Joanne Eskreis

MA English & Creative Writing, Class of 2015

"I know I will be successful in the future because of what I have learned and gained here at SNHU."

When I was 16 years old, my mom and stepfather took me to a therapist, who told them I would never make it past the 10th grade, and school wasn't for me; she said I would always fail. She convinced them to take me out of school and send me to trade school. I never allowed that desire, to get my high school diploma and to continue my education, to die. I always believed, one day, I would obtain the opportunity and fulfill the passion of my heart. I always wanted to be a writer and wrote poetry and stories all my life. When I wanted to seek writing, they told me it was a hobby and I should go the computer route or be an administrative assistant, which I did.

Years passed, and the light always stayed lit inside of me, and, finally, one day it ignited in my heart, so I started taking classes in writing. I took journalism, poetry, screenwriting, novel writing, and loved all of it. I decided about 10 years ago that I wanted to have my degree; I was accepted into a university for my undergrad and graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies and a minor in public relations. While working full-time, I took between four to six classes each semester and made the Dean's List in almost every one of them. This was the beginning for me to know that my dreams are meant to be lived. I always wanted to be in a sorority, so I rushed and was accepted into the Alpha Gamma Delta alumni.

Once I graduated, I felt that passion to learn and grow educationally still burning inside of my heart — it wasn’t over for me yet. I decided to apply to SNHU for my master’s in English - creative writing. It was the greatest joy when they told me I was accepted. This school has not only given me the opportunity to seek a higher level of education, but to grow in the field that has been my lifetime of yearning. My passion in writing and learning has lived to the highest level of greatness because of the education I'm getting here and the many opportunities I have experienced in my journey. The support, encouragement, and knowledge shared by the great faculty, advisors, and management is rewarding in itself, and it has been my stronghold to never give up and to see the possibilities as well as the capabilities in myself. I really had no idea where I was heading when I came here, but the path started unfolding in front of me.

I submitted my poem to The Penmen Review and was ecstatic when it was accepted and published. So, I submitted my short story, and it was published as well as another poem I wrote. The rewards continue from being a writing student here to when they chose my poem to be published in their first anthology. It is one thing to go to a university where you are getting a great education, but when you get that education and all the opportunities SNHU offers, it makes it so greatly rewarding and a lifetime treasure. That is what this school has meant to me.

I have had the complete educational experience here with great professors and learning so much about the area I am most passionate about, so that I can live my dream. They take it further to give you a chance to be an author, a writer, and make you feel like you are valued and talented. I love my experience here. And, at almost 60 years old, who would have thought years ago I would ever be going for my master's in creative writing, let alone being published and making all As. I have learned so much in the "virtual classroom," but this experience is more traditional to me than any of my “in-class” experiences because of all the opportunities and achievements I was able to experience here at SNHU.

I want to teach online classes, which one of my professors helped me to see this as a real possibility; and to write, which SNHU allowed me the opportunity to experience that firsthand. In planning my retirement in five years, I am also planning a new beginning in my life to be finally live the way it was meant to be lived — my dream and my choice. I feel stronger in my journey into the future because of SNHU, the advisors, professors, administrators and all the students I have shared my journey with, especially those who have become lifelong friends. I was afraid because of my age, but they were supportive in helping me find my confidence and I realized it did not matter. You can do anything at any time of your life, and it is great to find the best support system with people to encourage, guide, direct and teach you. You are never too old to learn or follow your heart; that is what I have learned in my journey here.

Thank you, to all of you, and I am so excited and grateful for my journey and experience here. I may even go further to get my MFA or Ph.D. At least I know at the end of my life journey that I lived it to the fullest, and it is mostly because of being here that gave me the confidence to believe in myself. I know I will be successful in the future because of what I have learned and gained here at SNHU, and I am so proud of my journey and myself. At one point, I thought I was on a journey to the end, but now I see I am on a journey to the beginning, my new beginning.