Just one year ago, Mikala Hutchinson sat in an office at MiraCosta College with no specific plans in mind.
She was there to have a conversation but if you ask her, she will tell you that she no real intention of attending college in that moment. That is, until she found out one interesting detail.
Growing up, Mikala’s family received a lower income than most and often faced homelessness, causing Mikala to attend nearly a dozen different high schools during her youth. As a result, she was never really sure what was required of her to complete her diploma. To her surprise, the MiraCosta College counselor sitting across from her that day told her that she was only one class away from receiving her high school diploma.
That’s when it clicked. After learning more about the Adult High School Diploma Program at MiraCosta College, Mikala decided to enroll for one term.
“I wanted to finish; I wanted to have my diploma,” said Mikala.
All Mikala had left was one science class, and once she completed the other pre required courses, she would be done. Or so she first thought.
Shared Mikala, “After that first term in the Adult Program, I started thinking about the next step. Once I got my high school diploma, I wanted to continue on to get my college degree.”
With numerous counselors and professors at MiraCosta College by her side, Mikala explored what it would take to get a college degree, especially as a full-time mom.
“I had no idea about the amount of financial aid resources that were available to me until I sat down with my counselor at MiraCosta College,” recalled Mikala.
After learning about the numerous scholarship opportunities available for adult students, Mikala applied for and received the Lomeli-Miller Endowed Scholarship to help fund her studies. And when she calculated the amount she was poised to receive, she realized it would enable her to put her two children in the Development Center while she took classes and studied. For a full-time mom like Mikala, this was a game changer.
During the week, Mikala takes advantage of every moment she can to accomplish her goals, which often means juggling her responsibilities as a full-time mother and full-time student.
Three days a week, the family gets up early and heads over to MiraCosta College where Mikala’s kids spend the morning in daycare while she takes her online courses and studies on campus. Around lunchtime, Mikala drives her oldest son to school before putting her youngest down for a nap. It’s then that she opens her books back up to continue studying. At night, when everyone is asleep, she uses the final hours of the day to finish up any remaining homework alongside her husband who is also back in school.
When asked how she is able to balance everything, she talks about the importance of taking things one assignment, one project at a time.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for support,” shared Mikala. “MiraCosta College has so many resources and supportive people who are willing to help.”
With about a year left at MiraCosta College, Mikala is already setting her sights on what’s next. She plans to transfer to a four-year university, obtain her master’s degree and pursue a career in social work to help people with similar backgrounds as her.