Online Student Fulfills Long Deferred Dream by Completing her Education

Online Student Fulfills Long Deferred Dream by Completing her Education

Donteia Rhodes in her Own Words

My parents always wanted me to have the opportunity to attend college. I applied to school at the age of 18 and became one of the first African-American females to pursue a civil engineering degree. Unfortunately, before finishing up my program, I had to drop out of school to have my first son. I continued my education with bookkeeping courses and had my second son in 1995.

Years passed but I never gave up hope that I would complete my dream of getting an education. I cared for my family and raised my boys, instilling in them the same passion for education that I had. In 2015, after my boys finished high school and college, that is when I heard God tell me that it was time. I did not believe it at first, but after watching TV and seeing ECPI pop up three times in a row, I knew that was my sign! I did not waste any time and called the ECPI Online campus. I fell in love with ECPI during the very first phone call. The enrollment process was easy, and I could not believe that I was finally going back to school! Within days, I was enrolled in the Business Administration program with a concentration in Accounting.

I was on cloud nine and everything seemed to have fallen in to place when the unthinkable happened. On August 4, 2017, I underwent a minor surgical procedure where I was supposed to go in and come right back out. It did not go as the doctors had predicted. I suffered multiple strokes followed by a shower of blood clots. They rushed me to do an MRI and CAT scan, and informed me that I was not going home. I did not believe it at first, and was in denial, especially when they told me I had to drop out of school. I had no motor skills, and I was devastated.

Once I could talk, I called my Student Success Coordinator, Phillip White. He empathized with me, and held my hand through the process of a temporary un-enrollment. I cried because I just knew this was it. I had come too far, but I was reminded of what God promised me, and that was I would graduate, and all I had to do was trust Him.

It took a lot of hard work to get through PT, OT, and speech therapy so I could get back on track. I did just that and on December 11, 2017, I was back in school. The entire staff at ECPI University was very supportive, and I was just thrilled about coming back.

I am now a graduate with a 3.95 GPA. What I had to realize was that my failures were not just failures, they were stepping stones to get to my destination, and my determination to get up and begin again!