Sara Mayes has found the prescription to afford her dream of going to college.
For years, Mayes, a recent graduate of the Pharmacy Technician program at Meridian Technology Center and Carney High School, has had her eye on higher education. The California transplant knew it would take dedication, so she committed to pouring herself into her high school courses. Her efforts paid off – she was named her high school’s class salutatorian.
She also knew it would take a lot of money, so early on she began exploring ways to offset the expense. One option kept coming up, and after careful consideration, she decided to pursue it.
“College is the goal. The Air Force is the plan to pay for it,” she said of her decision to enlist.
From Medicine to Military
Over the last two years, Mayes positioned herself for success, both physically and mentally. Adding Meridian to her master plan was a part of that process.
“I plan on going to pharmacy school, and I know that coming here will give me a competitive edge over other students,” she said. “I love that this program challenges me.”
She’s been up at 4 a.m. for daily workouts, rarely taking weekends off. With dedication and hard work, she’s cut time off her run and increased the number of sit-ups and push-ups she could comfortably do. Now that the 18-year-old is in top shape, she acknowledges that all she needs to do now is kick her caffeine habit.
“I’m still working on that,” she joked.
With Tech and high school behind her, Mayes packed her bags and has headed south to begin the eight-and-a-half-week basic military training in San Antonio.
She hoped to be assigned in the medical field, but that wasn’t the case. Mayes will get hands-on training to become a weather specialist based on Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) results and the military’s current needs.
“It would have been nice to do something related to what I’ve learned at Meridian, but medical spots are hard to come by,” she explained. “I will still be earning college credits and that’s all that really matters.”
When reflecting on her time at Tech, Mayes said she believes her time in the Pharmacy Technician program will contribute to whatever success comes next.
“This program isn’t easy,” she said smiling. “I’ve had to really push myself. There’s a lot to take in and a lot to learn. It’s definitely going to help me in the Air Force. You have to work hard, and you have to be determined. Over the past year, I’ve learned to do that because of this program.”
The Pharmacy Technician program is a one-year program that helps students develop an understanding of the names, appropriate uses and potential side effects of commonly prescribed medications. In addition to studying in a simulated pharmacy where they learn how to manage, dispense and compound prescription medicines, students also learn how to fill prescriptions using advanced robotic equipment often found in high-tech pharmacies. Graduates have the skills they need to work in a variety of settings, including pharmacies, hospitals, in-home health care settings and long-term care facilities.
Due to industry requirements, the program is limited to high school seniors and adults. The program prepares graduates for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination (CPhT). For more information on this program or any of Meridian’s 20 plus career training programs, visit meridiantech.edu/programs.