Graduate Review: Cindy Brawley
Hi. My name is Cindy Brawley and I am a recent Career Step honors graduate. It has been a journey and a half, but I MADE IT!
My story started in January of 2013. I had been a stay-at-home mom to my daughter, Gracie, all of her life here in Arkansas. I homeschooled her since the age of 3, but as she got older, she needed me less and less. I began to feel lost. I took up many hobbies, from sewing to crocheting to repurposing. I also volunteered as a Girl Scout leader for many years. Along with that, I became a children’s minister. We participated in everything we could for homeschooling. I had my dog, Lily, and my 2 cats, Ringo and Blaze, to keep me busy, but I wanted more. I started praying about what job God wanted for me. My sister-in-law was taking this course and told me about it. It sounded like an easy thing. I mean, come on, I could type fast and I knew how to listen to people. How hard could it be? I mentioned it to my loving husband, and he told me if I wanted to do it, to go for it. At first he wasn’t so sure about the program. He was afraid it might be a scam. Not to be discouraged, I plunged head first into what would be a journey of a lifetime for me.
It had been a very long time since I had actually been in school. I decided that I was going to go to school from 8-5 M-F. Wow, what a change it was for me. As I began the program, I was blown away at all the stuff there was to learn. I went through the objective portion with minimal problems, except for that pesky grammar and punctuation module. As I progressed, Travis, my husband, started to see that it was really teaching me a lot. He became more and more enthusiastic about it, which just pumped me up more. I was working along and just doing great. Then the actual transcription came along. WOW! It was not what I had thought it would be. I believe I was on the phone every hour or so with Susan and Alesa in Student Support. I emailed them, called them, and I believe I even dreamed about talking to them! I have no idea how I didn’t drive them crazy! Every little question I had, I asked it. Never getting impatient or upset with me, they would just sweetly explain things to me. So I trudged along. I swore I would never make it through. There were A LOT of reports, but I just kept going. During that time, my daughter decided to try public school, which was a big change. Then my friends decided that I need a Chorkie puppy. She is now known as Sassy, and she lives up to her name for sure! All of those changes were so much to handle. I really felt like giving up. Finally, it was time for the final. I just knew I was going to fail. I didn’t believe I was capable of passing. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know enough!! I spent 12 hours the first day on my final. My husband went out and got us pizza so I could chill out and rest for the next day! I worked 4 more hours the following day and then I submitted it. I could not wait to get those results. I just knew I failed and was preparing for the retake. My scores came, and I had passed it with honors on my first try. I was floored! I could not believe it! I think the girls in Skills Assessment were just as excited as I was when they told me the results.
I eagerly started the next step, the job search! I had been told that I may not find work right away but I needed to keep trying. Some students even applied to upwards of 50 companies. I had followed the employer chats on the forums and had decided early on that I wanted to work for Sten-Tel. I didn’t want to apply to 50 places! I wanted my dream job at Sten-Tel, so that was the first place I applied to. Just 9 days after graduating I was taking my pre-employment exam for Sten-Tel. They told me I had to score at least 96% on the test. That scared me to death. I had not scored that high on my final. I was never going to do it. The girls in Graduate Support kept telling me not to doubt myself because I had just graduated from a very difficult course with honors! I just could not see myself doing well on the test. On the 10th day after graduating, I received word that I passed my Sten-Tel pre-employment test with 97.4% and was hired! I simply couldn’t believe it! I had to call Graduate Support! I told Alison, and she laughed with joy for me! This made my day.
As I start my dream job, I have taken so much more than just medical transcription and editing skills away from Career Step. Yes, I feel confident to do my job, but it is so much more than that. I am walking away with abilities that I never knew I had! Thank you so much Career Step for being challenging and keeping me on my toes! Thank you to all the people that have helped me along the way! They have become more than just supportive people, they have become friends!