Britney Olsen: Ensuring your Own Success

As an educational institution, Moraine Park understands that learning looks different for everyone, and the College has several resources available to ensure that students have the opportunity to be successful.

For Britney Olsen, the path to success did not come easy. In the first grade, she was diagnosed with auditory processing disorder–a learning disorder affecting the ability to understand speech. From elementary through high school, she struggled to comprehend teacher directions and assignments, and her grades suffered.

“I barely graduated high school and was sent to a program called Diploma Bound during my senior year to receive my diploma in 2013,” Olsen said. “In high school, my math teacher gave me a calculator and a page of multiplication problems, and I was told to finish it. That was the bare minimum required to pass.”

After her graduation, Olsen tried working in factories and applied for various office jobs but was unhappy and lacked the required experience.

In 2019, she enrolled at Moraine Park to earn her technical diploma as a Virtual Assistant. However, going back to school meant facing her learning disability head-on.

“I was nervous I wouldn’t get the support needed to be a successful student,” Olsen said. “My disability accommodations allowed me to work with the disability specialist for up to two hours a week. I would complete the homework I felt comfortable doing by myself and would receive help with the homework I struggled with.”

Each semester, Olsen introduced herself to her instructors and confirmed her accommodations; becoming a strong advocate for herself and ensuring her success. In addition to her disability accommodations, Olsen utilized Moraine Park’s student success center and campus tutors to receive extra help.

“The overall experience of working with disability resources was easy, and I felt comfortable,” Olsen said. “I remember they had an orientation with students who had accommodations before the semester started. That meeting helped me understand the resources available to me. I always felt that my accommodations and disability were confidential, which made me feel respected. I would not have passed some of my classes without the support and accommodations I had.”

Halfway through finishing her technical diploma, Olsen found a new passion for learning and decided to pursue her associate degree. In May 2021, she earned her technical diploma, and in May 2022 she earned her associate degree in the Administrative Coordinator program and an additional degree in Meeting and Event Planning.

After graduating, Olsen moved to Prescott, AZ, and accepted a job at Yavapai College as a Learning Center Assistant. Three months later, she was promoted to Learning Center Specialist. She will begin pursuing her bachelor’s degree this fall.

“For a long time, I let excuses prevent me from living my life,” Olsen said. “I told myself that since I had a disability, I was not good enough or intelligent enough to go to college, become a supervisor or move across the country. I do not live by that lie anymore.”

Learn more about Disability Resources at Moraine Park

Written by Emilie Wilson