BRIDGEPORT, WV – For Pharmacy Technician graduate Tessa Cain, her favorite part of being a student at West Virginia Junior College was the friendships she made because of the smaller class sizes and being with the same group of students through all of her pharmacy classes.
“My pharmacy class was tight-knit,” Tessa said. “Jenica Frye was our instructor and we were her very first pharmacy technician group. We were like a little family. Mrs. Frye, who taught all of our pharmacy courses, provided so much encouragement and presented such a positive and compassionate attitude. Everyone wanted to do their best and no one wanted anyone else to fail. Our class was a team and we weren’t leaving anyone behind.”
Although Tessa always made good grades, she hated school. She never wanted to attend a four or six-year college.
“In fact, I really didn’t want to go to college at all,” Tessa said. “My parents allowed me to choose my own route post high school, but still encouraging me to go to college. I looked at every option from military police to the beauty academy, but nothing seemed to be appealing enough to commit.”
However, early on in her senior year of high school, admissions representatives from WVJC visited her class to show the education and career opportunities that WVJC had to offer. After talking with them and visiting the campus, Tessa said she felt confident enough in the program to commit to WVJC.
Tessa knew she wanted to work in healthcare and to interact with people, so she originally signed up for the Medical Assisting program. However, at orientation she learned about the new Pharmacy Technician program, which immediately caught her interest. She reserved the last available spot in the program.
“I chose the Pharmacy Technician program because I wanted to deal with the public, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to interact with their bodily fluids,” Tessa said. “The two things that sealed the deal for me were no blood and guts and various healthcare opportunities available with the certification and degree.”
Although she had difficulty picking her absolute favorite thing about the Pharmacy Technician program, Tessa said she loved doing hands-on labs, performing medication calculations and learning the laws of the pharmacy.
“Every day I had class, I learned something new and interesting,” she said. “Instead of losing interest like I always had before, I seemed to gain more interest in the career path I had chosen.”
While attending WVJC, Tessa worked as a pharmacy technician trainee at Whitehall Pharmacy. After graduation, she continued to work at Whitehall Pharmacy for a few months, and then at the beginning of April in 2012, she applied for a pharmacy technician job at Best Care Pharmacy. She has since taken on the role as the lead technician.
“I love my career field and the variations of people that I deal with on a daily basis,” Tessa said.
Tessa was also presented with the opportunity to instruct the Pharmacy Math and Dosage Calculations class at WVJC in November.
“None of the opportunities that have come my way would have been possible without the training and support I received from the staff at West Virginia Junior College,” she said.
Not only did Tessa’s earn a associate’s degree and national certification from her time spent at WVJC, but she also gained a feeling of accomplishment and a drive to do something with what she’s learned.
“I take pride in the work that I do and I am more confident in myself and the person that I am now than I have ever been,” she said.
Tessa credits the administration and faculty at WVJC for being her support system.
“Every single administration and faculty member at WVJC that I had the privilege of meeting would do anything that they could to help any student at the college,” Tessa said. “From the time I first walked in the door to the last time I walked out the doors as a student, I always felt encouragement and positivity.
There was one faculty member in particular that really made a difference in Tessa’s life.
“There was one faculty member in particular that I grew to know and love as if she were an older sister to me -Jenica Frye,” Tessa said. “She was an awesome mentor and example for me to follow. Without her, the career opportunities I had would have never come my way. Mrs. Frye was a wonderful instructor, but she quickly became a dear friend. So I would very much like to thank her for every time she stuck her neck on the line for not only me, but other students as well.”
While Tessa was attending WVJC, she got married. She went to the county courthouse on a Wednesday around 1 p.m., and then went to class afterward.
“When I made it back to class, Mrs. Frye and my classmates had arranged a little post wedding celebration with gifts and cake,” she said. “I was completely surprised. I don’t think any of them will ever know how much that truly meant to me.”
For more information on graduation rates, median debt of students who have completed their programs, and other important information, please visit our website at www.wvjc.edu/bridgeport-programs. Our programs are equal opportunity employer/programs. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.