Passion. Purpose. Focus.
Going to college takes planning and focus and can be a challenge for anyone, but some have to hurdle more than others to be successful. So, what does it take to be successful when the odds are stacked against you? We asked three Southeast Technical Students.
Adrian Torbenson discovered his passion with his poetry and music….
Adrian considers himself a professional rapper and a poet. He has his third book coming out soon and is working on his fourth now. Eleven years ago he was told he wouldn’t be able to do these things.
When he was 11 years old Adrian was on his way home from school when he was struck by a drunk and drugged driver. He suffered a shattered lower right leg; a broken left femur; a dislocated right shoulder; his skull was cracked in 5 places; and he had a traumatic brain injury. When he woke up in the hospital from a coma he could not speak, read or walk. The doctors didn't think he would ever get these abilities back. He has no memory from before the accident or any memory of the accident; though today he has flashbacks.
Adrian had a long hard road to recovery. He experienced an abusive relationship and began cutting as a teen. For years Adrian suffered from depression until a couple of years ago when he said, "I have to change my life." Shortly after this revelation he met his girlfriend, Kellie, who made it easier for Adrian to stay positive and keep from sinking back into depression.
Now, 11 years after the accident, Adrian maintains a B average; he has recently added public speaking to his list of accomplishments and shares his message of hope and encouragement with others; he is preparing to graduate this spring with a degree in Network Administration & Technology; he plans to continue his education to become a Penetration Tester (ethical hacker); and he and Kellie are planning a June wedding.
Gabriel Hall realized his purpose when his daughter was born…
In 2011 Gabe was listening to a variety of Tupac songs when he recognized a lot of his own life story reflected in the lyrics. "I realized that this was a road map I didn’t want to take," he now recalls.
At nine years old Gabe walked in on something that sent him on that path. He found three guys doing heroin; they 'shot him up' to keep him from tattling. It was a miracle that he survived since they injected him with enough to kill a grown man. Gabe admits he spent much of his life since then 'chasing that high'. It led to years of heavy drinking, pot smoking, running away, petty theft, dealing drugs and treatment facilities. At 19 years old, while in jail Gabe admitted that he could not read and began to learn. Even so, it would be six more years before Gabriel found direction with his education.
When Gabe found out he was a father, at 25 years old, he found his purpose in life. A month later he was enrolled at Southeast Technical College. When he enrolled he told his probation officer that his intention was to get in and get out without connecting with anyone. He says he figured eventually he'd get kicked out just like every other time he was in school. His PO encouraged him to get involved and convinced him to join one activity, just one. That is how Gabe got involved with Student Senate. He planned to give it the bare minimum. He ended up, however, giving it 110 percent. Most days, when he is not in class you will find Gabe studying or socializing in the Student Senate office. He may just be one of the most social students in school now. He is in the Legal Administrative Assistant program and maintains a B average. Gabriel plans to continue on to receive his bachelor's degree as a paralegal and then on to law school. He was also recently honored with a scholarship through MSCSA for leadership. Gabe has been clean for two years now and he says every day is a struggle but the connections he's made in school keep him moving forward. He says, "I had a seventh grade teacher who said I wouldn’t make anything of my life. You know what? He was wrong. I now have great advisors and friends who have good things to say about me."
Jenna Lubinski found her focus to be the best influence possible for her children…
When Jenna began her college career she planned to be a photographer who traveled the world. That all changed with the realization that she was going to be a mom. Today she is taking pictures of everything right here at home, including her two daughters and she has no regrets.
Jenna is a full time student at Southeast Technical, studying Retail and Sales Management. To be a full time student who works full time AND a single parent of two you have to be VERY organized. Nearly every minute of every day of Jenna's life is scheduled. She wakes at 6 a.m., scrambles to dress and feed the kids before the school bus comes at 7:15. She then takes the other to preschool before heading off to school herself. Jenna has class in the mornings then at noon heads to her job at the local Harley dealer until 6 p.m. Then it's dinner, homework with the kids, bath time and bedtime (complete with a bedtime story) before starting on her own homework. On a good day she might get a little 'me time' before heading off to sleep. The weekends are just as busy with working at Harley Davidson, bartending and setting up her new business, all while making time for her children. In addition to all of this Jenna still finds time for serving as Student Senate president on the Winona campus; working as the Southeast representative of the Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA); DECA; working in the Learning Resource Center (LRC) on campus; networking with other students; and lobbying for higher education at the state and nations capitals.
"I am an overachiever, workaholic who wants to please everyone," Jenna says, adding, "Time management is the most difficult part of my life." Why does she do it? Jenna's focus is to better herself for her children's sake. She was 19 years old and a freshman at Winona State University when she found out she was pregnant. She remembers thinking, "What am I going to do now?" It was then that she realized that she had to pave a new road for herself so she could be there for and support her child. "I wouldn't change anything. As a photographer traveling the world I would have made work my 'love'. Now I have real love with a healthy support system around me and I cannot imagine living without them."
Adrian, Gabriel and Jenna are exploring their passion, purpose and focus with Southeast Technical College. There are plenty more students like them out there jumping the hurdles to be successful. Anyone who puts their mind to it can turn their life around and find success. For more information on how Southeast Technical can help you find your passion, purpose and focus contact Admissions at 877-853-8324 or email email@example.com