Denmark Technical College
"Push forward and don't give up. Strive to be someone better and do something greater -- and settle for nothing less."
My name is Jordan Blanding. I am the SGA president at Denmark Tech. I’m from Columbia, South Carolina, and the youngest of four siblings.
I gave up on my education in high school, and instead started doing rebellious things. I left my mom’s house at 18 because I didn’t want to listen to her or follow her rules. I was heading down a path where I was going to end up deceased or incarcerated, and I eventually decided it was time to make some changes. I went to Job Corps to get my GED, which is where my Denmark Tech journey began.
I was intending to go to another college, but I decided to come to Denmark Tech because of the school’s history as an HBCU. I applied and got accepted within a week. I chose Criminal Justice as my major because my family has dealt with the criminal justice system a lot. That was a motivator for me. I never imagined myself in college, but now that I’m here, I’m striving to do what I came here to do: get a degree, a promising career and become a leader.
Why didn’t you feel like college was a place for you, initially?
I had a very rough childhood growing up, and was always told that I would never amount to anything or be successful. I wanted to prove everybody wrong. When I showed them that I got my GED, got into college, got a scholarship and got my major, suddenly everyone was like, “Wow. He’s really doing it.”
I wanted to do it for myself, but I just never thought that it would actually happen. College was just a dream for me — and now I’m living that dream. I’m the last of my mom’s children to graduate from college. It’s a major step going from being looked down upon to being looked up to.
What have you defied on your journey?
I defy all the negative things people said about me because I’m not a negative individual. I’m all about the positive and helping people. When someone says, “Hey, you’re never going to amount to this. You’re never going to do this. You’re never going to do that,” I defy it.
I never felt good about myself until I came to Denmark Tech. Now that I’m actually feeling good about myself, I’m accomplishing all of the goals I never thought I would. It’s like every day I wake up, sit down and think, “Where would I be if I wasn’t here?” I’m happy that I’m proving everybody wrong.
What is it about Denmark Tech that appeals to you most?
First, I always dreamt of going to an HBCU. The faculty, staff and president here are the most helpful people I’ve ever encountered. When I first got here, they all told me, “If you need help with anything — personal or academic — let us know and we will help you.”
I became freshman class president my first year, and ran for SGA this year. I consider the faculty, staff and students like family because I’ve never had this much motivation, this much advice or support coming from a group of people. The help and support I get here is what I needed to push forward in life.
What have you learned about yourself along the way?
I have more potential than I realized. I always thought I wasn’t educated or smart enough, but here I am — in college. I’m doing this for my mother, because my mother is my everything. When I got my GED, that was for her. My degree, once I get it, is also for her. I know it’s for me in the long run, but it’s really for her because I’m the last of her kids. She always wanted to see her son do better. Now that she sees that I’m getting an education, have a scholarship and a promising future and a career ahead of me, she’s proud and our relationship is getting stronger.
What misperceptions do you think people have about technical college?
College is college. You’re going to get an education, a degree and use that to get a career. We have amazing student leaders, faculty and staff here — just like any four-year university.
What advice do you have for others considering their future?
Never doubt yourself. Everyone has some type of potential. Furthering your education is the best thing anyone can do. It has changed my life dramatically. Never doubt the potential that you have; it may help change the world or your community. Push forward and don’t give up. Strive to be someone better and do something greater — and settle for nothing less.