online educationDo you feel like you have too many obstacles standing in the way of your education? Your degree? At Grantham University, students have been able to take advantage of the flexibility and affordability online education provides to move around those, at-times defeating, obstacles. One of those students is Erica Acree.

Erica Acree has dealt with the limitations of lupus for many years. And on top of that, she was involved in a car wreck that resulted in short-term memory loss. Her doctors told her she would struggle to learn new things, and she tried and failed when it came to school. However, when she had the opportunity to start Grantham courses online, she took it and ran. Now, she has an associate degree in business management under her belt, and is on the path to a bachelor’s degree.

Here’s what she had to say:
Grantham University: How did you learn about Grantham?
Erica Acree: My uncle's home health aide told me about Grantham.

GU: What were you feeling prior to starting the program and why?
EA: Nervous, excited, anxious and overwhelmed all at once. My life experiences taught me to never really start anything because I wouldn't complete it, not because of me quitting, but because I have lupus. I tried college several times, but I would always get sick and have to quit. When my lupus went into remission, I tried again, only to have another setback. I was involved in a car accident that left me with a traumatic brain injury, a broken C7 in my neck and in a coma. I was in school for accounting and, at that time, I had a 3.33 GPA. I returned a year later, and it dropped to a 1.9. My memory suffered the most.

To this day, I still suffer from memory loss, mostly short term. However, I'm never the one to settle. I found a way to bypass my short-term memory because I want more for myself. I knew when I started school at Grantham, I was going to give it my all, but I didn't expect to finish. And not only did I finish my associate degree in business management, I did it with a 3.56. I graduated Cum Laude!

GU: Once you started the program, how did you feel and what made you feel that way?
EA: After starting, I felt like I could breathe. Some [courses] were a bit challenging, but I knew it was a possibility to finish them because I wasn't stressing at all.

GU: What do you like best about Grantham University? About your degree program?
EA: I'm a math lover, but I can't do it like I used to before the accident. I like that math is still covered in the program, but it also teaches you skills to advance in your career and, one day, become a boss.

GU: Describe the support you have received from the faculty and staff at Grantham University. Is there any specific person or department who has particularly helped you?
EA: I actually have two instructors that encouraged me when I thought that, because I'm disabled, my lack of work experience would reflect in their classes or in my grades. I am enrolled in courses with both faculty members now: Susan Walker and Dr. Angela Au. I've actually had Dr. Au once or twice before throughout my AA and BS journeys so far.

GU: How do you stay motivated?
EA: I just think of where I used to be and where I am now. It could have been worse. I could have not recovered so well from my illness and the accident; things could have been the other way around. But I can still use my brain, walk and talk, so why not try? I will be somebody.

GU: How do you describe your life now?
EA: My life is fairly easy, unless I get sick. Just because I'm in remission, doesn't mean I don't get sick. I don't get sick for years like I was in the beginning. It’s often other things that my lupus makes me susceptible to getting, but lupus remains inactive.

GU: What is your biggest accomplishment and why?
EA: Never giving up. I did it. I finished school when even the doctors said I wouldn't remember anything new. Also, being a fighter and never settling.

GU: What are your goals after you complete your degree?
EA: Right now, I'm disabled [and] have been since the age of 13. One day, I just want to work. Period. That's my reason for returning to school. I want to buy a house one day. And I have life goals that can't be accomplished on Disability.

GU: Do you have any advice for someone who is thinking about going back to school?
EA: You have to really want it. If you want it, you will get it. Go for it! This has been one of the best choices of my life.

GU: What are you most passionate about? What drives you in life?
EA: I'm most passionate about a cure for lupus.

GU: What do you think is the most interesting thing about you?
EA: My life's story, how I never gave up, never will give up. Really just my life itself is interesting for people to hear all I've been through.

GU: If someone were to tell your story, what would be the number one thing you’d want the audience to know about you?
EA: I'm a fighter, a survivor!

GU: Do you have a tip that could help other students like you?
EA: For those with memory problems, write things down. I tend to remember what I write. Sometimes, it takes me writing them down a few times, but it is a solution for my memory issue.

Overcome Obstacles with Grantham University’s Online Education
At Grantham, you can expect the supportive staff and encouraging faculty members to root for you every step of your academic journey. Regardless of what obstacles stand in your way, know that students like Erica Acree have found success through online education, and you can too!

Are you ready to get started? Contact us today!

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