Alumna says PBSC psychology education helped boost her relationships

When Susan Klarich was 15 years old, she was a student at Twin Lakes High School. She was also working full time, eventually as a 911 dispatcher for the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office and a technician in a crime lab. It was there that a colleague suggested Palm Beach State College.

Klarich became a first-generation-in-college student. Intrigued by psychology class, she pursued an associate degree in psychology. With a major in psychology and a minor in sociology, Klarich would eventually earn her Ph.D. in psychology.

“Going to Palm Beach State helped me realize that anyone can get a higher education. I don’t see myself as being special. I was fortunate that my choice was encouraged by someone. The College was impactful and important to me because the school allowed me to accomplish what I wanted to do.”

More than ever, there is a focus on mental health. Klarich’s education has helped her tremendously throughout her career and in life.

“Regardless of your main role in life, I think it’s essential to have some type of background in psychology to help in the understanding that people are coming from a certain place, for a reason. Once we understand ourselves, we can understand each other better to create a more conducive environment to getting along.”

For today’s students, Klarich suggests taking one assignment, one class, one day at a time. “If we focus on everything we have to do at once, we overwhelm ourselves. Better to focus on today and let tomorrow take care of itself as long as we put our best forward.”

Klarich went on to lead the Too Good for Drugs program with the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, an initiative for any instructor who works for a non-profit organization. Serving the community didn’t stop there. Now retired, Klarich has gone back to kindergarten, volunteering her time.

Klarich’s today and tomorrow are often defined by giving back. “We all live in this world. If people could see the similarities in each other, we would all be better people.”

One of Klarich’s great secrets to living her best life is being thankful. “I try to list at least 10 things I am grateful for every day.”

In recognition of Palm Beach State College’s 90th anniversary, the weekly Alumni Spotlight Series showcases the College’s role in preparing generations of graduates to achieve success in myriad careers and give back to their local communities.

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