March 31, 2021

After working for twenty one years at a medical center, Renae Larson was ready for a career change.  Her position as a telephone operator, which required patience, diplomacy, kindness and tact, was being eliminated.   

Renae loved working with people, and wondered where she could take her skills next.  She did research on various colleges, knowing that she wanted to help others, yet she also knew that she didn’t want to become a nurse.

A Career In Service

She decided that Century College’s Human Services program was the right fit for her, and would help take her career in a new direction.  She began her classes in Summer 2020, not an easy time to be a student during a global pandemic.  This was her first experience with college, and she was initially very nervous.  She was an adult student, working along with younger students, and everything was new to her. After her first classes, she told her husband she wasn’t sure.  Her husband counseled her to be patient. 

Starting in the summer turned out to be the best decision for Renae, because she was able to quickly adjust.  Within a couple of weeks, Renae was much more confident. She became more comfortable with her Zoom classes, and with asking the faculty questions.   ”Also, I got into the mindset of thinking of the other, younger students as colleagues,” she remembers. 

Renae also got the support she needed to be successful in her first year. “The faculty are very patient.  English instructor Yanmei Jiang is awesome, and tutor Nhu Nguyen has helped me a lot with my academic writing.  They are so excited and they cheer me on,” Renae notes. “Instructors Sheila Gunderson and Tracy Wyman (in Human Services) are also very understanding, encouraging, and helpful.”

Future Plans 

Renae plans to look for a position in a group home, or perhaps in the Facilities field, where she will use her skills to help people find the resources they need, and she’s excited about her future.  Next year, she’s looking forward to starting a required internship in the Human Services field, when she’s further along with her studies, and she knows that that experience will also help open doors for her.

She offers this advice for prospective students who, like her, needed to make a career change: 

“Yes, you should do take the risk  Taking the first steps may be scary at first, but if it’s your dream, just know that you can do it.  I’ve had a good experience, and I’m glad I chose Century College.  The instructors are great and are more than willing to work with students to help them succeed.”

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