Finding Her Own Way: Alyssa Manning
Options are important, and when it comes to career options, we often look to our parents. In the case of Alyssa Manning, she started with option one: pursuing her mother’s career in healthcare. She quickly found out that healthcare was not for her so she switched to real estate, option two. Now her experience at Beaufort County Community College has been so impactful, it has opened up a third option for her: working at the college.
Manning came to BCCC after graduating from Bear Grass Charter School. She was one of 23 graduates from the school. “A lot of my friends and peers, went off to four-year university,” she said, “and that lifestyle was not for me. I love the small class sizes and the teacher attention. I feel like I couldn’t learn as well in a bigger environment with a hundred people. That would be just a waste of time for me.”
“Beaufort [CCC] has more sense of community,” she contrasted, “almost a family-like atmosphere because people are willing to help you and work with you.”
Manning was introduced to the college through family friend Dr. Crystal Ange, vice president of academics. “I didn’t know what she did as a career. She told me she works at Beaufort. She works at Beaufort,” she reiterates, flabbergasted by Ange's humility.
She decided on BCCC after she met the student services staff. “Beaufort County Community College is a whole different planet!” she exclaimed. “The staff is really what made me decide to come here. When I first walked in the door, the staff in Building 9, Ms. Michele Mayo and others, they greet you and welcome you right in, make you feel like you belong. They’re willing to talk to you and help you. They will actually stop what they’re doing and walk you all the way across campus. When you’re new, and you don’t know what to do, that’s a comforting feeling.”
She started out in medical laboratory technology, inspired by her mother who works as an occupational therapist’s assistant in home health through Vidant Health. Her grades were outstanding, but she felt that another program may be a better fit. “The medical field–it takes a special cut, and I didn’t make that cut. I like to talk to people. I’m more personable.”
She next looked to her father’s occupation. He works in sales with Fire Fighter Products, Inc. in Williamston, in addition to being a real estate broker. This fall, Manning began in the business administration program. She did not waste any time getting her real estate license, which she earned in October. She plans to open her own brokerage firm, possibly working alongside her father. “It fits my personality so much better,” she said. “I look like my mama, but my personality is a lot more like my daddy.”
Manning plans to sell real estate in Beaufort County, and she is already meeting with multiple companies. Having watched her father’s real estate career get hit hard by the Great Recession, she has formulated a plan for a resilient career. “This is going to sound crazy, but some day I’d like to sell real estate on the side and work at Beaufort County Community College. That’s another reason why I’d like to have a business degree.” She laughs, “I just love Beaufort County Community College so much, I’d like to work here.”
As Manning has sorted through programs at the college, the process itself has inspired her to help others vet their options. She has sifted through the career options of her parents, and in the end, landing on an option that is uniquely her own.