Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College graduate prepares for another chapter
Jan Sherman, of Kettle River, aims to be a licensed drug and alcohol counselor.
CLOQUET — As she embarks on a new life, Jan Sherman insists that age doesn’t matter.
At “59 and holding,” the Kettle River resident is set to receive a pair of associate degrees from Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet on Thursday, May 12. After that, she hopes to earn a bachelor’s degree from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth.
“It does not matter how old you are. Start a new career. Do something with your life,” she said Thursday, May 5, in her usual study spot in the FDLTCC library. “If you’re not happy with what you’re doing, do something else.”
Sherman, who is interning at Pioneer Recovery Center in Cloquet, aims to ultimately be a licensed drug and alcohol counselor. She wanted to volunteer at a crisis shelter, and, in fall 2019, a friend suggested she meet with a faculty member in the college’s human services department. Sherman enrolled shortly afterward.
She initially thought she could help with support groups at a local Gamblers Intervention Services chapter, but, noting in a News Tribune interview that a gambling problem often coincides with a similar addiction to alcohol or other drugs, Sherman has since broadened her goal. “If you treat one,” she said, “you’ve got to treat them all.”
The college’s “cross-cultural” training, Sherman said, has been important for her.
“If I’m going to do a treatment plan for somebody,” she said, planting a finger on the table for emphasis, “I better know a little bit about their culture and their traditions.”
Sherman said she almost never drinks and has never used illegal drugs. She has been in recovery from a gambling addiction for the past seven years, and confronted the problem after her husband of 34 years died in 2015.
“I wanted more from my life than sitting in a casino,” Sherman said.
Sherman is set to graduate from FDLTCC with a 4.0 grade-point average and will receive at least three awards at its commencement for service to the community, service to the college and academic excellence. Sherman is also a nominee for "Student of the Year," but won’t find out if she’s won that accolade until an awards ceremony Wednesday, May 11. She’s also set to be a commencement speaker.
“There’s no reason to fail at this college,” Sherman said, paraphrasing the remarks she’ll deliver. “Everything you need is right here. Any kind of help you could possibly need is right here.”
You can reach Joe Bowen at 218-720-4172 or firstname.lastname@example.org .