Mikayla Craft '17
Number 50, December 15, 2015
Not all journeys are a straight path; Mikayla Craft '17 will be the first to tell you that.
After completing her first academic Year at College of Coastal Georgia in May of 2013 she decided to take a year off from school. She began her college career in the fall of 2012 as a pre-occupational therapy major, but a trying freshman year left her unsure about her path. Classes weren't going as planned and she felt like she was walking through life without a map, or a destination.
"At that point, the best thing to do was take a year off and try to find some direction," Craft recalls.
One thing she was certain she didn't want to do was go back home with her tail between her legs. Moving back into her parents McDonough, Ga. home with her twin younger brothers was simply not an option. She decided to stay in Brunswick and work it out on her own.
"I knew that there were better opportunities for me down here and the community I was surrounded by was very challenging but inspiring," Craft says. "I had a sense that this was where I needed to be."
During her year off, Craft was a live-in nanny for a local family, interned with Converge – the college ministry of The Gathering Place – and worked a couple of part-time jobs locally. The most rewarding single experience, however, was a mission trip she took to Uganda in Africa.
"Even though the year off was a time for personal growth, it did give me the tools I needed to be successful in school once I came back," Craft says. "I was really able to work on critical skills like time management, prioritizing tasks, and develop traits like perseverance and reliability."
Centered and more mature, Craft was prepared to resume her studies and switched her major to Public Management, which is offered by the School of Business and Public Management. She has done well academically since her return, and credits her success to the encouragement and motivation from her parents, friends and church.
"I really want to work in community development and Public Management was the major that I chose to help me get into that," Craft says. "My trip to Uganda inspired me to work in that type of development – whether it's stateside or internationally, I'm not sure just yet."
According to Craft, her coursework in Public Management will prepare her for a wide range of potential careers. Craft is eager to dive into her upper level courses that will cover elements of city planning, strategic planning and grant-writing; all skills that she'll be able to apply once she gets into the field.
While Craft has rededicated herself to academic achievement, she's no bookworm. Through her employment in the campus recreation department, Craft has become more involved with the CCGA community.
As the Marketing Assistant for Mariner Recreation, Craft can be seen at campus events snapping photos, or at intramural games live tweeting and instagramming the latest updates. Her bubbly personality and creativity make her a great fit for connecting the students to recreation initiatives.
"It's been a huge learning curve," Craft says, "but working with Mariner Recreation has connected me more with my peers on campus and build relationships that I probably wouldn't have been able to otherwise. There's a great sense of comradery on the recreation staff and we value the role we play in the greater campus community."