Meet our Students
Meet Mark Richards
El Camino High School graduate Mark Richards began his studies at MiraCosta College in the spring semester of 2010. It had been two years since he had been in a classroom, but Mark was determined to make something out of his life through education.
The deciding factor for Mark’s choice to attend MiraCosta College was the low cost of attendance and the convenient location, with the Oceanside campus a short distance to his home. Since making the decision, Mark has made many life-changing decisions about his future, including the choice to make something out of his life.
“Growing up in Oceanside I struggled with many obstacles, including gangs and drugs. I knew that I didn’t want my life to end up like many of my friends, constantly in and out of prison or dead at a very young age,” says Mark.
When he first came to MiraCosta College, Mark did not know which subject he wanted to major in. “I had no major and was not exactly sure of my career path, or what I would want to pursue in the future. It was not until taking courses at MiraCosta College that I discovered I had a strong interest in Political Science,” says Mark.
As an African-American male, Mark says that it was difficult to adjust to. “African-American men are few and far between on college campuses across the country, and their success rates are even lower,” says Mark. “It took time for me to feel comfortable with being a ‘college student.’ MiraCosta helped me transition into college life without feeling marginalized as a minority.”
While studying at MiraCosta College Mark held two jobs. “While I was studying full time I worked 30 hours a week at LA Fitness as a personal trainer and Olive Garden as a server. At one point I was taking 18 units,” says Mark. The heavy workload did not deter Mark, he worked hard, and in the spring semester of 2011 Mark Graduated from MiraCosta College.
At MiraCosta College Mark gained confidence in his academic abilities. “Initially all I hoped to accomplish at MiraCosta was transferring to a four year school. As I performed well I realized that I was capable of much more and became more specific with my goals: transferring to either UCLA or UC Berkeley,” says Mark.
In the fall semester of 2011, Mark transferred to UC Berkeley as a junior. At Berkeley Mark is majoring in Political Science with an emphasis in American Politics and plans to pursue a career in law, either specializing in criminal law or contracts.
“When I left MiraCosta I missed having small classrooms and close connections to the professors. MiraCosta has some of the best faculty and everyone seems very interested in the success of the student population,” says Mark.
In the future Mark hopes to have his own law practice, run for public office, write a book, and start a non-profit organization for troubled youth. “Work hard and dream big! I barely graduated high school, and now I’m at UC Berkeley. I worked hard and proved to myself that I can do anything I put my mind to – MiraCosta was the trampoline which got me where I am today,” says Mark.