Renewed hope: TSC gives Respiratory Care Science graduate a fresh start

Texas Southmost College Respiratory Care Science graduate Suzette Sanchez is proof that never giving up is more than cliché advice.

She graduated with her second associate degree from TSC in May 2020 in Respiratory Care Science, immediately passed her licensing exams and began working, all within a month of earning her degree.

But in 2016 when the 31-year-old first applied for the rigorous and competitive Respiratory Care Science program, she did not get accepted.

“I’ve always a wanted a career in the health care field and I knew that being a respiratory therapist was my calling,” she said. “It just took me a little longer to get there.”

With persistence, Sanchez went on to earn her first associate degree in general studies from TSC and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Texas Permian Basin.

Through it all she remained hopeful that she would one day become a respiratory therapist. So, two years ago, she reapplied and finally received the acceptance letter she had long been waiting for.

“This is what happens when you don’t give up and don’t take ‘No’ for an answer,” said Sanchez. “I finally feel like I am where I’m supposed to be.”

Sanchez said she felt prepared returning to TSC for the respiratory program with a couple of college degrees under her belt, but nothing could have prepared her for the rigor of the program.

“I was working full-time and had just started working toward a master’s degree, and the program quickly humbled me,” she admitted. “I had to choose what I wanted to do, so I dropped my master’s program and continued pushing forward. It was well worth it.”

She credits the program’s structure and instructors for her success.

“Standards are high, lessons are disciplined, and instructors guided and pushed us to do our best,” said Sanchez. “I’m thankful for the experience, no matter how challenging and demanding. It was the rigor of it all that fully prepared me to enter the field.”

Sanchez is now a registered respiratory therapist for Valley Baptist Medical Center in Brownsville.

Starting her career during a pandemic has come with its challenges for Sanchez, who recently recovered from COVID-19.

“I get asked a lot if working during a pandemic has changed my mind about my career choice, and the answer is ‘no,’” said Sanchez. “I did get COVID, and it was a really hard time for me, but I was fortunate and now I’m vaccinated. I love my job. My passion is helping people and I finally feel like I am where I belong. Nothing can change my mind, not even COVID.”

Sanchez restarted her master’s program in Organizational Leadership at Our Lady of the Lake University and is already researching doctoral programs to help her reach her goal of working in health care administration.

“TSC has allowed me to make my goals reality and gave me a second chance to pursue the career of my dreams,” she said. “It has set me up with a secure, lifelong career and I feel accomplished. This just goes to show that if you really want something, you make it happen. I hope this serves as an inspiration for others.”

For more information, visit TSC’s Respiratory Care Science program.

Registration for summer and fall 2021 is in progress.