72-year-old enrolls in college, encourages all to ‘never give up, just pursue’

FACE2FACE AFRICA May 10, 2023
The 72-year-old began her college education by taking developmental classes in English to help her get better at writing. Photo credit: Robeson Community College.

72-year-old North Carolina resident, Anniatha McMillan, enrolled at Robeson Community College (RCC) to pursue her lifelong dream of earning a college degree.

“Never give up, just pursue. They will look at you like you lost your mind,” she said.

Anniatha lost her husband in 2005 to a bad car accident which almost took her life as well. She recalled that “There was an explosion, and I had to be pulled out of the car. They cut the top off, somehow, I made it out alive.” Though it was one of the scariest and saddest experiences of her life, she holds that her faith in God is the reason she was able to get through the sad situation.

She opened a Teaching and deliverance Ministry with her sister and spoke of the criticisms she received for it. “People criticized it, but when COVID broke out, God began to say ‘I’m changing things, come out of the building,’ and every Sunday, we were faithful to the Lord.”

Through this, Anniatha met “a nice deacon man,” a farmer from Robeson whom she eventually married. With a new house on her husband’s farmland, she moved to Lumberton, where she says she found more peace than ever before.

Anniatha busied herself with flower gardening while she battled with issues like knee pain, joint pain, and high blood pressure, however, she soon began to feel bored at home and thought to herself “I got to do something, I’m just wasting away.” This drove her decision to return to school to complete the degree she had started so many years ago.

She reminisced on how she used to juggle work and school in the past and thought to herself, “Maybe I’m not too old, I could still get my degree.” She started at Robeson Community College on her husband’s recommendation, and admits she needed that push.

RCC instructor, Angela Lamb, shared her opinion about Anniatha, “Age is just a number,” she said, “Anniatha is such a role model to the other students. It is important to her to have completion. She’s a good writer and a good thinker… we are excited to see her move on to the next class, which will be English 111.”

The 72-year-old began her college education by taking developmental classes in English to help her get better at writing. In an essay she wrote called Happiness, Anniatha expressed that “finding happiness is a journey, and some people may need help continuing on their journey,” and added that happiness “is the feeling that individuals get when they know that life is good…when people are successful and safe, they feel happiness.”

Anniatha expressed that she enjoys her classes so far and does not plan on quitting. She stated that “If I’ve made everyone happy, my living will not be in vain. I always loved English in high school, and I’m still in love with it.”

She admonishes anyone who wants to go back to school to “try it, just take one class at a time like I’m doing. Just take your time, there’s no hurry. Whatever makes you happy, do it. Continue on your journey, go back to school, sit on the porch, work in your flower garden, whatever makes you happy – that’s what you need to do.”

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: May 10, 2023

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