Journeys of all kinds tend to divert from the original path. Those of the academic variety are no different and Chelsea Allison knows this first hand.
Chelsea was elected to the role of vice president of MHCC’s Associated Student Government (ASG) for the 2019-2020 academic year. She holds an associate degree in science from the college and is entering her first year in the dental hygiene program.
But that hasn’t always been the plan and it hasn’t always been easy. She was previously pursuing a degree to be a veterinary technician at another college, but realized that was not the path for her.
Then, an unfortunate experience for her six-year-old son with a dental hygienist really changed everything.
“We couldn’t even drive past the place without him having a full-blown meltdown,” she said.
It would take finding a new dental hygienist to soothe her son’s fears and, ultimately, fuel her desire to pursue her new career path.
“The interaction that my son had with this new dental hygienist was so powerful. That really solidified my choice. It showed me that I have the power to change someone’s entire experience,” Chelsea said. “There’s so much fear and anxiety around dental
care, so it made so much sense for me because I’ve always loved putting other people’s needs first.”
She has been enrolled at MHCC since January 2017 with the ultimate goal of becoming a dental hygienist in mind from the start. Then, due to extenuating circumstances and the rising cost of housing, Chelsea and her husband suddenly found themselves
unable to afford the rent for their apartment. With no other options available, she and her small family turned to living in their van for a few months all while she carried a full course load.
Despite this hardship, she persisted and instead of letting the circumstances in that moment get her down or define her, Chelsea used them to remind herself of why she was pursuing her degree in the first place.
“It definitely motivated me and I knew that things in my life needed to change,” she said.
Her positive attitude, perseverance and resiliency were aided by the ample support she found on the MHCC campus.
“The instructors and staff sincerely want us to do our absolute best and are willing to put in the extra effort to guide us on the right path and help us obtain the resources we need to achieve our goals and grow personally and professionally,” she
During that time, she also looked inward and recognized some areas that could be improved. This inspired her to get involved with student government, first as an executive assistant and eventually as vice president.
“I wasn’t good at advocating for myself and wanted to learn that skill so I could advocate for others who were going through a similar situation or for people who didn’t have the means to advocate for themselves,” Chelsea said.
That is exactly what she aims to do with her newly obtained position with ASG – support students when they need it the most. Chelsea hopes to hold regular open forums so students can learn more about the resources available to them on campus, ask
questions and share their concerns, so that they can have the best possible college experience.
Despite the twists and turns along her path, Chelsea exudes positivity and has a primary goal of ensuring the needs of students are met and their voices are heard so they, too, can achieve success no matter what their educational journey throws at
them along the way.
“My advice to new students is to come see us in ASG. Come see us if you need a friend, a person to talk to, anything,” she said. “We are more than open and more than happy to be there for every student.”