Finding a New Beginning
A stay-at-home mom turned healthcare provider shares inspiration for realizing your dreams later than you expected!
When Corine Riedell was just 21 years old she was already a stay at home mother of 3. She had completed high school early through independent study and had quickly moved into the adult responsibilities that come along with child rearing, namely putting other’s needs before your own. But putting her children’s upbringing first didn’t mean putting off her own career goals and personal aspirations. Her peers were off at college or enjoying the freedom of being an adult with the lack of responsibilities living at “home” provides. Even though Corine didn’t have either luxury she also didn’t feel she was missing out on anything that couldn’t’ wait. She tucked her dreams away for later and enjoyed her kids while they were young.
Five years later when her youngest was hitting kindergarten, Corine figured it was a good time to refocus some energy on her own education. She attended classes at a local community college at night and went on to attend California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA thinking she’d like a degree in biology but found the program to be in conflict with her family’s needs. This is where the story takes a turn, Corine allowed that obstacle to shape her goals instead of working against it or giving up completely. When a professor refused to let her leave class a few minutes early each week to pick up kids – despite her perfect attendance and stellar grades, she changed her major so that she could enter an accelerated undergraduate program tailored to working adults with evening-only classes. That flexibility allowed her to meet the needs of her family while cultivating her dream of caring for patients as a PA.
Who in their right mind would choose to enter a post-graduate program that is 400 miles away from home while raising three teenagers? Someone with a dream that didn’t fit into the typical time line. Corine was 33 years old and raising three teenagers when she entered the Physician Assistant program of UC Davis Medical School, requiring her to drive to Sacramento every other week and remain there for 5 days. In addition to class instruction she would need to put in time for her internship which was done at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, C.A.R.E.S. clinic in Sacramento and Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks. The reward? A dream achieved at a time that was in line with her other goals, like being an involved mom who stays on top of her kid’s lives.
Corine Riedell is now a certified physician assistant at Wilkes Family Medicine in Newbury Park. She is qualified to diagnose, treat, and counsel patients as well as prescribe medications. She’s proud to still be an involved mom, but she’s also proud to give her kids the example of reaching for dreams even when your path takes turns and twists that make it less traditional. In addition to serving patients at the office she’s dedicated a portion of her time to community talks at places like schools and the YMCA - sharing practical health information as well as inspiration for those that need to keep their goals in focus so they can find a new beginning.
If you’re thinking about finding a new beginning, Corine has some words of inspiration for you:
- Resist the tendency to focus on what you don’t have. Looking at the task ahead – like earning 140 credits to graduate – may be overwhelming, take what you can and focus on what you are accomplishing. Four credits a semester is four you didn’t have before!
- Look for resources. Adults resources are often less obvious or advertised. Most community and four-year colleges have adult learning models that make earning a degree more do-able by offering evening and year-round classes.
- Don’t fall for the “I can do it all” mindset. Talk to your family, spouse, parents, etc. so that you have a realistic goal formed together. Their support is crucial for your mental, emotional and physical well-being.
- Be flexible, don’t give up. Consider timing if things don’t work out initially, maybe you need to wait for a better time. Being realistic about the practicalities and adjusting your road to success doesn’t mean giving up!
- It’s never too late. Whether you are seeking a second career or thinking having children has made it impossible, if you are creative and sensitive to the needs of your family – it’s possible to find a new beginning! I was literally doing homework right beside my kids while they did theirs – I think it gave them a great perspective on a lifestyle of learning.
Corine Riedell, PA-C is a certified physician assistant serving patients at Wilkes Family Medicine in Newbury Park, CA. For more information: WilkesFamilyMedicine.com
Cheryl Bisera is an “805” native and healthcare marketing consultant working to connect healthcare professionals with their communities. Her published work includes features for the prestigious Journal of Medical Practice Management and local media as well as a broad array of marketing and promotional materials for her clients. For more information: www.CherylBiseraConsulting.com