Nearly Paralyzed, Lincoln Grad Now Helps Others as a Medical Assistant
Helping others as a Medical Assistant.
Solelia Stephenson was 25 years old when she was shot. Doctors told her she would never walk again, but Stephenson, who was in her first year at Lincoln Technical Institute (LTI), was determined to prove them wrong – and she did.
Stephenson graduated from Lincoln’s Medical Assistant program and now works with doctors to help others. She sat down with LTI to share her inspirational story.
LTI: What brought you to Lincoln Tech and how did you decide to become a medical assistant?
I was indecisive in what I really wanted to do. I wanted to get [into] the Pharmacy Technician program, and then I actually wanted to do other things, too. So I came in and this wonderful lady, Angela, she actually works in – what is it? – admissions, and she was very nice.
She made me feel warm as soon as I walked in the door and she gave my options. She let me know exactly what the courses [entailed]. She made me feel confident whatever I did here at Lincoln Tech was going to be a success.
Can you please talk a little bit about the incident that interrupted your studies and put your future in jeopardy?
Well, when I was 25, which is the year that I – a year after I started Lincoln Tech – unfortunately I was in a domestic violence situation with my kids’ father. And, something happened, and I ended up being shot in the neck. And I was told that I was going to be paraplegic.
I was told I wasn’t going to walk anymore. I was told that basically nothing that I wanted to do in my future was possible.
What was it like to go through that, and how were you able to recover?
It was very hard, to be honest with you, because you never realize what is taken from you [until] you can’t actually do it anymore. It's the little things, like just your fine gross motor skills and things like that. It affected me, not being able to move.
It was a big progress for me to actually be around people, period. To be around people [who] don't know you and can judge you and not know what you've been through, and the moment that I walked into Lincoln Tech, like I said, I felt very comfortable.
How did the school help make you feel comfortable?
As, you know, the months start going and, you know, then the mods start changing, I started realizing, you know, like these teachers and the students and the directors and everybody, they make you feel like family. You feel warm inside, like you feel like there is nothing that you are going through that they will not understand.
Anything that I wanted to talk about, anything that I felt was on my mind, they were here after school, before school, they took extra time out with me. Even if I was having a bad day … you know they gave me inspirational talks, it was just was so comfortable just to be here at Lincoln Tech.
You made a remarkable recovery, came back to school and graduated from the Medical Assistant program. Did Lincoln Tech help you prepare for life after school?
Career Services is awesome, I do remember when I first came to Lincoln Tech, my first class was Strategies of a Successful Student and they came and they let us know what's expected of a portfolio. It was awesome. They helped us, they gave us a lot of pointers [such] as how to layout your resume.
They actually gave us mock interview papers on actually sitting there and actually thinking about what you would say on an interview. They had us type them out. We did, actually, a mock interview with the Career Services and they asked us questions just like we were in an interview. It was awesome because we are always in our scrubs and they were like, you know, “Dress for your best. We're going to do the interview like as if you were actually going to an interview.’
Are you glad you made the choice to go to Lincoln Tech?
Where I am today is because of Lincoln Tech, and myself, because without them in the background of my hard work, literally, I don’t think I would have strived as much as I wanted to.