John Maye

John Maye

Taking the leap

John Maye had a good-paying job in banking when he felt a call to change careers. He did what so many people dream of but never do—he took the leap to go back to school.

“I started working at a bank to pay for school to get into the health care field. I got a few promotions at the bank, and kept taking longer hours and better pay. And that took over; instead of being the thing I did to facilitate going to school, it became the thing I did instead. But I knew I wanted to be part of helping people in recovery in medicine. I had attended Oakton before, and I knew the physical therapist assistant program was stellar.”

Finding a passion

It was hard to decide to shift careers entirely, but he felt a calling to do something new. Although he felt like he was starting over, he says it was an easy choice to do something better for his soul. 

“When I was in my previous career, one of the places I felt most limited was in how much I could be in people’s lives. This career path gives me the chance to do that—as up close and personal as we can be. We are literally nose-to-nose sometimes helping people get up, stand up, walk, breathe. And on top of it, this field specifically asks questions about quality of life: ‘How is your day, and how can I make it better? How can I be a positive part of your life?’ It’s unfiltered helpfulness. Forty-five minutes with a patient is 45 minutes of them being better.” 

Help facing every challenge

It’s a big responsibility to help people recover, and John wants to work with people in acute care, which requires certification and hours of hands-on clinical training. Oakton’s program helped him gain confidence to aim for that more challenging path in the field.

“There is just a wealth of support here. My teachers and counselors have all immediately given me every resource available. Nobody here has any kind of opinion about what age you are or where you are in the process. They are all really smart and highly-skilled professionals. I know I’m learning it from the best because they’re working in the field currently—they’re bringing in stories from patients they worked with last week. They know exactly what I need to do to succeed.”

Just go for it

John’s advice to anyone considering a career change? Just do it.

“It’s going to feel scary and challenging and it might feel like a pipe dream, but just stay resilient. It pays off, and there’s no race. The next 20 to 30 years, I’m going to be doing something that I love. It’s worth it.”