In the spring of 2016, Fiqirete Hysa graduated with her second associate degree from College of The Albemarle (COA), but this time, she wasn’t the only one in her family to receive a degree.
In May, Hysa’s son, Ardit, was also sitting with COA’s graduating class. Like his mom in 2014, he earned his Associate in Arts. Back then, he saw how his mom was able to juggle work, family and her studies while pursuing her degree a few years ago, so when she began working on another degree two years ago — Medical Office Administration — he decided to enroll with her this time.
“I think it was a good example for him to see what I was doing at COA,” Hysa said, who maintained a 3.75 grade-point average for both her degrees.
Hysa, a native of Albania, already had a bachelor’s degree, but it wasn’t recognized in the U.S. She decided to go to college here so she could advance her education and admits it wasn’t always easy. But the help she found on campus from instructors and tutors, she added, made all the difference.
“COA has a writing lab and I’m really thankful to the tutoring director,” she said. “My tutor was very, very helpful.”
She received scholarships from both COA and the Women’s Association of Duck Woods Country Club, which helped enable her to pursue her education. Both she and her son attended the Dare County Campus.
Hysa’s son plans on pursuing a four-year degree eventually, after saving some money for college. Hysa spent some of her time during her last two semester doing work-based learning as part of her program requirements. She worked with the local health department and learned about medical records and filing health insurance, as well as gaining experience working the front desk and assisting the public and making the work schedule for the office.
“I think it’s very good experience for students,” Hysa said, referring to COA’s Work-Based Learning program requirements.
Hysa has already landed a job as a CVS pharmacy technician, a part-time position that will keep her busy. She also has a full-time job working with Dare County Public Schools, but eventually, she hopes to find a full-time job working in a medical office.
“I always liked the medical field,” Hysa said.