Lisa Lloyd Riggs
Shasta Community College
Shasta Community College
Helping all students access academic, career and resorces for educational success.
I counsel new and returning students in course, major, career selection and support registering for classes. I also evaluate transcripts, create educational plans and proactively refer students—whether they’re students with disabilities, foster youth, previously incarcerated students, veterans, first-generation college students, etc.—to resources on-campus and in the community. I instruct career choice classes and workshops.
Empathy and compassion are absolutely crucial. Good customer service skills are also important - I actually learned those through a retail job I worked when I was younger. You need a desire for life-long learning: I do a lot of research on my own so I can best assist my students. I attend and coordinate workshops to help recognize and best serve students with learning disabilities or attention issues that include assistive technologies and Universal Design for Learning.
Here's the first step for high school students
The first step is desire. You don't have to know exactly what you want to do when you're in high school, but should definitely have a passion for helping people, or at least for the school environment. When I was in high school, I thought that maybe I wanted to be a teacher, and that maybe I'd get my AA. Getting my bachelor's degree in communications and simultaneously working in internships in the field opened the door for me to find positive work experiences that led me to pursue my master's degree in school counseling.
"There are 300 people applying for the job that you're applying for; what makes you think that YOU would get that job?"
I have been working since I was in the ninth grade because I always felt the need to support myself and be financially independent. So it was hard to hear that the people around me doubted my abilities, but my drive pushed me to believe that I could get the jobs I wanted to get. Later in life, I got a job that technically required a master's degree, despite only completing a bachelor's degree. That showed me that by working hard and applying myself, I could truly get any job I wanted.
My mother passed away when I was young, and with a single parent, it's hard to find the financial support system needed to go to college. I worked since I was in ninth grade because I wanted to be independent, and that drive benefited me long-term.
While I was in college, I lost my financial aid support. I didn't know how to navigate the system - which questions to ask, where to go on campus, etc. That struggle led to me being a counselor and helping students in the same situation.
My family didn't know how to encourage or advise me. I had to navigate the system alone. Not having a support system inspired me to become the person who could support students going through the same thing.