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Success Stories

Directions Change

Posted on May 04, 2014

Picture of Renato Arenas

When it comes to planning your future, you never know when your experiences will inspire you to change the direction you are headed. That's exactly what Renato Arenas found out.

When he graduated from high school in Chesterfield County in 2009, Arenas couldn’t afford college, so he took a job as a mechanic. A year later, realizing he wanted a different career, he re-evaluated his life.

Arenas decided to continue his education. He picked John Tyler Community College saying it was the perfect choice because tuition is affordable, the College is close to home, and it offers a great education.

With a General Studies degree almost completed, Arenas was surprised to develop an interest in business during a trip to Peru to visit family. He saw his aunt working in a business where she was part of a team, and he realized he would like to be part of a similar team.

That encounter was eye-opening. “I realized I was really into critical thinking and problem solving and that I wanted that in my career” says Renato. So, when he returned home, he switched majors and moved into Tyler’s Business Administration transfer program.

In May 2014, Arenas graduated from John Tyler, and even spoke as the student speaker at the College’s commencement ceremony.

Reflecting on his journey in this video, Arenas expresses mixed emotions about graduating. “I’m excited to be completely done with it, but I know it’s just a stepping stone to the next thing,” he says. “I’m really grateful for John Tyler. I’m always going to keep it in my heart.”

What’s Renato’s next step? He plans to transfer to a four-year college or university to complete his bachelor’s degree before going into international business. His long-range goal is to earn a master’s degree and to one day manage his own team.

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