College Life Today: Maria Overton is making the big life choices

Maria Overton

Maria Overton
Special to the Union

COLLEGE OF THE REDWOODS – Growing up I felt my options were college or the Navy. It wasn’t until I started receiving recruiting letters from colleges that offered to pay for my education, if I ran on their track team, that it really clicked. My choice was college.

 When I was younger I was a chief petty officer of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps. It’s a youth leadership development program that gives high school students an opportunity to experience what the military offered without having to actually be in the military. 

The military seemed like a possible future for me. Then, in my senior year, I received more than 30 letters from colleges that offered me scholarships, invitations to check out their school, and other encouragement to run at their college. 

I chose College of the Redwoods. I remember I was worried that I wouldn’t be successful with my hearing loss and short-term memory loss, as well as my learning disabilities. Could I actually be a student? I wanted a college that was dedicated to helping me succeed, willing to help me pass classes, willing to help me improve as an athlete. I wanted to grow both physically and mentally.

It turned out that deciding to run in college was the best thing I ever did. I’ve found a family, created a new name for myself, and found new opportunities that I don’t think I would have otherwise. At College of the Redwoods, I’ve been a two-time qualifier in state, I hold a school record, and with my coach, I’ve changed the way the people view competing at a junior college. 

I still volunteer with the Sea Cadet Corps. This winter I signed up for the STEM Robotics class that they offer, and I hope to help convince these current cadets that college is very important even if they are in the military. 

I also still receive letters from four-year universities that want me to compete for them. Sometime soon, I will choose one of them and will continue to compete while I finish earning my bachelor’s degree. 

Maria Overton is a student-athlete who is studying business at College of the Redwoods. She is one of the students documenting her college experience on social media with Get Ready Humboldt. Find more at



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