Ryan Hardin, a Lina McCord Scholar and Ambassador, is in his second semester at Paine College. He was born in Mobile, Alabama. At a young age, the family relocated and he was reared with one sibling in Houston, Texas. His story is not the typical collegiate experience. Ryan enrolled in college during the Fall semester of 2010 in Texas, but a distracted mindset and lack of structure, would eventually make him question if he was disciplined enough to continue down the path paved with degrees.
“I was always known as the smart kid my entire life and never felt challenged. My work ethic of not studying, but still managing to obtain a passing grade, was no longer a reality so I decided to take a break from college. Honestly, I never thought I would be on a college campus again or afforded the opportunities that Paine College has given to me as a student and ambassador,” said Hardin.
During the time he was taking a break from college, he vividly recalls working dead-end jobs and not being productive in his life, when his grandmother’s friend mentioned that he should research Paine College and consider enrolling to continue his education. He acted on her advisement, and thus began his Paine College experience. Ryan attributes his refocused mindset and a Mass Communications Degree that is within his reach, to the institution he states, “matured him to get back on a path of success.”
Ryan has a 3.66 GPA and is on course to graduate in 2018. He is currently an intern for FLI (Future Leaders Inspired), a non-for-profit organization. He is also a representative for Kids with a Future and a baritone in the Paine Choir. He believes there is always work to be done and that is why he keeps himself engaged with positive activities. This upcoming Summer in 2017, Ryan will travel to South Africa and is excited about the opportunity to learn the culture, taste the food and for the privilege granted to him to travel abroad.
When asked about his Paine College experience, Ryan had the following words to share: “I have met the most interesting peers, staff and professors here at PC. This is the first place I’ve resided where everyone knows your name. The professors actually care and want you to attain your degree, the students have a commonality for academic excellence and the staff are always willing to go above and beyond to ensure you succeed. This institution values me as a person and has never treated me as a number.”
Ryan has many supporters but his biggest cheerleaders are his mother, Terri Stapleton, whom he lovingly confirms as the real “MVP,” and his grandmother, Carol Hall, who repeatedly told him to affirm, “excellence is a choice; excellence is great; I will be excellent in everything I do.” And even though he secretly wanted to be a Disney Kid for the fame and money when he was younger and has a difficult time convincing others that he is from Texas, the future of Ryan Hardin looks productive and prosperous, thanks to Paine College and its ability to mold its students with education, encouragement and a valuable college experience.
In Other Words, by Stone