I am changing my career later in life after experiencing success with our family business. Oddly, I find myself leaving our company as it is entering an all-time high of growth and profitability. I am so proud of the essential part I have played, but to be 100% honest, I fell into the business; it was never my plan. However, the company gave me quite a good life and the ability to raise my six children actively, so I am grateful. However, now that my youngest is off to college, it is now my turn to follow my calling, my path, my true nature.

I am a fixer, an active listener, mainly a problem solver. I am an only child with a family filled with medical professionals. I was raised in a laboratory and learned how to count red and white blood cells under a microscope at age ten. My mother wanted me to be a doctor, and I didn’t want that kind of responsibility.

Several years ago, my sister-in-law, Kim, was diagnosed with Relapsing-Remitting MS. I was her caretaker for years. I soon found out that there were very few resources available at the time for MS patients. This forced me into action to find ways to make Kim’s life manageable. OT became essential, and I found it to be a natural fit.

A few years later, I found myself deep in my father’s care when he was diagnosed with a form of Parkinson’s disease. Lastly, my son had a catastrophic motorcycle accident resulting in the loss of his right leg above the knee, a shattered pelvis, a five-week coma, and a traumatic brain injury. Again, I found myself surrounded by the world of OT.

These three different experiences gave me the courage to acknowledge that Occupational Therapy had become a calling and an undeniable passion. California has only three programs available through public community colleges. I was fortunate enough to be accepted into Santa Ana College – Occupational Therapy Assistant Program, Spring 2020. I moved mountains to make sure that I could participate. Sadly, the pandemic hit California hard within the first four weeks of our program.

We all went home and actively engaged in our Zoom classes. Thankfully, I am part of an incredible cohort filled with integrity, heart, and talent. The SAC OTA faculty worked diligently to ensure that our OTA program would continue successfully at home and safely planned lab classes.

As of April 2021, my OTA program is completing our third semester, and I am very anxious to head into Fieldwork. I am steadfast in my decision to become a COTA.

Elizabeth Rose

West Hills, CA 91307