Healthcare Student Completes Associates Degree, Returns for Bachelor's

By on September 28, 2016

For our latest student feature, we sat down with Melissa Nater, a healthcare student at Bay State College at Taunton.

Which Bay State College program have you participated in?
I received my Associates degree in Medical Assisting in 2014, and I now have approximately one year left of my Bachelor's in Healthcare Management.

What made you want to pursue a college degree?
I was 16 and pregnant, and I didn't want to be another statistic, so I was driven to continue on with my education. I got that, "Oh, she's pregnant. That's it. It's over." I said, "No, it's not over. I'm going to get my degree." So I earned my associates, but then I wanted more, so now I'm here for my bachelor's.

What first got you interested in the healthcare field?
My grandfather. He was on a full life-support system at home. My family took care of him and I thought, "Maybe I can help him in some way."

How did you hear about Bay State College's healthcare degree?
A friend of mine, we worked together at a bank. I had been in banking for 13 years by then. We were just sitting there, talking, and I said, "You know, I want to do something different, I don't want to be here forever." I felt like I was in a dead-end career. She recommended Bay State College to me, and told me they had other locations besides their Boston campus. I looked into it and called Renee that night. The rest is history.

What is the most challenging part of being an evening student?
Juggling family and a social life, while still getting the best grades I possibly can. It's been difficult, but I'm happy that I'm doing what I'm doing, so I don't regret it. I balance everything. I'm doing well and my grades show it, so I must be doing something right.

What motivates you to keep going and finish your degree?
I'd be the first person in my family to graduate college.

What is the Taunton location like?
All of the students are wonderful. We all come from different walks of life and help each other out. Since it's an evening program, we all have work experience and can learn from each other. For example, there's this one student who's an HR manager, and she shares her experiences in that role with the class. It's really great; you definitely get more involved in class discussions.

Is there anything you didn't realize about Bay State College before you started here?
We're like a family. You don't feel like you're a number. I walk in this office, and they know my name. I don't feel out of place. I really do feel like this is my family.

What would you tell someone looking into studying at Bay State College?
Well, my brother is actually starting here, so that's an excellent example. He said, "You know, Melissa, I want to better myself. I want to go to college." I said, "Why don't you come to Bay State? I think you'd love it here. You feel at home. You don't feel like a number. The classroom setting is smaller. You don't feel overwhelmed with the course load; because it's designed to be an evening degree while you work. And if you are, you can speak with an instructor. They understand where you're coming from." He's starting here in September in the Business Administration Associates program.

What's next for you after Bay State College?
Getting a job in the field. More money. I want to have things in life, I want a house one day. I pushed aside some of my social life for school, and I don't know if that's a selfish thing, but I want to focus on me right now. I want to better myself. I want to look at myself one day and say, "I'm good."