Tiffany said the support she’s gotten from the faculty and staff at Florida Career College has been incredible.

Orlando Medical Assistant Technician Student Has Many Motivations to Succeed

At the age of 16, Tiffany Medina quit school to focus on some significant mental health issues, some of which continue to carry over into her adult life. Yet, despite never completing high school, she’s remained passionate about – and at times, even obsessed with – learning and education.

So, earlier this year when she was diagnosed with an eating disorder and was considering her treatment options, Tiffany essentially did a cost-benefit analysis. She knew therapy would be an investment, yet she’d always wanted to go back to school, earn her high school diploma, and perhaps learn a trade.

In fact, she felt that focusing on her education might have an even greater positive impact on her mental health than seeking specific treatment options.

“In order for me to go to an eating disorder clinic, it was going to be 10K out of pocket,” said Tiffany, now 22. “So, I thought why not start looking at schools? I had a lot of guilt about not completing high school, so I started looking around at GED programs. That’s what led me to Florida Career College.”

After learning more about Florida Career College (FCC) and its programs, she decided to forgo therapy and give school a shot. Tiffany enrolled in the Medical Assistant Program at FCC’s Orlando campus, where she’s currently a student … and a successful one at that.

Along with earning Dean’s List recognition following each of her first four modules, Tiffany is a Student Ambassador at FCC Orlando and regularly works as a tutor to help her fellow students.

Tiffany says her mental health has vastly improved as she continues to pursue something she’s passionate about: getting trained to earn a career that allows her to help other people. In the meantime, she’s also working to get her high school diploma.

“School work has been like a coping mechanism for my mental health,” Tiffany said. “I never expected myself to go this far. But, I’m very proud of how far I’ve come mentally and with my education.”


Tiffany said one of her first memories as a child was of watching her mom graduate college after training to become a medical assistant. This example is part of what motivated her to enroll in FCC’s Medical Assistant Technician program.

“My mom is one of my main inspirations,” she said. “She’s incredibly intelligent and resilient and hard-working, and I’ve always used some of those characteristics to inspire myself.”

In addition, Tiffany said that knowing she could help take care of the people around her – from her family to her future wife, who also manages personal mental health issues – also influenced her career aspirations.

But, since she’s enrolled in FCC’s Medical Assistant Technician program, she has realized yet another benefit: she’s taking better care of herself, especially when it comes to managing her eating disorder.

“I used to not be able to weigh myself,” Tiffany said. “But, even just learning the basics of taking my own vitals have forced me to face this. I have labs two times a week, and I have to take my vitals, including my weight. I just think the relative facts of knowing my body now … now I know how to take care of myself better than I did before.”

And, she’s beginning to see how the training she’s currently receiving at Florida Career College can open the door to a number of possible career opportunities.

“When I chose to enroll in the Medical Assistant Tech program, I was thinking about patient care, but I really like how hands-on the courses are,” Tiffany said. “The medical assistant is the second hand to the doctor. That’s what they teach us. I love being able to learn all there is about this career, and all the roads that medical assistant technician can lead you down.”

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Tiffany said the support she’s gotten from the faculty and staff at FCC has been incredible. Even during her first class, as she was transitioning back into becoming a student, she felt encouraged and supported, especially from MAT instructor Marlena Stefanek.

“Ms. Stefanek is probably one of the best teachers I’ve met in all my times of being in school,” she said. “She really, really cares about her students. She puts in the most work making sure her students are in class and understanding stuff. She’ll even stay after hours to help you walk through things you may not have understood from that day’s lessons.”

“Ms. Tiffany has been a great asset to her classmates and she continuously contributes to FCC by demonstrating her leadership skills,” Marlena Stefanek said. “I cannot express enough how much it is a pleasure to have her in my class. I strongly believe her contagious positivity and willingness to learn in an ever-changing environment will ensure her success after completion of the MAT program.”

Tiffany is a natural leader who strives to return the favor by helping other students and classmates through her Student Ambassador role, as a tutor, or by simply answering questions in class.

“I just always love to help people,” she said. “I don’t want any of my classmates to feel left behind. And, when I help them and I see the lightbulb go on and they say, ‘I understand this,’ that’s one of the best feelings for me.”

As such, Tiffany said she could see herself one day pursuing a job in education – perhaps even teaching MAT students at Florida Career College. But she would also love to continue her education in the medical field.

First, though, she still has a few courses and an externship to complete at FCC. It’s a journey during which Tiffany expects to find plenty of support.

“I just think FCC is a great school,” she said. “This college very much does care about your education at an individual level. At this school, I love how personal everything is. I love how I can contact my teacher whenever I need it. Instead of feeling alone or secluded, you definitely feel like you have people in your corner here at FCC.”