Kayla Balecha “Coming to SMC really meant that I could start with a clean slate. And I can get to do what I should have been doing all along.”

Ah, Las Vegas... the lights, the Strip, the glamour, and the action. But for some, all of that means very little. Take Kayla Balecha. “I’m just in my first year here, but I’m so glad that I made the change. I just needed to get away from my parents, do some growing up, and see how the culture works over here in Southern California,” says Kayla. “To be honest, I didn’t have such high hopes when I came here because—after all—I had Las Vegas. But I’m completely happy that I made such a huge change.”

Kayla chose SMC for one very time-honored reason. “I heard about the amazing transfer rates to UC schools from here, and I’m doing everything I can to transfer to UCLA. It’s nursing that I want to get into, and I’ve heard that SMC’s program is, like, fourth in the nation. One of the very top schools. So I’m just gonna get my degree in Liberal Arts here, and then continue on taking as many nursing classes as I can at SMC before I transfer. My parents are helping me out, because they believe my education is far too important for me to have to feel distracted and tired because of a job, so they don’t want me to have to work. And I’ve decided to get into nursing,” Kayla continues, “because nurses are in such high demand, and the pay is really good. But I also just love helping people when they’re sick or they’re hurting. And I’m very interested in neonatal care as well, so babies are also gonna be a part of my future.”

From the Strip to the beach. Kayla says, “I’m 100% pleased with being here and finding so many great teachers, like Mr. Habel, my English instructor. He also teaches at UCLA, so I feel like I’m already getting connected with the university. I know there’s a lot of hard work to do before I get there, but I feel my chances through SMC are very good.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.​