Student focuses on academics while husband is deployed

Rossemary Archila-Michels will be graduating next month with a degree in Human Development and an emphasis on Adult and Gerontology Services.

“My time at CSUSM has been a roller coaster,” she says. “With schoolwork and my personal life, I was experiencing many highs and many lows and I worked very hard on my schoolwork at Cal State San Marcos for 4 ½ years. I went through some really challenging times.”


Rossemary’s second spring semester was the toughest one for her when she learned that her husband, Shawn Michels who serves in the Navy, was being deployed overseas. It was at this point that the two of them decided they needed to get through this situation and they wanted to “come out on top” she says.

While he was away Rossemary learned to stay focused on her studies and it was the distraction she needed to keep her from thinking about the separation from her husband.

“I continued to work hard on my courses and I learned how to adapt to the situation we were in. As the semesters flew by, I started to take classes that were specific to my major such as classes in Adulthood and Aging and Social Gerontology,” she says.

“I knew I had chosen the right concentration as I was amazed by how much I learned about the growing aging population.”


Rossemary’s motivation came to a halt in her third year though when she was rushed to the hospital with severe abdominal pain. Academics were so important to her that she remembers thinking on her way to the hospital that she didn’t want to miss class the next morning.

She was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis and was advised to take a semester off from school. The news was not easy for Rossemary to comprehend but she realized that her health was just as important as her education.

“Reflecting on my journey to graduation, I learned to appreciate those who have helped me through it all. A helping hand, even if it is a simple gesture can go a long way. All my experiences through my time at CSUSM made me want to give back and work in the healthcare field within Human Development.”

Shawn Michels is still deployed today and unfortunately will miss celebrating Veterans’ Day with Rossemary this time, but he will be home in time to witness her walk across the stage at Commencement in May.

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