In this interview, Jorge speaks with Giovanna Sosa, a Respiratory Therapy student at HCC Coleman, who shares her excitement as she nears the end of her last semester. They discuss the challenges of the program and delve into Giovanna's reasons for choosing Respiratory Therapy. Giovanna also reflects on her motivation and expresses gratitude for the support she has received from Capital IDEA Houston, emphasizing the transformative impact of her educational journey. We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to support her and are eagerly anticipating her future accomplishments.
Jorge: Hi Giovanna, thanks so much for doing this. So I hear you are in between semesters right now?
J: Okay. And what program are you in?
G: Respiratory Therapy at HCC Coleman.
J: Oh, cool. How long have you been in the program?
G: About to finish. This is my last semester.
J: Oh, wow! That must be so exciting!
G: I'm very excited. Pretty much ready to be done with school… Yeah.
J: What's been the most challenging thing for you since being in the program?
G: Um, I would say learning new study habits. Memorization isn't a good study habit, so finding ways to understand the concepts thoroughly has been challenging. It's not easy, especially in the medical field. So, finding that "aha" moment has been the most challenging part for me. I hope that makes sense.
J: Yeah, I mean, I think I know what you're getting at. It's about fully understanding the concepts rather than relying on short-term memory to answer questions, right?
G: Exactly! Because everything I learned from my very first semester is coming back, and they're building upon it. So, I have to make sure I truly understand it instead of just memorizing facts.
J: Yeah, I get it. So, what made you decide to pursue Respiratory Therapy?
G: Initially, I wanted to do nursing, but I realized it wasn't for me. I've always been fascinated by the anatomy of the heart and lungs. I even wanted to be a surgeon, but organic chemistry stopped me. However, as I got into Respiratory Therapy, I found it easy to grasp, and the more I got into it, the more I liked it.
J: That's great! Sometimes challenging things can turn out to be the best fit for us. So, you mentioned sacrifices you've made for your studies. What keeps you motivated when there are distractions or invitations to social events?
G: It's more of a feeling of guilt. Even when I have nothing to study, I still feel like I should be studying. I've pushed myself so far that I want to keep pushing because it's not just about getting good grades. It's about truly knowing the material. My patients won't care about my grades; they'll care about my competence. I don't want to make a mistake that could harm someone. That's what motivates me.
J: That's a great perspective to have. It's not just about the grades, but about the impact you'll have on people's lives. So, you mentioned this is your final semester. How has the overall journey been, and how did you first hear about Capital Idea, Houston?
G: It's been a total of six semesters without many breaks. I started in August 2021. I heard about Capital IDEA Houston during orientation when one of your career navigators gave a presentation online. I decided to give it a shot and see what happens.
J: That's awesome! It's great that you found out about Capital IDEA Houston early on in your program. And how was the application process for you?
G: It was a bit confusing at first, but the career navigator was very helpful. I had some questions, and she answered them thoroughly. There was one link I couldn't find due to a typo, but she reset it, and overall, the process went smoothly. All and all, It took about a month, and I was accepted.
J: Glad to hear we were able to provide good support during the onboarding process. Who have you been working with mainly since joining Capital IDEA Houston?
G: Initially, it was with Alexis before I was changed to a different career navigator. Okay. Yeah, I only had the other career navigator for like a semester, but I pretty much was with Alexis. And right now, I'm communicating with Mariah.
J: Okay, Yeah. Mariah is great. So far, what has been the most meaningful support you have received from Capital IDEA Houston?
G: I think the fact that when I have a small issue, y’all are very supportive. They ask, "What can we do on our end? Let us know, and we'll help you with whatever you need." It’s been amazing to have that support. I keep them updated whenever things are feeling like too much because I know that's something CIH wants to hear. They want to know what’s happening and how they can help.
J: Yeah, and we think it's super important to offer support when things are starting to fall apart so that we can help you navigate any trouble and get you back on track. Since being in the program and having the support from Capital IDEA Houston, what do you feel has been the biggest transformation in yourself?
G: I think the biggest transformation was after the Uvalde school shooting. I had family there who were affected by that. It had a big impact on me, and I was pretty depressed afterwards. But I kept pushing through and realized that as a future first responder, I could have been there to help. I may not be fully trained in everything, but I know enough to handle situations like CPR. My critical thinking skills have improved, and instead of freezing, I know how to take action based on the situation.
J: That's beautiful. It's important to have the confidence and ability to make a positive change in challenging situations. It's not just limited to medical situations but extends to being an active participant in society. Can you tell me about the frustrations or worries you had before you secured this educational path?
G: Before joining the Respiratory Therapy program, I was torn between nursing and respiratory. But COVID was an eye-opener for me. I saw a lot of people struggling with respiratory issues, including my grandpa who passed away from COVID. My mom also had a severe case, although she didn't need hospitalization. COVID created a higher demand for respiratory professionals, and as a student in the field, I noticed that not all nurses or doctors have a deep understanding of respiratory care. I realized that this was the field I belonged to and that there's more to the medical field than just doctors and nurses.
J: It's great to have that affirming experience where you can see the value of your program and how it fits into the real world. So, what advice would you give to someone considering going back to school?
G: I would say, go for it. There's really nothing stopping you. Even though I had financial concerns, I discovered there are resources available. Capital IDEA Houston, for instance, has been incredibly supportive, covering expenses like tuition and even the boards. I've spoken to my classmates about Capital IDEA Houston, reassuring them that it's not too late to apply. Regardless of age, responsibilities, or circumstances, there's no reason or anything that should hold you back. The only one stopping you is yourself. There are resources out there, and even if you don't know about them, someone else does. It's a matter of searching, asking, and connecting with the right people who can help you.
J: That's a great point. There are resources available, and it's important to reach out and explore them. Well, thank you so much for sharing your insights and experiences. Good luck with the rest of your semester and we hope to catch up with you again at a later date. Take care!
[This interview was edited for brevity and clarity.]
If you are ready to jump start your livelihood, join us at one of our upcoming information sessions to find out how we have helped more than a thousand students achieve self-sufficiency and get the training they needed with a sponsorship from Capital IDEA Houston: www.capitalideahouston.org/infosession