2016 Computer Service Technician / Network Installer Graduate
Desktop / EPIC & iMAC Technician at UMASS Memorial Hospital
At 24, I had no plans to go back to school; I wasn’t even thinking about training for a career.
I was an easy-going guy, working as a bar-back. Life was focused on having fun.
Driving home on Route 95 late one night, my life changed in an instant.
I was hit head-on by a 26 year-old drunk driver going the wrong way. I remember seeing his body shatter the windshield as I watched him lose his life.
After I came out of my first surgery at the hospital, I coded.
I woke up to witness doctors working to revive me. Before I regained consciousness, I ‘saw’ in my mind the number ‘66’—then I came back to life. Much later, I learned the meaning of that number.
The doctors and nurses said it was either luck or a miracle that I was alive.
They later told me that only about 3% of victims survive an accident like this.
During the three weeks in the hospital and over the next year, I had four surgeries.
I had six broken ribs, a collapsed lung and both knees were shattered. My femur (thigh bone) had to be replaced with a metal rod. One foot was sewn back on. I had facial surgery to repair my nose, which had been split from bottom to top.
The accident was a huge wake-up call; afterwards I looked at life very differently.
I lived with pain every day—but I was alive. I kept thinking, ‘I should be dead, or have only one foot. What have I accomplished so far in my life? Where do I go from here?’
The accident happened just days before the memorial service for my step-dad.
In 2011, at the age of 45, my step-dad, Brian Pereira, graduated from MTTI’s Computer & Networking program. After graduating, he worked as a Network Service Technician at CORE Business Technologies, until he passed away during 2014.
I saw what attending MTTI’s program had done for my step-dad.
I wanted to set myself up for success the way he had.
I wasn’t yet able to walk—but I couldn’t just sit at home.
No longer able to stand for long periods or do heavy lifting, I realized I couldn’t participate in sports anymore—or work as a bar-back. I had to find another way to earn a living.
My first visit to MTTI was in a wheel chair.
Initially I couldn’t drive, because I had no feeling in my right foot. At the program’s start, I walked with crutches and a brace. On the days when I was in too much pain to come to school, I studied at home.
At MTTI, I put everything I had into the program.
In high school, I just wanted to get by and graduate. At MTTI, I understood I would have buckle down and work hard to get the full benefit from the Computer & Networking training.
MTTI’s environment supported my healing.
Even though I could not be as physical as I had been before the accident—and emotionally I felt less joyful—the daily routine of coming to class helped restore some normalcy to my life.
Classes at MTTI are small; everyone knows one another.
Developing relationships with other students lifted my spirits and helped motivate me. My classmates and I wanted to graduate together as a team, so that we could go out ready to take off in our new careers.
IT (Information Technology) is a career with longevity and potential for advancement.
I was concerned about the impact of the accident on my mom and brothers. I needed to help my family by earning money to pay the medical bills that insurance hadn’t covered.
Everyone at MTTI was honest about employment opportunities.
Although I knew that Career Services would help me in every way possible, I understood that not everyone would get the best jobs. Employers would naturally be more interested in hiring students who applied themselves during the program.
I didn’t sell myself short when searching for a job.
I had confidence in my education at MTTI and my internship experience at CORE Business Technologies (where my step-dad had worked). I knew that what I had learned was sufficient. I didn’t hesitate to apply to any company—small or large.
After graduating, I was hired at Rhode Island Hospital.
While there, I earned an increase in salary. I knew though, that I could do even better.
I applied to, and was hired at, UMASS Memorial in Worcester.
Now I set up systems for new hires and teach employees how to use them. I deal with software applications and problems every day. I image computers and deploy all equipment, including dictation mikes, scanners and credit card machines.
In the field you have to be knowledgeable to accomplish many different tasks.
Although the applications I work with are specific to the hospital, I built upon what I learned at school about Windows Servers; Windows Event Log; troubleshooting with remote access and changing settings in BIOS before imaging a computer.
I was well-prepared by MTTI to excel in my work at the hospital.
Based on my ability to adapt quickly and take on additional responsibilities, I was given a promotion and a salary increase. I am still hungry to grow. I am studying EPIC software applications to be able to expand my abilities.
I wake up every day feeling good about going to work.
The people and the culture at UMASS Memorial make me want to do more, as part of the team. Everyone here is willing to teach me.
MTTI was the stepping stone to a networking career.
The Computer & Networking program is awesome. The small tight-knit class, hands-on learning and the experienced instructor, Boris—who was always there to answer questions and provide help—set me up for success.
I am having a phenomenal life now.
It’s been a long road and a bumpy journey. The first time I walked again was a euphoric experience. I see myself continuously improving in health and in my career. It amazes me to look back and see what I have accomplished.
I am thankful for everyone who gave me love and support.
My mom and brothers, friends, co-workers at the hospital and the MTTI community—all have helped me move past pain and overcome the odds to recover from my injuries. My late step-dad, Brian, continues, even after passing, to be a mentor to me in learning life’s lessons.
I see the number ‘66’ now whenever something good is about to happen in my life.
The number I saw in the hospital when my heart stopped is said to be a message of unconditional love and healing from your angels. I have learned to have faith and to trust in God’s Grace and the benevolence of the universe.
I’m not angry at the driver who hit me.
I’m grateful that the accident helped me grow up and see my future differently. In the past I would ask ‘what if’ or think, ‘I should have done this or that’. The question I had always failed to ask myself was, "what's next"?
When you have the passion, drive and tenacity, there are no limits in this industry—or in your life.
Although you can’t predict the future, I‘ve learned that ‘what’s next’ is largely up to you. If you are a student in MTTI’s program—apply yourself and you will get the benefit of the education. If you work hard at your job, you will make your career, and yourself, a success.
I keep asking ‘what’s next’.
I know I was kept on this earth for a reason. In due time, everyone who loved and supported me will see what’s next!
Brian Pereira, 2011 Computer Service Technician/Network Installer Graduate, passed away on September 2, 2014.
MTTI remembers Brian as an excellent student, whose work ethic and positive outlook inspired others. Brian once told his Career Services Representative, Rick, that his favorite word was “yes” and least favorite was “can’t”. Brian’s advice to future students and career seekers was, “Attitude Determines Altitude. How far are you willing to go?”
If you would like to contribute to Christian’s GoFundMe to help him repay his medical bills: https://www.gofundme.com/ehnmgcz8