GTCC Graduate Finds Connection in Online Degree Program

Published on: December 9, 2020

“Do not be afraid of change. Be afraid of not changing.” It’s a mantra Dawn Wilson, a 2020 graduate of Guilford Technical Community College, lives by.

Wilson earned her associate’s degree in Medical Office Administration – Medical Billing and Coding through the GTCC’s eDegree program. She chose the online learning platform because of the convenience and the security it offered her.

“I was a little afraid. I had been out of school 10 years,” she said.

Wilson had suffered a health crisis a few years before enrolling in GTCC. She was diagnosed with epilepsy shortly after her 35th birthday. She felt the online learning platform would work better for her as she continued to gain confidence with her improving health.

“My husband found me seizing on the floor one day,” she recalled. “I never had any problems like that in my life. I was having 40 to 50 seizures a day. I couldn't’t do anything. The seizures were out of control.”

Wilson underwent surgery to treat her epilepsy and during recovery, started to gain back her independence. “I’m doing fabulous now. I haven’t had a seizure in four years,” she added. 

With her health crisis behind her, Wilson started to think about her future. Her husband suggested billing and coding as a potential career path. She had always wanted a career in healthcare and had some foundational medical knowledge from her time working as a certified nursing assistant many years prior.

After checking out the college’s medical billing and coding program, Wilson said she was impressed. She enrolled in fall 2018 and was determined to get everything she could out of her college experience.

Wilson shared that she has always been known as quiet and someone who keeps to herself. Online learning makes it easy to operate in that mindset, but she challenged herself to get as much as she could out of being a GTCC student.

“I wanted to get everything I could because GTCC offers so much,” she shared.

Virtual learning didn't’t stop her from engaging with other students and joining clubs. She attended the Clubs Fair in her first semester at GTCC and joined the Healthcare and Office Administration Club. She was also inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, GTCC’s academic honor society and became an officer.

“It scared me but I put my application in to be an officer,” she recalled. “I wanted to do more.”

Wilson credits the two clubs with giving her purpose and pulling her out of her comfort zone.

“I needed to be more outgoing. GTCC gave me the platform to do that,” she added.

Wilson chose remote learning out of preference and found the experience to be rewarding.

“There are tons of resources and so much information out there,” she said. “Most of the resources you’d find on a physical campus are available to an online student. If you need tutoring, that is set up through Microsoft Teams. You can also access library resources online.”

She also found ways to connect with fellow GTCC students through the eDegree coffeehouse.

“It’s a forum for just chatting about how to figure things out. You can ask for help with a subject or locating a resource. Students will also create study groups through the coffeehouse,” she added. “There are forums for every class so you can connect with other students. The biggest thing for me was communicating.”

With her degree program complete, Wilson, now 39, is now searching for the right employment opportunity. Her dream is to do medical coding and billing for a small healthcare practice.

For information about GTCC’s online degree programs, click here


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