After losing several loved ones, being diagnosed with cancer, and even breaking her back, Diana Hubbard wasn’t going to let anything stop her from completing the Medical Assistant Program at Florida Career College.
Her decision to begin the program was inspired by overcoming tragedy. Diana signed up for the program at the Margate campus in 2019, after she lost the love of her life to his addiction.
“I didn’t want my life to go down a bad spiral because he passed,” she said. “I wanted to let him live through me doing something positive with myself. I went and signed up for school to better myself and live a better life.”
Right away Diana found joy in the program.
“I had straight A’s. I’ve never had straight A’s before in school. I never wanted to go to school,” she said. “School and me, were a huge problem my entire life. I had tried to get my high school diploma several times. It never worked. I had trouble in school when I was a child. I was held back a lot. Once I started this program that all changed. I looked forward to going to school each day. I looked forward to taking a test and getting the answers right. I fell in love with it. I even became an ambassador because I was just all about the school.”
Just as she was getting comfortable, she was knocked down again. Her father figure and the man she was living with at the time took his own life. She was forced to move to Miami and finish the program at the Hialeah campus. Then, just before she was set to begin her externship, more bad news struck.
“I finished all my classes and I was very excited,” Diana said. “On the last day of classes, I went home that day and I did a trick on the trampoline that I shouldn’t have done, and I broke my spine.”
‘EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT NOW’
Diana was told she should be paralyzed or dead but somehow her spinal injury was not fatal. Still, it did keep her from starting her externship. The healing process took more than a year. During that time doctors discovered cancer on Diana’s colon and gallbladder that needed to be removed and she underwent multiple back surgeries. Even in a back brace and using a cane to walk, Diana tried to get back to school to finish her externship. She was told she needed to wait.
“I have a tendency to start a bunch of projects and never see anything through in my life,” Diana said. “No matter what happened I wanted to be able to get this done. I really wanted to be able to work in the medical field. I just didn’t stop. I just kept going.”
During the wait, Diana’s mother passed away. It had been her goal to finish the program while her mom was still living but the death renewed her drive to get it done. In February of 2022, Diana was allowed to complete her externship and in April, before Mother’s Day and before the one-year anniversary of her mother’s death, she officially graduated.
“I use to feel not that confident with myself,” she said. “I was very low and just not happy. The fact that I’ve gone through so much and I am still here and getting things done and now I’ve got this job that I really, really wanted and all these good things are starting to happen, it changed my whole outlook on myself. I got confidence within myself. I found strength within me I didn’t even know I had. The whole outlook on everything is different now. I’m very proud of myself.”
‘DON’T GIVE UP’
Though she lost so much over the course of three years, Diana gained a lot of new friends and mentors at Florida Career College.
Lisa Berger, an instructor at FCC Margate said she witnessed many of the struggles Diana faced. She was so pleased to hear she didn’t let anything stop her.
“I know life can be difficult but the fact that she was able to continue on and finish the program, that’s amazing,” she said. “It takes a lot of dedication and hard work to finish, especially when you’re going through so many personal things in life. As an instructor, I think it’s fantastic that she was able to get through everything. I always tell my students you need to finish. No matter how long it takes, you need to finish.”
“She is kind, determined, and a leader,” said Nichole Walsh, Director of Education at the Hialeah campus. “She went through a spinal surgery and the loss of her mother during her studies, and still graduated. I am proud to know her, and am proud of her, more than words can say. She is an inspiration to everyone she knows, and proved she can, will and did.”
Diana isn’t stopping now. She has plans to further her career in the medical field and even plans to write a book about her experiences.
“This was a 12-month program and it took my 3 years to complete but I did complete it,” she said. “Don’t give up. Make a list of what it is you really want in life and don’t let anything deter you from that. Learn how to control your thought patterns. That was huge with me. Just don’t give up. Keep going. Take it day by day. You’ll get through it. You’ll succeed you just have to not give up.”