An international student from Trinidad, Mickel came to America for its education, career opportunities, and infrastructure. He dreamt of opening his own business, and he knew that if he wanted to make that a reality, he’d have to leave Trinidad.
An aunt who had moved to Howard County spoke highly of the local community college, and Mickel realized that applying to Howard Community College was his ticket to success. “Coming here on a student visa was the best way for me to grow academically and do it in America,” he says. “For me, HCC was more affordable than other schools, and I had family here, so it all made sense.”
At HCC, Mickel routinely met with a Step UP coach to discuss his goals, visited the international student advising office to stay on track with his progress towards graduation, and met with a tutor for any classes that gave him difficulties.
“I wanted to use everything I could, and I mean every single possible thing. I knew it’d help me, so there’s no reason not to,” Mickel says. “I got the help I needed to graduate on time and figure out what I wanted to do. A lot of people at HCC helped me along the way.”
In Trinidad, Mickel describes himself as quiet and reserved. “I didn’t really talk that much, but I liked being with some friends or just hanging out. Here in America, it’s all different. People are always socializing or talking to new people.”
At HCC, Mickel learned how to adapt to American culture.
“I joined the soccer team. One of the guys was the co-chair for the Student Program Board (SPB), so I asked about jobs and became the promotions assistant. It took a lot for me to open up and be more welcoming to people,” he says. “But I did, and I just kept working at it every day.”
The following year, Mickel became the co-chair of SPB, which helped him learn how to work in larger groups, organize tasks, and run a small team of people. His leadership roles within SPB are part of the reason why Mickel calls HCC his “launch pad” for preparing him for success.
Mickel is currently taking classes at the University of Maryland, Global Campus, studying for his bachelor's degree in business management with plans to graduate in 2020.
“I guarantee I’ll have my own business in the next ten years,” Mickel says. “HCC helped me in almost every way to realize what it takes to achieve my dreams.”
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