Hannah Pederson, Reporter
Pierce College has been home to thousands of students in its almost 50 years as an institution. It’s impacted every student in different ways, and for Mikaela Payne it was subtle.
“I’m a lot less nervous, and I have a lot less money in my pocket,” Payne said, “so I’d say I’ve changed. It’s had its ups and downs, just like life.”
Payne graduates June 17 after spending two years of her life at Pierce as a Running Start student working toward her associate degree in social studies.
At 18-years-old, Payne balances classes at Pierce and working at Home Depot, helping the elderly figure out self-checkout stations.
Most of Payne’s friends are at Pierce, and she spends her time between classes talking with them in the College Center Connection Café.
Student Tony Lane has only known Payne since winter quarter, but that’s no indication as to how much they respect her.
“She’s a really good person,” Lane said. “She cares for a lot of people. She genuinely cares for me even though we haven’t known each other for that long.”
Reflecting on her time at Pierce, Payne said there wasn’t much of an impact.
“Not a lot of things can change your life in two years, especially at my age,” Payne said. “My human sexuality class had an effect on me, but it didn’t give me an epiphany about how I view the world or anything.”
After graduation, Payne plans on taking a gap year, and might move to Arizona to be with her mom.
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