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Ms. Cardenas: The College Transition Mentor

Guiding Students to Success

As a senior, We are constantly asked about our future. “What college are you going to?”, “Did you fill out that scholarship?”, “Is your FAFSA done?”. Plus all the other million tasks we need to complete, needless to say, we have a lot on our plate. So having someone familiar with the process can make it feel less overwhelming. 


Meet Ms. Mikalya Cardenas, you might know her as just Mikayla or Ms. Cardenas. But I know her as my actual lifesaver. Although it is her first year teaching, her day looks different than most teachers at MHS.


“I am the College and career transition counselor, I am part of the partnership between the EICC, specifically Muscatine Community College. I help with anything college related, Go to meetings and college visits with kids, help with scholarships and FAFSA,”  Said Ms. Cardenas. 


Her job is to help prepare us for the real world literally. But this wasn’t her first idea as a career choice.


“I have my masters as a social worker so that I could have gone in so many different directions, and I did try a couple different things,” She said. 


But after some trial and error, Ms. Cardenas found herself working in the school system. At first, she worked with elementary students, finding a love for third graders. But when Ms. Kress’  job became available, she took the opportunity. 


“…So when her job became available, I knew it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. I could be a teacher and help people too. The teaching part was scary at first because I had no idea what I was doing,” said Ms. Cardenas. 

Ms. Cardenas with her Mom

Ms. Cardenas teaches two classes, Strategies for Academic Success, which is recommended for Juniors and Seniors, and Career Explorations which is for Freshman and Sophomores. 

Strategies are taught during the fall semester and focus on preparing you for life after high school, regardless if you’re going to a college, trade school, or straight to the workforce. Career Explorations helps you get an idea of what you might want to do, it exposes you to many different jobs and careers that you might not have known about. 


While this was her first year having her own classroom, she didn’t let her struggles discourage her. 


“It was my first year, you’re bound to make mistakes. But I learned a lot of lessons too. But it’s all worth it to me. Relationships are super important, and this year I have made so many new relationships that I know I will remember and will impact me for the rest of my life,” She said.


Even outside of school Ms. Cardenas still has her hands full. 


“I have two dogs, Nelly and Ollie. They can be a handful, I feel just like mom. I keep them on a schedule the same way you have to keep kids in a routine. I also see my family at least once a week. Like I said, relationships are super important to me, so my family means a lot to me,” said Ms. Cardenas.

Even though teaching wasn’t her initial choice, Ms. Cardenas still found a calling here at our school. She is looking forward to her future years here at MHS and maybe you will be lucky enough to cross paths with her. 

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About the Contributor
Charley Pierce
Charley Pierce, Web Designer
Charley is a senior at MHS. She is our website designer. She is also a part of our Yearbook team, also working with visuals and aesthetics. This is her second year involved in journalism! When she isn't wrapped up in school or working she enjoys listening to music and being with her bearded dragon, Zeko!
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