This article was contributed by Norma Smith, Northern Virginia Campus Arts & Sciences Program Director
When Joseph L. Erskine served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, he embraced the motto drilled into him: Follow the plan of the day. This same plan and mentality still motivates the Navy veteran today as he pursues his studies at ECPI University’s Northern Virginia campus.
Joseph is pursuing bachelor’s degrees in both Business Management with a concentration in IT Management, and Computer and Information Science. He earned his Associate degree in Computer and Information Science earlier this year and expects to complete his bachelor’s in 2016. When he is not working on school assignments, Joseph manages his business, Right-Hand Man Concierge, LLC. His clients include coaches, public speakers, and nonfiction authors.
Joseph was born a twin, but lost his brother as an infant. He grew up a special needs child in school until seventh grade. No stranger to adversity, he credits overcoming those early days to prayer; namely the strong spiritual guidance of his grandmother. When he joined JROTC in high school, he felt he had found a new home. The camaraderie was uplifting and appealing. He joined the Navy and served for 23 years, but in 2010 was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD].
Joseph was determined to rebuild his life. At the direction of physicians, he attended a salon professional services school, and through vocational rehabilitation and physical therapy, he began to improve. He also learned to manage his Type 2 diabetes with the help of a personal trainer and a healthy lifestyle.
While Joseph works daily to cope with PTSD, one would never know it. His laugh and vibrant personality is infectious.
“I’m a giver,” he says with a smile. Furthermore, it is the positive energy he loves most about ECPI University. “I feel the same camaraderie amongst our veterans as I did when I was serving. I love to be surrounded by people who love what they do.”
When asked how he juggles everything in his life, he offers this advice to fellow students: “It’s easy, just follow the plan of the day!”