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Sisters Have Their National College Education in Common

Jan 14, 2014

Tabitha Meyers was working as a waitress when her friend and coworker who had been attending American National University’s Lynchburg Campus suggested she check it out too. “I just took a long hard look at what I was doing and realized I didn’t want to be a waitress for the rest of my life,” Tabitha says. “I wanted to do something with my life. And I’ve always had an interest in the medical field and being able to help people in pain get better.” So she decided to follow her friend’s advice and pursue an associate’s degree at ANU. She enrolled in the medical assisting program and is enjoying it very much, citing the small class sizes and personable teachers as her favorite aspects. “I love coming here, and I love the teachers that I have,” said Tabitha. “I’ve had a couple medical classes where the teachers have been extremely helpful. They have talked to me on a personal level, helped me gain more knowledge about what we’re learning about, and they’ve given me a lot of inspiration and motivation."

In fact, Tabitha is enjoying her time at ANU so much, that she decided to encourage her sister, Jessica Phillips to enroll too. “She was a CNA and she’s been in the medical field before, so I just encouraged her to get back into it because I know it’s something she had her heart in,” Tabitha says. “We’re a lot alike in many ways, so I knew she could excel here as well as I have been.”

Jessica started working as a CNA soon after high school and enjoyed it for several years. But a bad experience while working with end stage dementia/Alzheimer patients took an emotional toll on her, and she decided to take a break from the medical field. She switched to a job working in retail customer service, but wasn’t as passionate about it as she was with her previous career. So when her sister suggested ANU, she decided to check it out.

“The campus itself, the people, everybody that I dealt with was really nice,” Jessica said.  “I always thought enrolling in college was going to be difficult, and they just made it really, really easy. Anything that I had a question about, there was always somebody there to guide me, and give me the answer, and tell me what I needed to do next.”

But it was ANU’s limited time offer to waive the enrollment fee that really gave Jessica the extra push she needed to go ahead and enroll and take the next step towards continuing her education. “I would have enrolled eventually, but I probably would not be here this term if it wasn’t for that enrollment fee waiver,” she says. She knew she couldn’t pass up the opportunity she was presented with and that she needed to take advantage of it so she could earn her degree and get out into her career sooner.

Now that she is enrolled in the medical assisting associate’s degree program alongside her sister, Jessica is sure she made the right choice. “I really like the size of the classes,” she says. “I always imagined college as being 80 students and one teacher trying to get a point across to 80 different people. Everybody has a different learning style, and if a teacher has to teach a different way for 80 different people, it takes much longer. Here, there are fewer people in each class, so she can break it down two or three different ways and everybody gets it.”

Both sisters now have their sights set on long careers in the medical field, with Tabitha hoping to continue her journey up the ladder to eventually become a medical director and Jessica hoping to work for a smaller practice so she can have more time at home with her son. Both Tabitha and Jessica say they take their inspiration for going to college from their young children. “My son’s been the inspiration for everything that I’ve done,” Jessica says. “The child of a parent who has a college degree is much more likely to graduate from high school and get a college degree themselves, and I want that for him.”

Sisters Jessica Phillips and Tabitha Meyers are both medical assisting students at the Lynchburg Campus.

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tags: VA-Lynchburg Medical: Medical Assisting - Associate Degree (MAA)