Stark State helped student find his career passion

Dustin Smith

If you love what you do, the saying goes, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. Stark State College has helped Dustin Smith find that job already.

When the North Canton resident graduated from Hoover High in 2006, he attempted a semester of college, but “wasn’t ready for that,” he said. He spent a few more years working odd jobs in food service, retail and trades. “Nothing I enjoyed,” he said, “just to pay the bills.” When his younger sister went off to college, though, he thought, “if she can do it, I can, too,” and he enrolled at Stark State.

Although unsure which field to major in, he knew he liked working with people. So when it came time for required volunteer work for a human and social services class, he ended up at the Babe J. Stearn Community Center, a recreation spot he’d frequented in his younger years.

“I’ve always liked to help people, but I found out I really enjoyed working with the kids,” Dustin said. “It feels good to give these kids that don’t have much someone they can look up to and someone that can make them feel like they are worth something. They make it fun, and it makes me feel better as a person.”

So when he was offered a job at the Center, Dustin jumped at the chance, giving up his higher-paying pizza delivery route. “This job, I want to go to it,” he said. “I’m getting paid, but I would do it for free.” He logs 20-25 hours a week on the job, having finessed the fine art of juggling time for work, school and studies.

“After this experience I feel that I have really found something that I’ll enjoy doing for the rest of my life,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything better than doing something that you really enjoy doing.

“Stark State has been great,” he added. “Everyone on campus is eager to help. I learned a lot at this school. All the teachers are awesome and if not for Brian Moore’s class, I never would have found this passion. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, but now I know I’m on my way to my career as a social worker.”

He plans to finish his associate degree in human and social services and then go on for his bachelor’s degree in social work, specifically working with kids. “I’ll be ready this time,” he said. “I’ve figured some things out.”