Sheila Robles is proud to be creating the roadmap for the rest of her family.
Now a MiraCosta College alumnus, Sheila is the only person in her family to graduate from college and is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in accounting at San Diego State University.
“There are a lot of struggles people don’t see behind my success,” noted Sheila. “The world doesn’t stop just because you’re going through hardships and so I try to be brave and continue for myself and my family.”
That mindset is a large reason why Sheila has been able to overcome a lifetime of obstacles that most people wouldn’t be able to manage.
When Sheila was three years old, she emigrated to the United States from Mexico with her mom and brother. Her mom was always a hard worker but as an undocumented parent, it meant that she faced countless challenges while working every day and raising two children in Oceanside.
On top of that, they lived in a neighborhood where drugs and violence were prevalent, making it difficult for Sheila and her brother to avoid the vices of the community.
“I am a very different person now compared to who I was as a kid,” shared Sheila. “I was a rebellious child and because of who I hung out with in my area, I ended up with a juvenile record.”
In fact, Sheila said that if you told her she would be a college graduate back then, she wouldn’t have believed you.
That all changed when her brother got deported. After going down the wrong path, her brother was picked up by the U.S. government and sent to Mexico. Years later, tragedy struck Sheila's family; her brother was murdered in Tijuana.
“When he died, I felt like a piece of me left,” shared Sheila. “Growing up wasn’t easy for us, but I always looked up to my brother because he always made sure I was taken care of.”
Because of her immigration status, Sheila was unable to see her brother after he was deported and couldn’t even say goodbye when he died. It has now been two years since he was killed and while his memory is never far from her mind, Sheila is doing her best to carry on his legacy by paving a new path for her family.
As Sheila explained, “The reason I went to MiraCosta was because I wanted to reapply myself and prove that my immigration status and juvenile record should not define me. I may not have pictured myself going to college when I was younger, but my brother always told me I needed to be a strong, determined, and independent woman. This is my way to do that.”
Today, Sheila is thriving. She finished at MiraCosta College with a 3.9 GPA and is on track to graduate from San Diego State University in two years. Her younger cousins now look up to her as an example of what’s possible. While she still faces uncertainty as an undocumented student, she hopes that her school achievements will help her remain in the only country she knows.
Sheila noted, “I know the road ahead won’t be easy, but I’ll continue to strive and overcome any obstacles or hardships in my life.”