Going back to school as an adult can be intimidating for most individuals, but Lisa Michelle Leonard did not allow the intimidation to hold her back from actualizing her potential to the fullest. Leonard attended Ross College Online and obtained an Associate Degree in Health Services Administration and another in Medical Billing Administrative Specialist.
Being in the accelerated online program came with its fair share of challenges; however, it also allowed Leonard to enhance her organizational and time management skills. She completed eight weeks worth of school in only five weeks. This required her to create systems for herself that would allow her to keep up with all of the schoolwork and stay ahead of the game. For example, she would plan ahead and assign herself a task to complete for each day of the week and she would segment off her time into intervals so she wouldn’t become too overwhelmed.
Not only did Leonard gain some valuable skills during her time in school, but she also came to some key realizations, which are applicable to various life situations. One of these realizations was that her fears and stress are quite normal. In fact, those fears can be used to amplify your momentum and productivity once you realize that they are normal and often times, they are just illusions. Every student is faced with stress at one point or another throughout their time in school. Becoming fully conscious of that idea alone allowed Leonard to take a lot of the stress off herself. Moreover, Leonard encourages others to take this advice as well and try to apply it to their own lives.
Leonard’s words of encouragement and positive outlook on life is an inspiration to many. We took some time to talk to Leonard and ask her some more questions about herself and her life outside of school.
1.Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I live in the beautiful state of Tennessee with my husband James, and we have been married for almost six years. I am a two-time graduate from Ross College with an Associate Degree of Applied Science in Health Services Administration and another in Medical Billing and Coding. Currently, I am enrolled at Southern New Hampshire University working toward my Bachelor’s Degree of Applied Science in Healthcare Administration.
2. What was it about being a Medical Billing Administrative Specialist that appealed to you?
The biggest thing to appeal to me was the great demand for Medical Billing Specialists in the healthcare system today. I have worked as a Personal Care Aide for the elderly, and as much as I enjoyed the work, I soon realized that an administrative position would be more fitting. This would allow me to still interact with patients and their caregivers, which is a big part of what I love to do.
3. Are you currently working as a Medical Billing Administrative Specialist? And if so, how did that start for you?
Unfortunately, I am not currently working in my field of study. I have worked as a Medicare Claims Denial Follow-Up Representative and as a Medical Secretary since graduating from Ross, but the positions did not work out. Therefore, I am currently employed as a Travel Consultant for Expedia Cruise, and I work from home.
4. What advice would you like to share with other students who are in or will be in the Medical Billing Administrative Specialist program in the future?
The best advice I could ever give to others is to not be too hard on yourself, and to never give up on completing your Medical Billing Administrative degree. Going back to school as an adult can be tough, but it is definitely worth all of the effort you put into it. Also, create your own work schedule for the week, and do your best to stick to that plan week after week. It is a great tool for helping you feel productive as each assignment is getting marked off your school to-do list.
5. What is your favorite thing about your job?
While being employed as a Denial’s Specialist and as a Medical Secretary, my favorite thing was seeing and applying the many things I learned at Ross while obtaining both of my degrees. It was very exciting to finally have hands-on experience with Medical Billing, including Medicare, HIPAA laws, ICD – 10 codes, and even contractual amounts. I felt very intimidated in the beginning of my classes, so the hands-on experience was a great confidence booster once I was able to master it.
6. What achievements are you most proud of?
I am very proud to be a Ross College alumnus, as well as being honored as class valedictorian both times I graduated. Most recently, I am proud to say that I am now a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), having been inducted on April 27, 2019.
7. What are your most immediate future goals and aspirations?
My most immediate future goals and aspirations are in continuing my education at SNHU, and in finding a long-term administrative position in one of the healthcare systems in my area. In addition, I am considering furthering my education at SNHU and obtaining my Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration. However, I have plenty of time for that.
8. Are there any particular people or events that have inspired you to progress as a person?
There are friends who have definitely inspired me to progress and grow as a person. One of the most important people to inspire and encourage me has been my husband, James. He went back to school later in life as well, and finished his Bachelor’s Degree in his forties. My life hasn’t always been what it is today, and there has been a lot of ups and downs along the way. I never dreamed it would turn out like it has, and for that, I can only give thanks to God for the miraculous things he has done for me.
9. What do you for leisure and recreation? What are your hobbies?
For leisure and recreation, my favorite things to do are to read and to cook. I feel at home and relaxed in the kitchen, and I find it is a great way for me to unwind from a stressful day. If I could build my own home in any size or format, the two largest rooms in it would be the kitchen and a library. There is just something about reading a book the old-fashioned way, by having it in your hands and turning the page to see what comes next. Lastly, one of my greatest joys and hobbies is in writing poetry.
10. What motivated you to make the sacrifices that you made in order to get to where you’re at now?
I think the greatest motivator for me was my age and looking back at what I have been through. It prompted me, along with the encouragement of my husband, to take the plunge and work on continuing to improve myself and my life. What a difference it has made! I am, for the first time, very proud of myself and my accomplishments.
11. What are some techniques you use to keep yourself motivated in school?
The best technique to help keep me motivated is simply doing something, no matter how great or small it may be, every day of the week. I am still doing this and applying it to my classes at SNHU. It works for me, because I don’t feel so overwhelmed in trying to get it all done in one day or on the weekend. If I break it up and work on it piece by piece then not only am I not overwhelmed, but I feel like I have learned the material much more proficiently.
12. How might you advise someone who was also thinking about returning to school or embarking on a new course in life?
My advice would be to not let fear stop you from going back to school or from any other new course in life. It is my belief that change is necessary, and a good thing for each one of us. It’s a very powerful tool in helping us to become better people.