Student Spotlight

Brandman alumna Joey Reay shares life lessons, helps patients and families

Joey Reay and family

Joey Reay and family at her 2016 graduation.

Drugs and alcohol had a grip on Joey Reay for decades. But after getting clean and sober, she took a job at a drug and alcohol treatment center to help others who were struggling with addiction. She realized she enjoyed the mental health aspect of treatment. Reay went back to school to further her career in that field.  She graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Reay became a mental health case manager, working for a private practice. She works with patients to achieve treatment goals. She has a passion for kids and enjoys working with patients and families to positively impact their future success. She loves when she can teach the kids the same skills as their parents. Her desire to continue learning is strong. Reay is planning to go back to get her Master of Social Work in the fall.

How did going back to school help you/your career? 

Going back to school taught me more about diagnosis of mental health issues, patterns and fundamentals. It helped me to learn compassion and gain a better understanding of why these things are happening. I also learned many tools to help break the cycle. It helped me realize that this is what I want to do with my career. 

Who inspired you while attending Brandman? 

My kids were my inspiration while going back to school. They were very encouraging of my efforts. They wanted to help me. They like knowing they are helping other kids through my job. My kids are part of the journey. 

My oldest daughter, Paris, received her associate degree in liberal studies from Brandman. 

What advice would you give someone going back to school as an adult? 

Joey ReayDon’t put so much pressure on yourself. In my younger years I didn’t excel, I wasn’t straight A kid. When I went back to school, if I didn’t get an A, I questioned my self-worth. I finally realized that I was learning, and struggles and sometimes failure were part of the process.  Life was happening at the same time, but you still have to put one foot in front of the other. 

I learned more through my failures than my successes. It pushed me to get to know my professors. Also, letting other students know I didn’t understand was humbling, but it helped me learn more. 

Did anything surprise you about Brandman University? 

The amount of support and help I received was surprising to me at first. I attended the Victorville campus and my One Stop, Karen, was amazing; Sara, my academic advisor, was always available to answer all my questions. The staff was there for me no matter what and knew me personally.  They wanted to see me succeed. It surprised me that the staff was so involved in my community, in my education and my journey. 

What would you have done differently? 

I would have started sooner. I transferred to Brandman from a community college.  I would have done more on-ground classes as I am a kinesthetic learner and like learning by doing. Being in the classroom is more beneficial for me. 

What motivated you while going back to school? 

My biggest motivation is to reach kids and give them the coping skills that they need to go through any sort of emotional turmoil. To help them find self-worth, self-value and self-esteem all on their own. 

My own children are huge source of motivation for me as well.

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