Psychology major turns obstacles into success stories that will inspire others.

Torriane Hardeman has overcome a host of obstacles in his life and turned almost as many into learning experiences.

The junior from Atlanta is a first-generation college student who didn’t initially consider college until his high school mentor steered him toward Georgia Gwinnett College.

“I wasn’t driven to go to college. I was one of those people who just wanted to get a job and do something else,” he said.

Enter Robert Kelly, his mentor, high school counselor and fellow church member.

Kelly initiated conversations with Hardeman about life and career goals, and during those meetings, Hardeman discovered an aspiration to be a high school counselor. Together they determined that GGC’s psychology major was a good fit.

“It was a struggle at first because finances weren’t always on my side,” Hardeman said.

Like many GGC students, Hardeman turned to financial aid resources like the HOPE Scholarship, Pell Grant and a student loan to help him make ends meet. Add in his resident assistant role in student housing and, he said, “I’m basically going to college for free.”

During his sophomore year, Hardeman experienced an academic roadblock when he failed a psychology class. Despite paying attention in class and studying, he couldn’t deliver a passing grade. His college career outlook turned cloudy.

“Coming out of high school, I didn’t have the mentality to go to college,” he said.

GGC’s dedication to student success offers resources for those not entirely prepared for what college demands – resources like tutoring, mentoring and advising. And for students like Hardeman who live on campus, help is just a few steps away.

Hardeman bounced back and has since received the Resident Assistant of the Year award and is on track to take a full slate of psychology classes this semester as he progresses further into his major.

Hardeman looks back on the adversity he’s overcome and believes he’s better prepared for any challenges that lie ahead. He’s learned to believe in himself, study more and manage his time better – qualities he’ll share to inspire others who don’t believe college is for them.