Heginger has faced her share of challenges
When coming to college most college students face a lot of different challenges like homesickness, too much work and financial stress. But the challenges that Michell Rae Heginger, a NIACC student, originally from the Philippines, faced is something many are lucky enough never to experience.
In Heginger’s high school sophomore year, her mother informed her that she was moving to America with her and her stepfather, a decision that shocked her. “I cried for several days,” she said because she would be leaving all of her friends in the Philippines.
To really understand her situation, imagine moving to a different country where you don’t speak the language, and where you don’t know anyone except your family, which in her case would only be her stepfather and her mother.
She said her biggest challenge was the language barrier, and also the different cliques that existed in her high school, a thing that she wasn’t used to in her home country.
Today Heginger said she feels more confident with the English language. “I’m getting good grades in all my English classes,” Heginger said.
Her age is something that makes her even more special, after going to high school for a short amount of time; she enrolled at NIACC at the age of 16.
She said this is has created some social challenges for her because most of the people are two years or older than she. Other students aren’t close to her age.
To make her situation even more difficult, her mother died two years ago.
“Basically, I’m all alone here,” Heginger said. The only one she has left is her stepfather while the rest of her family is back in the Philippines, family members she hasn’t seen since she arrived in this country.
She’s a girl, who at the age of 17, has already been through so much. It is hard to understand, but her answer to the question how she gets through it is as simple as it can be. “I just have to stay positive,” Heginger said.
Heginger plans to pursue a career in nursing which is the profession her mother had planned to pursue.