“If your Plan A doesn’t work, have a Plan B. If Plan B doesn’t work, have a Plan C. You can never have too many and, if it gets you to where you want to go, it’s worth it”.  

Indeed, California community colleges alum, Sung Yi, had a plan in mind and today he’s where he wants to be: a college graduate, on his way to a career in medicine. 

Originally from South Korea, Yi immigrated to the United States at the age of 10, settling in Los Angeles. After high school, Yi first applied to a few University of California and California State University computer science programs. Not possessing the required GPA and SAT score for these programs, Yi instead enlisted with the U.S. military, while also attending Santa Monica City College and Los Angeles City College.

His educational experiences in Southern California opened his eyes to a potential career path change, and he switched his focus from computer science to the medical field. He moved to Northern California and completed the remainder of his general education coursework at Sac City College before earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from California State University, Sacramento. Many momentous and substantial societal events, including 9/11, took place during this time, and Yi became interested in developing an understanding of the human mind and reasoning. 

In 2010, Yi begun working in the health care industry, completing respite care work with disabled or chronically ill children and adults. His work included working with autistic children, providing in-home educational services and care. During this work, he was very intrigued with the medical field itself and the processes that it entailed. 

“I wanted to do a little more (and) not just be their caretaker. How can I be their advocate and learn more to do more for these students?”

In 2014, Yi returned to Sac City College to enroll in the nursing program. When asked what he enjoyed most about the Sacramento City College nursing program, he said. “The faculty, the teachers, my classmates. While attending community college, I was focused on just getting in and getting out. However, it was the environment of the nursing program that encouraged me to get to know my teachers and classmates more. We were learning on top of networking.” 

During his time in the nursing program, Yi volunteered as a student aid in the biology department, serving as a microbiology and chemistry tutor, peer mentor, and academic support and resource system for other students. 

“I enjoyed networking and talking with people, helping them and tutoring them. This was a good way to see how I would do, working one-on-one with students”, as Yi also was exploring the possibility of entering the field of teaching and education.

Yi earned his associate degree in nursing and license for vocational nursing this past spring. 

“One great thing about the nursing program is that they have us exposed to lecture times and clinical times. They assign us to different clinical sights. This helped tremendously. You work with different professors that are able to help you get to three different clinical sights and are exposed to many of the different variety of health care pathways that are available to enter.” 

Yi completed his clinical work with centers including Sutter Roseville Medical Center and UC Davis Health, where he had the opportunities to work with inpatients and become exposed to a variety of clinics and specializations, such as cardiology and obstetrics and gynecology.  

“I have my (bachelor’s degree) already but now I am going back to school to have a better career rather than just a job. California community colleges help you form a path to your career instead of just finding a job. They gave me an extra boost to be able to go ahead and pursue nursing and, as a result, I am now where I wanted to be.”

Today, Yi currently is employed with RC Willey in the sales department, where he also worked while attending school and providing for his wife and two children. “It’s about finding the right balance and learning to compromise. You can’t do everything, so you will need to prioritize your time and commitments.”

Within the next five years, he plans to go back to school to earn his registered nurse license, through the RN Bridge Program at American River College. His long-term goal is to become a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant.

Closing his reflection of his educational and career journey with California community colleges, Sung Yi provides advice to prospective students: “Set a goal. If you really want to get to where you want to go, make sure you set a goal and make sure you have the resources and support to get there.”