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ACC Graduate Spotlight: Tumaini Sabali


Everyone told Tumaini Sabali becoming a nurse would not be easy. Too bad she didn't believe them.

Sabali can laugh about it now that she's graduated from American Career College's vocational nurse program in Los Angeles. But when she first started the program, Sabali said she wasn't sure she would make it to graduation.

"People were telling me that nursing school was hard and when I heard this at first, I was like ‘Well, these people don't know what they're saying,'” until I got into the program and that's when I noticed, ‘Oh shoot, these people are right!” But I just had to do it every single day — live day-by-day and take one exam at a time, take one day at a time, take one homework assignment at a time and eventually, the days just went by and I'm here ... it's graduation!"

Sabali said she completed the 52-week program through perseverance and by dealing with her responsibilities and problems head-on.

"I have a little bit of a medical background — I'm a CNA — but at the same time this is complex information that we're learning about. It reached a point where I couldn't understand and I had to really study," she said. "Sometimes I would have an exam the next day and I was like, you know, if I don't know it by now then so be it, but I just had a really good support system — my classmates, family at home, they really supported me in a really good way and I took one day at a time and I made it through."

Why did you want to work in healthcare?

I have family members in the health industry and I saw what they were doing and it piqued my interest. Plus, I was really tired of doing the 9-to-5 job, just waking up to go into an office and go home. With the health industry, it's really ever-changing and it's really tough. It's tough, yes, it's challenging and that's what I like actually, the challenges. Every single day is not the same. Even if it's going to be the same, life is just going to throw you a curveball and you're like oh surprise!

Was there a moment in school where you knew you made the right choice?

Sometimes there are long hours at the clinical rotations and you're just doing paperwork and the instructor is telling you to do this and you're like, 'Why am I doing this?" But then it's just you and the patient, and the patient just suddenly turns and says, 'Oh thank you. Nobody had the time for me today and you are really helping me out." Just sitting down and having a conversation with the patient and them appreciating you -- I had a patient and they appreciated me that way and I was like, 'I guess this is the reason why I chose this.'

What’s the one item for school you can’t do without?

My pencil pouch. I have a favorite pen and a favorite pencil and if I don't have that, it feels like my world is turned upside down. I can still use any other pen, but you have those specific things that you really want. But seriously, my pencil pouch is like the love of my life.

If you could go back in time and give yourself some advice on the first day of school, what would you say?

I would tell myself not to be too harsh on myself. We as human beings tend to be harsh on ourselves. We are the worst critics of ourselves. I always strive for perfection and when I don't reach that I just crash down and just go to a whole depressive mood. That's not really good for me as a person and a healthcare professional and so I will tell myself don't be harsh on yourself. Take it one day at a time, allow yourself to be a human being. You're not perfect but make sure you just study!

What do you want people to know about ACC?

Specific faculty members have really gone above and beyond and I really do appreciate them. They've shown their support in really many ways for us to be able to be ready the moment we came into the class and at the moment now that we're getting out of school. And they're showing up even after getting out of school, they're giving us steps on how to do it. When ACC says they have an open-door policy, they mean it. When you go and you need to ask a question they will answer you. They're really friendly and they really give you the means to be able to go forward with your career.

ACC cannot guarantee employment. Programs vary by campus. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student. For graduation rates, median debt of graduates completing this program and other important information, visit

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