Southwest Georgia woman’s life, career path transformed after finding technical college option

Autumn Hanks

When Autumn Hanks came to Southern Regional Technical College, she came looking for help. After a less-than-stellar experience at a large university, she felt defeated. “I was just a number, a lost student in a sea of other lost students.” Tall, expressive, and flawlessly styled, it is hard to imagine Autumn feeling undistinguishable, but her misery was reflected in her grades. “It was a disaster, to be honest. I was a disaster.” Just two semesters after starting at a traditional four-year college, she was placed on academic suspension.

Devastated, she began to see her future collapsing before her eyes, until a word of advice from her mother lead her to walk into the Admissions Office on the Moultrie Campus of SRTC. “My mom knew one name at Southern Regional: Lisa Griffin.” Mrs. Griffin and her admissions team were able to get Autumn enrolled in the esthetics program on short notice, and suddenly, her college career got a fresh new start. “That woman saved my life! I was blown away!”

Autumn earned her Esthetician certification in four semesters, but she was only getting started. “By the time I walked across the stage at graduation for esthetics, I was already taking my Licensed Practical Nursing core.” In fact, Autumn was soon simultaneously working on her LPN, her Patient Care Assisting, and Medical Billing and Coding certifications.

After being accepted into the LPN program, Autumn began to feel the pressure of the rigorous coursework. Adding to the stress of the program’s demanding classes, Autumn was combatting some serious physical health issues of her own. Anxiety began encroaching on her life, threatening her success in school. Autumn was honest with her teachers about the battles she was waging both in and out of the classroom, and her teachers became a sounding board for her fears and struggles. Though she was still progressing in her classes, Autumn’s mental health began to suffer too. She kept pushing forward until one day, one of her teachers pulled her out of class and said that she would like to introduce her to Dr. Jeanine Long.

Dr. Jeanine Long is the Director of Career Services and Counseling here at Southern Regional Technical College. According to Dr. Long, “Southern Regional Technical College is committed to providing a range of services intended to help students develop improved coping skills in order to address emotional, social, and academic concerns. The Counseling office at SRTC offers free, confidential, short term personal, crisis, or career counseling to members of the SRTC community. Students may speak confidentially with the counselor about immediate concerns.  Some students find that talking with the counselor once is sufficient to resolve an immediate concern.  If future services would be beneficial, these can be discussed with the counselor.  If concerns exceed the time scope of the College’s short term counseling focus, or if resources are not available within the college, the counselor will refer the student to appropriate community services.”

With Dr. Long’s support, Autumn said she made the choice to visit Georgia Pines in Thomasville. There, she learned a lot about herself, and received the care and treatment that she needed to keep working towards her success. “I was in a sweet, sweet denial about the truth of what I was going through. I didn’t really want to deal with the fact that I needed help. But, I did. And my teachers knew that about me.”

One of those teachers was Carol Morgan, who was a witness to Autumn’s transformation, both as a student, and as a person. “When she first came into our program, she was very hesitant, seemed to have trouble connecting the dots from the classroom to the clinical setting. I was not sure she would make it, and neither was she. However, I have watched Autumn grow in her classroom knowledge and her clinical skills. Her greatest growth, however, has been in her confidence in herself. I am proud to say that she is graduating with a goal of advancing in the nursing profession.”

In fact, when Autumn Hanks took her HESI exam at the end of the LPN program, she scored in the 99.99th percentile, which was the highest score out of her entire cohort. She graduated as an LPN in December of 2017, and now, when she looks back on what she has overcome, she sees it through the sharp scope of a medical professional.

“As a nurse, you know. You see it, every day, whether it be diabetes or depression or cancer, when you let something go for too long, it is never a good result. My teachers knew, and they cared enough about me to give me the time and the help that I needed to succeed. I couldn’t have asked for a better support system for all that I was going through.”

SRTC offers over 150 degree, diploma, and certificate programs that are designed to get you quickly into your desired career, and 27 general education courses that transfer to the University System of Georgia institutions and 19 private colleges and universities in Georgia. SRTC has instructional sites located in Ashburn, Cairo, Camilla, Moultrie, Thomasville, Tifton, and Sylvester for the convenience of our students. The College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). SACSCOC is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. For the most up-to-date information on registration, class dates, and program offerings, log on to or call (888) 205 – 3449.
Summer Semester 2018 begins May 17th. Don’t wait, enroll today!

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