Facebook pixel For Holly Smith, Career Choice Is Personal

For Holly Smith, Career Choice Is Personal

Holly SmithHolly Smith loves helping people. In fact, she loves it so much that she wants to make it a career.

To turn her dream into a reality, Smith, 28, is pursing the credentials she needs to work in the field of human services at St. Louis Community College. Her path to prepare for this profession hasn’t been easy.

After graduating from high school in 2011, Smith enrolled in college programs twice. Each time, she left school before finishing a degree.

Fast-forward to 2020. She finally felt like the time was right for her to return to the classroom. To get started, she began by enrolling in STLCC’s addiction studies certificate program.

“My mom struggled with addiction, so my interest in this area is personal,” Smith said. “When I saw this offering at an open enrollment event, it was the spark that reignited my passion to learn.”

Smith completed her certificate in May 2021. After that, she chose to continue her education, focusing her attention on earning an associate degree in human services.

“I’m in a good place in my life to pursue my education,” she said. “Once I earned the certificate, it just made sense to finish my degree.”

According to Smith, the classes are challenging, and each one has provided relevant information that will help her succeed in a human services position in the future.

One way she’s gaining experience is through her internship at ALIVE, a local non-profit that provides counseling, emergency sanctuary and other critical services to adults and children impacted by domestic abuse. In addition to answering the crisis support line, Smith currently is helping to form a therapy group for existing clients who are in the throes of parenthood.

“The internship has been highly rewarding because it’s a great fit for me,” Smith said. “I’m learning a lot and I feel good about the role I’m playing to connect people with the supports they need.”

Ideally, Smith hopes to land a full-time position as a crisis intervention specialist. She’s also considering furthering her education so she can advance in her career.

Outside of the classroom, she’s a student worker at STLCC-Wildwood. Although her degree program is located at STLCC-Forest Park, she’s been able to complete a number of her general education course requirements at Wildwood.

“Wildwood is close to my home, so it’s super convenient,” she said. “I love the tight-knit campus community feel; and I’ve met a number of wonderful faculty, staff and friends through my studies.”

Smith counts Sarah Fielding, Ph.D., professor of English, among these individuals. As a student in her composition class, she’s spent time writing openly about her past trauma.

Fielding recognizes the significance of this endeavor.

“Holly Smith is a hardworking and dependable student who is finding her voice [at St. Louis Community College]” Fielding said. “She analyzes text with care, and it’s been a pleasure to see her growth. She makes the classroom enjoyable and fun.”

Smith offered some advice to other students who might find themselves in a similar position.

“Sometimes you have to put yourself first,” she said. “It’s worth it. If you’re in a position similar to mine, I encourage you to focus on your goals and make a plan to achieve them. While it hasn’t been easy, this experience has helped me discover my strengths and create a better future for myself and my family.”

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