Career move: Take a step, go back to school

Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Kenai Peninsula College is a place to immerse yourself in possibilities. The KPC campus is your area connection to college life that can provide a cornerstone for your first, second or even third career.

The hardest part for potential students (of any age) is to actually walk in the door and ask for help.

KPC's staff and faculty want you to know you are not alone; they want you to leave your fears at the door. Once you make the effort to get to KPC, you quickly will realize entire departments are there just to assist someone like you.

The Student Services Department, in the "commons" area, serves as the first point of contact with KPC whether by telephone, e-mail or in person.

According to Mary Rainwater, student services administrative assistant, phone calls come into the department with questions ranging from "does the math class I took 20 years ago meet your requirements?" to "How can I find out about 4-H and drivers' education?"

The department provides an entire support network and can direct questions to the most appropriate resource. It helps students obtain transcripts, resolve transfer issues and sort out class requirements.

One thing that makes student services work is that it employs five student advisers trained by KPC's two professional counselors, Jim Morrison and Bettina Kip. Student advisers staff the service counter and provide telephone help line information. Pick any one of these bright students, remember their name and ask for them personally to be your guide to success at KPC. Glen Stinsman, Audra Thorpe-Mettille, Christine Simmons, Rebekah Smith and Monica Fox have the skills to help you succeed in your college career. They will refer you to the counseling staff or to KPC's financial aid guru, Carrie Burford, depending on your needs.

If you come by KPC during the evenings, Dave Atchinson staffs the service counter Monday through Thursday until 9 p.m. and is happy to help you any way he can.

What if you're someone who always wanted to further your education, but you're just not sure what direction to go?

Let KPC Student Services guide you down the path to success. The student advisers have been trained to look for the potential student (ages 16 to 95) who walks in the door with that "What am I doing here?" look on their face. They will invite you over, sit down, talk with you and help you determine where your interests lie.

KPC believes your chances of career success are increased if you're doing something you enjoy.

Jerry McDonnell, KPC Career Center coordinator, provides free career counseling to not only KPC students, but also to the general public. You do not have to be a student to take advantage of this community service. Jerry's motto is, "You can fail many times, but you are not a failure until you give up," and he can be a big asset in your career search.

He will direct you to an "interest inventory" and a "personality survey" that will help you figure out what track to take. He has vast information on vocational and trade schools, access to more than 3,900 college catalogs and can help you with resume writing and interviewing skills.

The Career Center may hold the answers you have been looking for, so take advantage of this valuable resource. The Career Center also can provide a variety of career workshops to any school or organization with the need.

Sample topics include "Writing High Impact Resumes," "Successful Interview-ing" and "Career Decision Making." The Career Center is within the Student Services area and open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 262-0330 to make an appointment or just walk in.

If you already know what career you want to pursue but are unsure what your current skills are, Student Services will send you to the Learning Center to take advantage of the "Asset" assessment tool. This will help you and your advisers understand which English or math class you need to start. They will show you the bookstore, library and classrooms. They can effectively take the mystery out of your community campus.

Don't let fear of the unknown be the reason you hesitate to go to college. KPC gives you the opportunity to choose education as your gateway to a successful career. As Jerry McDonnell would say, "A job is what you do with your days; a career is what you do with your life."



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