Graduation doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve reached the end of your higher education pursuits. For Adrian Barden, joining the Washtenaw Community College Class of 2023 is just one stop along a much longer journey.
Barden, a 39-year-old Ypsilanti resident, celebrated the completion of an Entrepreneurship and Innovation certificate. But there’s plenty more to accomplish.
The former warehouse worker decided to take a shot at building his photography hobby into a business, so he paid WCC a visit to see how his local community college could help. As it turns out, he found a program he was interested … and a chance encounter helped nullify his concerns about returning to a college classroom as an adult.
“I was walking on campus and started talking to an older gentlemen, he was probably in his 70s, that I thought was an instructor,” Barden said. “After talking to him for a while, I realized he was actually a student. I decided right then that if he could do it, I could too.”
Barden had great success in his Entrepreneurship and Innovation program, giving him the confidence to aim higher. He is currently pursuing a Business Administration 3+1 transfer program that will allow him to earn 78 credits at WCC’s low tuition rate before transferring to Eastern Michigan University to complete a bachelor’s degree.
And if his own self-confidence wasn’t motivation enough to continue his academic journey, the birth of his son, Adrian Jr., definitely put him over the top.
“He is my motivation. I want to show him a different way,” Barden said while holding Adrian Jr. at a WCC Office of Diversity & Inclusion graduation event. “I grew up in the city of Detroit, where sometimes life is stacked against you. I want to be somebody that beats the odds. I set a goal and achieving it proves something to my family and myself.”