Career counselor didn't know what she wanted to be - The online voice of cambridge campus students
The online voice of cambridge campus students
By Angelina Geinosky

Mary Ann Larios is helping students to find their career paths everyday as a career counselor at Anoka-Ramsey Community College (ARCC); ironically she didn’t always know that this is what she would one day be.

Larios actually changed her career path several different times in her life before she discovered her calling as a community college counselor. After graduating from high school, Larios attended Macalester College in St. Paul Minn., initially majoring in vocal performance. However after her freshman year she said that she decided to change her major and transferred to Saint Benedict Saint John University where she pursued a career in interior design.

After graduating from St. Benedict in 1982, Larios decided it was time to “go out and see what was out there.” She moved to Colorado Springs, Colo. and lived with her older sister. However, due to the struggling economy at the time Larios was decided to move to Phoenix, Ariz.  where she had heard there were jobs available in the interior design field. 

Larios worked as an interior designer and enjoyed it for about six years. During her mid-20’s however, she started working as a volunteer with soon-to-be moms and realized that counseling was what she calls her real passion. “I found I was getting so much more reward and satisfaction from this volunteer work then I was when I was an interior designer,” Larios admitted. Larios decided to go back to school and  received her masters in counseling from Arizona State University and later went on to gain her doctorate in human services from Walden University .

At first Larios was intrigued by junior high and high school counseling, but after a couple of informational interviews, she said she could sense that these schools were not for her. It was a friend of her husband’s who introduced her to community college counseling and after a couple more informational interviews she knew that this was the job she was meant to do. “Typically people in a community college are in the realm of wanting to improve their life through education, and it’s really exciting to be a part of that,” she said.

 She admits that even though she loves working at ARCC, her job can be hard sometimes because she doesn’t always know the outcome of the students she has helped.  “I might have some students come talk to me about a personal issue, or their career or whatever it is, and that might be the end of it. But I don’t know how their life progressed, and I think when your in a community college setting that’s typically the case,” Larios said.

Now after what Larios calls “a long journey,” she is happy to say that she has found a perfect match for her life. What she says she loves most about her job is the diversity of her workload. She says that her work excites her because she is not always doing the same thing over and over again.

Along with counseling Larios also takes part in many different mental development workshops at the school, in addition to teaching an online career development course. Larios said that she really enjoys the educational environment of ARCC, saying that she is confident in knowing that her work associates are always supportive of her and her different ideas.

For Larios, she says, it is both the faculty and students at ARCC that makes coming to work everyday a treat. She is admits being overwhelmed by her colleges’ fantastic work ethic as well as the willingness of students at ARCC to succeed. She says she loves knowing that she can make a difference in their lives and thrives on it, stating “I wouldn’t call it helping people, because people help themselves, but I enjoy being on that journey with them. To me, it’s very exciting."

4/23/2012 07:16:14 pm

Career counselor helping students to find their in paths in career.I wanted to thank you for this great article. I enjoyed every single part of it and I will be waiting for the new updates.


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