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A barista brewing for knowledge

There may be many college student baristas in the world, but few have a story like Hayden Bubnash. Bubnash is one of the baristas at Bobby B’s on PLNU campus. What drives him to make coffee every day for the students of PLNU is his desire to move forward from a past of drug addiction to a collegial future at PLNU.

Bubnash grew up in a Christian home, but living with his father as a “high-functioning alcoholic” and watching his brother become addicted to heroin, Bubnash says that his feelings toward Christianity were very negative.

The mention of the word “God,” could bring Bubnash to a what he would call a, “physical, raging, anger.”

Bubnash’s anger toward God started during high school where he spent most of his sophomore year of high school and the year after he graduated Scripps Ranch High School in 2013, getting lost within his depression, suicidal thoughts, and a drug addiction. What started out as only smoking weed, an activity influenced by his older brother, turned into an unhealthy lifestyle that Bubnash struggled to get out of.

“People say that marijuana really isn’t a gateway drug, but it completely is,” Bubnash said.

As his experience with drugs progressed, Bubnash’s mother decided to do something. Bubnash said it was his mother who packed his bags for him and sent him to a New Life Recovery Center in Torrance, CA on May 25, 2014. Bubnash said after four months, he was no longer addicted to drugs and was eager to be away from the harder drugs, such as crystal meth, in the recovery center that were smuggled in by other addicts.

Though Bubnash says that he should have stayed, he left the recovery center. He was on his own for approximately two days in Torrance. Dreading the thought of begging for money for a payphone, Bubnash was careful in his use of his pocket change to call both of his divorced parents. At first, they were unwilling to help on account of Bubnash leaving the recovery center so soon, but eventually Bubnash convinced them to help.

Bubnash is now two and a half years sober and drug-free. At age 21, he is just beginning his first semester at Miramar Community College, studying psychology. But if you stop by Bobby B’s early enough in the day, you’ll find Bubnash making coffee for the students of PLNU. Bubnash says that he got the job through a friend of his, Bryce Zuniga, a PLNU Simply-to-Go Supervisor. This is his second semester working as a barista at PLNU, as he tries to save up enough money to eventually transfer to PLNU after graduating Miramar Community College.

Though he may not be enrolled at PLNU until he’s about 24 years old, Bubnash remains positive.

“I have no doubt in my capability to be accepted into PLNU, it just may take a little bit more time than it did for other people. I try not to compare myself, I’ll get there when God opens that door,” said Bubnash via text message.

Bubnash said that he is drawn to PLNU because of the environment, the general energy, the optimism, and the driven students. His dream is to eventually get his doctorate and work in a hospital or a sober living network. He also desires to one day be a practicing psychiatrist, though he says he does not want to limit himself to one career, as there are so many options in the world of psychiatry.

Bubnash’s days of depression and struggles with suicide are behind him. His relationship with his parents has also changed drastically. Bubnash says originally, his mom had given him the ultimatum of going to rehab or being homeless, and that his father had kicked him out of his house. Currently, his relationship with his father is beginning to heal and his mother and him are “best friends now.”

“You just have to trust that He [God] has you in the palm of His hand and that you’re going through something for a reason,” Bubnash said.


About the author

Savanah Duffy

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