sits in the room when the doctor examines and talks with patients, makes notes, and sends orders for any procedures to be performed. “It falls to me to make sure it gets done,” she says.
“I like helping all the patients that come here who are in a lot of pain,” she says. “I like that the doctor figures out what is wrong and what we can do for them. Helping them makes me happy…and, so far they love me,” she laughs.
Jessica’s plans for the future will not change for a while. “I want to stay here,” she says, acknowledging the effort it has taken to get to this place of expertise and security. But, Jessica knows that, with additional education, she could do even more for patients.
“This is basically the beginning of the medical field,” she says. “I know if I am happy here I should just keep going to have more experience and learn more things.”
It sounds as though the family passion for seeking out your dream career at all costs has successfully passed from mother to daughter.