Mihret Habtamu’s path to success


Ruth Mesfin, Review Staff

Feature Photo By: Ruth Mesfin – Mihret Habtamu studies for her finals which took place during the week of December 10th.

Mihret Habtamu, a sophomore attending Colorado State University (CSU), never knew how far she could strive until she realized where she is now. Habtamu was born into an immigrant family who wishes the best for their children.

Habtamu was born in Ethiopia and moved to the United States when she was eight. Not knowing any English, she struggled through her elementary years due to the language and culture barrier.

As time went on, she said, “I was excelling in school and passed the English Language Development (ELD) class before I went to high school.”

When it was time for high school, Habtamu attended Rangeview as the class of 2016. She was involved in multiple advanced and college courses as an honor student. She participated in extracurricular activities such as soccer and varsity cross country as well.

Habtamu mentions how her experiences at Rangeview helped her grow not only academically, but also individually.

“Even though there was a language barrier that could have blocked me from being successful at school and life in general, I made sure to learn well and adapt to the new culture,” Habtamu stated.

As the process began for choosing the school of her dreams, she acknowledged how Rangeview and its community prepared her for the real world.

Cars park outside of the Canvas Stadium. This is typically where CSU students would gather to watch their football team play home games (Ruth Mesfin).

She remarks, “Rangeview offered me multiple classes that were advanced and college level so they helped out a lot. From taking these classes, I was able to recognize what college would be like, and also enhance my skills at school.”

With the help of College Track and the support of Rangeview’s community, Habtamu felt she finally had control over the career she wanted to pursue after high school.

Habtamu continued, “For instance, during my senior year at Rangeview, I took composition, psychology, and history courses that were college level. The concurrent enrollment program at Rangeview not only granted me both high school and college credits which helped me be a semester ahead in college, but it also taught me the skills I needed for college and beyond.”

Something the separates Habtamu from ordinary CSU students is that she takes the time to volunteer at an elementary school on top of her studies. She has a mentee that she mentors, helping her with things such as reading.

Former College Track Student Life Director, Justin TenEyck, described Habtamu by saying, “I have hardly seen high school scholars as culturally knowledgeable, passionate about societal change and as loving as Mihret. Since becoming a College Track scholar, she has sought opportunities to engage in critical thought and to create change in her community.”

In her second year of college, Habtamu noted her experiences during her transition from being a senior in high school to a sophomore in college.

CSU students walk down the street of Old Town near campus after ending classes. Old Town, considered the 16th street mall of Fort Collins, is a popular place for students to frequent with several restaurants (Ruth Mesfin).

She says, “High school allows you to gain a sense of what it will be like to be an adult. On the other hand, college teaches you to take full ownership of your time, responsibilities and who you want to become. Some changes I have realized from high school and college is that in high school, you mostly know everyone in your classes, in college, not so much.”

Habtamu also has a strong desire for helping others — whether it be academically or helping those in need.

When Habtamu first started college, she went in with the mindset that she was going to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science. However, she switched her major to social work with a minor in criminal justice because her passion is to help others.

Habtamu came to the United States wanting to give back because she felt lucky to have an education, shelter, and a family to support her through life. She felt as if many people ignore the struggles most families are going through like paying the bills on time or having a stable job.

She says, “I feel so grateful to get the opportunities that I’ve received over the years. I try not to be the person that doesn’t lock their doors from a homeless person and look the other way. I strive to be the person who makes the homeless person’s day. It has truly opened my eyes to see that I really enjoy being there for others that might benefit from the help I can offer.”

One day she hopes to start her own business in helping those in need. She wants to provide places for students to get academic help with no costs, she wants to provide food and shelter for those struggle to get on their feet.

Merry Gebretsadik, a freshman attending CSU, says, “When I first meet Mihret, she was extremely helpful in helping me find my classes, considering my classes are in different buildings. Mihret assisted me to be involved with the cultural community at Parmelee Hall in CSU before I even graduated high school. If I had to describe Mihret in two words I would say she’s a dedicated and studious person.”

Mihret Habtamu walks down the street with her boyfriend off campus (Ruth Mesfin).

As an immigrant, Habtamu stresses the importance of embracing culture and what makes up your identity. She wants others to understand why giving back to the community is a huge part of someone as a character, and why it’s beneficial.  

Habtamu concluded, “The older I get the more I realize, you should take notice of what you have because the majority of people will do anything to be in your place. Many of us don’t realize not everyone is lucky enough to go to school and go home to a loving family eating dinner every night. Help out when you can, not when it makes you seem like a good person.”