Resilience, faith and triumph in ‘The Destined Child’

Minnesota State senior Darlington “Destined” Sehgbean celebrated the launch Wednesday of his now-published autobiography “The Destined Child,” where he was finally able to share his story in a panel discussion  and exclusive interview organized by the Maverick Involvement Team in the International Student Association Office. 

Set in post-war Liberia, Sehgbean tells a tale that captures the strength of the human spirit in overcoming challenges. He also covers his personal experiences as an international student in the U.S. and provides inspiration and a celebration of dreams against all obstacles. 

Seghbean shared what inspired him to write his own story, which had been in the works for two years. 

“I really got inspired to write this book when I came to the US because just looking back and trying to pay tribute to my mom, she’s been a huge part of my life since I was born. I didn’t have a dad, just my mom. Then she unfortunately passed away when I was 8 years old. I had to survive a civil war and overcame a lot of barriers, a lot of obstacles until I found a scholarship to come to the US. So just reflecting on my own life. I feel like I needed to nail this down into a book,” Seghban said. 

“The two reasons I wrote it, first to pay tribute to my mom and just try to bring her story to life. Because she lived her entire life in a village so I wanted to just make that to be something that people can use as an inspiration. And then also my personal life discussion based on obstacles and challenges I overcame to be where I am today and where I want to see myself in the next five years. I feel like it brings a lot of courage, a lot of inspiration and perseverance. I wanted to share that to inspire other people.” 

As a full time MSU student, Seghbean said he tried to find balance between his free time to write around his schoolwork in addition to having no expertise on how to write a book.

Another challenge Seghbean discussed was the difficulty contacting his long-distance family from a different country and recounting life-changing events. 

“Because this is a life story that is not just about my personal life; it’s about my mom, it’s about my grandparents and how I was raised, where I came from and our cultures. And I didn’t really live much of my life in the village. I was 8 years old when I left,” He said. “I needed to really refresh my memory of things that I needed to include in the book. And lastly the conversation, it was uncomfortable. Because when you read the book, you will learn that my mother’s death was not typical. So having that conversation with people who know the story; they didn’t want to explain that because it comes with a lot of emotional trauma.” 

Seghbean said he hopes that by sharing his experiences as an international student in his book, other international students can find the resources they need at Minnesota State and help them overcome any barriers presented. 

“I think they can draw inspiration, courage and also, I think this book is going to give a new perspective in seeing the different resources they have on campus, because when we first get to the US, the only thing that I think most international students tend to think about is the fact that we have limitations. All of these different immigration limitations are the biggest things that our minds tend to go to,” he said. 

“So because of that, we tend to forget about the other resources that we can actually utilize. I feel like there are a lot of opportunities out here, but people don’t really tend to emphasize on them that much. So we feel limited and because of that we feel like there’s no solution. So this book is going to provide that avenue that international students can seek.” 

Michelle Harvey, the assistant director of RSOs, Leadership, and Nontraditional Students, helped organize the panel and shared how many international students will be able to relate to Destined’s story as well as discovering helpful resources at MSU. 

“I think Destined’s work is really just a story of inspiration and resiliency. So I think international students can easily see themselves in the story. I mean, obviously his personal life is his personal life, but the journey from leaving his country to come here for education, and I think that part of the story will resonate with a number of international students,” Harvey said. 

“I think the Kearney International Center is a great connection for international students to get connected to and our office is fantastic for getting connected. I know one of the things we talked about in this discussion was international students finding their place and finding their home and so that’s the Student Activities; helping students get connected to student organizations to experiences and to really just make some Maverick memories so we can help with that specifically.”

Seghbean hopes for his life story to live on in memory of his mother and also shares the potentiality of writing more books about his experiences and exploring more topics.

“Like I said, one of my purposes in this writing process was to pay tribute to my mother. I understand that she’s not around and she’s not alive, but then I want for her story to live on and a way that I thought I could do that was put that into a book, where even if I’m dead, that story is going to live on,” Seghbean said. “My life still continues, I still have a lot of goals to accomplish. I still have a lot of experiences to have. And I plan to write more books not just about my personal life, but also about different topics.”

“The Destined Child” is available for purchase on Amazon and will be available for purchase at the Maverick Campus Bookstore. 

Write to Anahi Zuniga at anahi.zuniga@mnsu.edu

Header Photo: Minnesota State senior Darlington Sehgbean celebrated the book launch of his autobiography, “The Destined Child,” Wednesday. The book takes place in post-war Liberia and has been in the works for the past two years. (Alexis Darkow/The Reporter)

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