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Meet Diego Vargas Dominguez

Diego Vargas Dominguez had wanted to return to college, but jobs and raising his family put off his plans. When he lost his job during the COVID-19 pandemic, he decided it was time to resume his education at MiraCosta College.

“I’ve always had the desire to be in school and be a scholar,” he said. “COVID was a reset.”

Vargas Dominguez, 46, first attended Long Beach City College when he was 18 years old. But with a series of arrests and incarcerations since he was 13, he ended up dropping out.

He said that he turned his life around when he was 25 years old and was no longer under the authority of the California Youth Authority.

“I had an epiphany moment on how I was wasting my time,” he said. “I knew how to talk and interact. I felt like I was wasting away my natural born gift. I just felt like I was using it for the wrong reasons.”

Now the parent of three sons aged 24, 22 and 20 and an 8-year-old daughter, Vargas Dominguez said he wanted to be a better role model. “I didn’t want my children to ever make choices like I did because of lack of a parent,” he said. “Once I started living a more decent life, I did a 360.”

He wanted to be a handyman, then managed apartments and set up his own business. But he said he was able to find little work during the COVID pandemic, so he enrolled at MiraCosta College. He is majoring in business administration and will be graduating in May.

Vargas Dominguez got a job working in the Student Life and Leadership program, where he helps manage student clubs, staffs the front desk, and answers questions from students.

“Terrence Shaw (director of Student Life and Leadership) has been amazing,” Vargas Dominguez said. “He has always helped me and the other students with our school life and our personal life. He always welcomes us to drop by and vent, and he knows where to send us to get help.”

Vargas Dominguez hopes to earn some additional credits so that he can transfer to CSU San Marcos and earn his bachelor’s degree. He’s unclear about his future career plans, but his future looks bright thanks to his education at MiraCosta College.

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