Ariel Hage ’19 takes pride in being a positive example.
Whether lending a hand on service projects at her church or assuring the nervous prospective students she meets working her on-campus job they’re in the right place, the Anoka Technical College Health Information Technology student makes it a point to openly share her own experiences.
She says college can be intimidating and the challenge can shake a student’s confidence.
“I know I needed people in my life who not only told me how to do this,” she says, “but that I was capable of doing this.”
And when she walks across the stage at Anoka Tech’s Fall 2019 Commencement, Ariel will show those people just how capable she is of persevering though huge challenges.
A MODEL STUDENT
Ariel’s commitment to modeling hard work and perseverance starts at home. After all, she has a six-year-old set of eyes watching her day in and day out.
“I chose to attend Anoka Tech because I wanted to pursue a college degree to support myself and my family,” she says. “I knew that I couldn’t continue as a single mom working as a server or in a retail job.”
Ariel chose Health Information Technology because, as she puts it, “I really love the paperwork side of health care.”
She was proud of the work she was completing in the program, bringing home a 3.6 grade point average (GPA).
“I was your typical teenager who really didn’t care much for school. I had an extremely low GPA and barely graduated high school,” she says. “I thrive in college because I am learning things I am extremely interested in.”
Alongside of her success in the classroom, though, Ariel faced some serious challenges.
Anoka Technical College Foundation Crisis Grants helped her through some of those difficult times. But the challenges didn’t stop there.
Sober for three years, Ariel relapsed in 2018. She put her degree on hold and checked in to an in-patient rehabilitation program at Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge.
A NEW START AND NEW DIRECTION
At the start of fall semester 2019, Ariel returned to Anoka Tech, ready to finish what she started.
“There are a lot of people who, when faced with things like that, would completely give up on where they were going,” she says.
For Ariel, completing the program means demonstrating something important to herself and those she loves, specifically her daughter.
“I want my daughter to know she can do anything she puts her mind to,” Ariel says. “It’s important to me to set that example by walking those hard things out so she can learn them.”
The challenges she’s faced, and an internship helped Ariel to see the direction she may head after graduation—working for an organization that offers support to individuals dealing with substance abuse and mental health issues.
“I'm grateful that maybe my story can give others some hope that they can make it through really tough stuff and overcome their obstacles too,” Ariel says.