Rediscovering a Love for Learning
Student Spotlight: Patricia Siolo Folasa
Deciding to return to school can be an intimidating choice. It is even more so when you are a single mother, the primary caregiver to a parent, and have a job, but that’s exactly what Patricia Folasa did.
Patricia began her work in 2000 in the healthcare industry as a Medical Assistant. Driven by her passion for patient interaction and caretaking, Patricia initially went to school for her Medical Assistant Certificate. After working several years in the industry, Patricia moved to Seattle in 2014 to care for her mother. Her love for learning and her interest in better understanding her mother’s illness led Patricia to return to school for her Phlebotomy License in the State of WA.
Back to School
Having successfully attended school at night for her license, Patricia then decided to continue with her education and to return again, this time for her bachelor’s degree. This led her to CityU, where Patricia is currently studying for her Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration.
“I was very nervous in the beginning because I had never done online,” Patricia said, on choosing to pursue a degree with CityU. “But once you get into, it really gave me a great sense of my ability in realizing that ‘Wow, I can actually do this.’”
The format of her classes, while initially a cause for concern, ended up being ideal for her busy schedule. “I love going to school online because I can set my own time. I can study between hours at work, or I can study at any time of the day or night.”
Patricia has been a CityU student for three years now and is entering the final year of her program. As a first-generation college student, Patricia’s approaching graduation is extra meaningful. She will be the second in her family to graduate after her sister. “Looking back, we didn’t have that much. My parents worked hard after they left Samoa and came to America,” Patricia said. “I wish I went to school a long time ago, but I can see now why we couldn’t.”
Now, Patricia feels that she can really appreciate her educational opportunities. She has to constantly prioritize her education, while balancing it with the other aspects of her busy life. “I stay busy, but I like it,” Patricia commented. “Everything I’m doing is valuable and everything I’m doing now is so important to me.” Patricia’s busy schedule keeps her motivated and has given her the confidence to look towards future goals.
“One of my goals, because my family has a military background, is that I want to be in the VA, Veterans Affairs work. There’s a lot of need for healthcare on the administration side,” Patricia said. She would also love the opportunity to work in an area where there is great need and where she could use her experiences and education to give back. On visiting Samoa, where her parents are originally from, Patricia said, “There was a lot of poverty. They need more nurses and administrators to help guide them and provide more resources.” As she continues with her education, Patricia sees an opportunity for her to take on more of a leadership role in the healthcare industry so that she can help provide some of that guidance and those much needed resources.
Patricia’s educational journey has given her a new sense of confidence and instilled a lifelong love of learning. “If I could ever go back to school after this, I think I would. I might just go back for my Master’s,” she said.
Moving forward, she wants people to know that “With education, you don’t have to do it when you’re young. You can do it at any age, as long as you put your mind into it.”
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