One Family, Two Journeys

In the fall of 2012, Stacey Gulledge became a student in the Associate Degree in Nursing program at Cabarrus College of Health Sciences. A year later, Lisa, Stacey's mother, became a student in the Associate Degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant program. Lisa and Stacey are carrying on the long-time tradition of family members attending Cabarrus College together.

When they were asked what brought them to Cabarrus College, both Stacey and Lisa mentioned how important the small class size and the individualized attention given to students was to them. While the characteristics they were looking for in a college were similar, the reasons they chose to pursue a career in healthcare at Cabarrus College were quite different.

Lisa says she decided to go back to school after her youngest child went off to college. After being a stay-at-home mom for twenty years, she was ready to go back to school. "I knew I wanted to do something in healthcare. My daughter was already a nursing student at Cabarrus College, so I looked into both the nursing and OTA programs at the college. I came to an Open House where I spoke to Nancy Green, program chair of the Occupational Therapy Assistant program, whose enthusiasm convinced me to apply to the OTA program. She is great and I can't say enough about how she has helped me and encouraged me at the Open House, during the application process, and since being accepted. Being an older, returning college student was a bit daunting for me. I really wasn't sure I could do it and thought maybe I was too old; I will be 50 the same month I graduate from the program. Nancy was positive and encouraging and made me feel like this was something I could do. Since being in the OTA program, I have realized what great, well educated, encouraging instructors the program has. They are all great and each brings an expertise to the program that makes it unique. I also feel very blessed to be in the program with the class of students I am with. They are truly great and we all get along really well! I can't say enough good things about the program. It is definitely hard, but I feel we are being well prepared for becoming future Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants."

After high school, Stacey attend Campbell University in hopes of becoming a pharmacist. After one year at Campbell, she decided she no longer wanted to be a pharmacist. Stacey came home and attended RCCC taking general education classes. A couple of weeks after she came home her uncle had brain surgery to help control his epilepsy. Her aunt, who is also a nurse, could only take a few weeks off from work to care for him post-surgery. When it came time for her to go back to work, she was faced with having to send him to an adult daycare during her workday, since he was in no shape yet to stay on his own. Stacey said that it was at this point that she decided to move in with her aunt and uncle to help care for him while she worked. "It was while I was living with them that I decided I wanted to go into nursing. I wanted to be able to help people, and this is one of the best ways I feel that I can. I did some research on local nursing schools and decided on Cabarrus College because of the small class size and availability of instructors and other staff."

When Stacey was asked how it feels to go to school with her mother, she says "I don't see my mom very often on campus; however, I am very proud of her for going back to school after being a stay at home mom for 20 years. It was a hard decision for her to make. She was concerned about returning to school and then joining the work force after so many years. After caring for my sister and me all these years, she is finally doing something for herself, which is well deserved."

Lisa and Stacey say that the rest of the Gulledge family has been very supportive. They understand that Lisa now spends less time taking care of the house, and that it's okay if things are not in perfect order all the time. And they are supportive of Stacey's decision to be a nurse, instead of her original plan of being a pharmacist. They both feel very lucky to have such a supportive family.

Much like the Gulledge family, our Cabarrus College family supports and encourages one another at every given opportunity. When you come to Cabarrus College you're not in it alone...you have an entire family supporting and routing you on!

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