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Student Story: Gina S

Hello my name is Gina Schierenbeck, and I’m attending Central Coast College for the Vet Assistant Program. School hasn’t been easy for me since I found out that I have a learning disability when I was in 4th grade. So I’ve had to work really hard at everything that I do for school. I went to Aptos High School 9th-10th grade, then transferred to Delta Charter High School at Cabrillo College. I absolutely loved that school. The teachers were amazing and gave me the help that I need to be successful in school. If it wasn’t for the amazing teachers and my advisor Mary Gaukel Forster, the principal at Delta, I would have not graduated high school. They all pushed me to do my best and were there to support and help me.

I’m in my first module here at Central Coast College. So far I love it here. There are many things that I really like about this school. First, my counselor Jennifer for helping me get everything done that I needed to get done to start my program on April 18, 2016.. Second, all the teachers that I have had so far are amazing. They all want to see the students be successful in their class work and to be successful in life. Third, is the smaller classroom environment – it makes it easier to focus on your work and not be distracted by having over 30 students in a class. Fourth, the interaction we do in class to make the students get to know each other and be able to work in a group. Fifth, the friends I have made these past 4 weeks and getting to know the group that I’ll be spending this 9-month program with.

I attended Cabrillo College in Aptos, but it wasn’t for me due to the classes having more than 30 students each. It made it very hard to me to able to focus in the class due to how many people were there. I choose Central Coast College because I looked it up and I read some of the student stories of how they loved this school and how it’s helped them get into the career that they want. Also because CCC is nothing like Cabrillo due to the smaller classes and that’s what I need to be successful in school. Also because my counselor really encouraged me that I would do great here.

A major life lesson I have learned from being here is to be professional at all times. My professionalism teacher Gabi has taught me so much about how to act, dress and perform in the workplace. I have put these things to use at my work at Animal Hospital of Soquel and I’ve really noticed a difference in how my co-workers treat me now and how they respect me more now because of this. Also, my math teacher Heidi has taught me many things that I will need to know when working in a animal hospital such as how to convert things and how to know how much to give a patient.

My program is Vet Assistant, and there are many reasons why I chose this program. Being a Vet Assistant has always been my childhood dream to help animals. For 15 years I have worked with horses and other animals–I’ve taught riding lessons, trained many horses, cleaned stalls, and helped run a ranch and medical care for the animals. I tried the Medical Assistant program, but it just wasn’t for me. I’m definitely an animal person more than a people person. I just have a deep passion for taking care of animals. It makes me sad to see an animal suffering and there’s nothing that I can do about it. Working at a vet hospital I have seen what a Vet Assistant does and how they play a major role in saving an animal’s life and caring for them. By seeing this I knew that becoming a Vet Assistant was definitely the career that I want to get into! Seeing the reaction from the assistants at my work when they help the animals is great and how rewarding it is to know you have helped them and they aren’t suffering anymore. Being able to help an animal that is suffering is something I want to do. When I was younger I had a pony that I was absolutely in love with. But we found out that he had a spinal disease that was never going to get better. With the help of my parents, we did everything that we could to do to make him feel comfortable till he could no longer take it. Later down the road we had to put him to sleep. Because of Cody I knew I wanted to save animals lives.

I had to take many different steps to prepare myself to start Central Coast College. I spent a lot of time talking with my mother about the things that I would need to do to get myself ready to be able to start school again and how we could afford it. I also talked to my best friend about what she thought about me joining this program. She told me this is definitely something I need to do because I have such a passion for animals and taking care of them. I’m a very organized person so I had to buy myself a binder with dividers so I can have a section for each class. A notebook with 3 subjects in it and a daily planner to write down what I have for homework and important dates like tests or quizzes. I had to give up one thing and that was my first car. I had a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee V8 that I loved! But I had to get rid of it due to all the driving I would have to do from Watsonville to Salinas 5 days a week. After I sold the Jeep I purchased a 2005 Mazda 6 which is a 4 cylinder which saves me so much gas coming to school. I also had to give up my morning shift at work so I could be here for classes in the morning. It definitely is harder having the evening shift because I don’t get off work till 8 p.m. Which means I don’t get home till 8:30 p.m. and as soon as I get home I start my homework, which is hard because I’m tired after working and just want to go to bed, but I can’t because I have to get my homework done. I know all this work will all be worth it!

I received advice from my mother Maria. She knows that school isn’t easy for me due to the learning disability, but she has never given up on me even though I have given up on myself many times. She’s always the one to pick me back up with all her encouraging words–that she knows that I can do this and I will do great. Because I have a very deep passion for animals and I have always wanted to take care of them when they are hurting. She knew that this is the career for me and I’ll do amazing in this job! I really don’t know what I would do without and all her support.

I’m looking forward to these next 9 months of school  and to starting my career in something that I have a deep a passion for!

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