Leah Sullivan BA ('20)

Leah Sullivan, BA Student (’20)

Leah Sullivan is originally from New York City, and today she lives in the picturesque San Gabriel Mountains area of Southern California with her husband. In her late 70s, Leah is fulfilling a life-long goal to complete her bachelor’s degree. She is earning her BA in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Creative Writing & Literature.

“I love that there is a consistent movement toward self-understanding and a deepened connection to real values that emerges from the educational process at Antioch.”

Q&A with Leah:

What motivates you to pursue your degree?

I never had the opportunity to complete my undergraduate work and I am in my late seventies now. I love learning; I love communicating; I love writing. I chose Antioch because it offers a substantial curriculum, exposure to diverse and enriching exchanges, and is deeply committed to humanity and society.

Who has encouraged and supported you?

Yes. My husband and my therapist encouraged me to address and honor my long held desire for a degree and to develop innate talent.

What is your academic focus at AU Online?

I search for a deepened connection with life, society and language, and look for signposts and intersections among subjects of study, and in the flow of course work interactions.

What do you enjoy about AU Online?

I love the high standards and guidance I feel working with Lisa Prosek. Working with her in the American Literature course opened my eyes to a thrilling new way of entering literature – close readings. My last class, with Megan Bachman, “Ecology, Technology and Society” — a course I thought might kill me emotionally given today’s ignorance and drive to destroy nature, the meaning of language and truth–brought me to my deepest insights. I built upon other classes to arrive here. I love that there is a consistent movement toward self-understanding and a deepened connection to real values that emerges from the educational process at Antioch. Dr. Joseph Cronin is a guiding and inspiring presence.

What kinds of challenges are you overcoming in pursuing your degree?

I found it immensely challenging to perform in an online setting for the first time, in a 7-week framework with high scholastic demands, especially when I first started taking classes. I suffer performance fears at the start of each new course. It’s a blend of excitement and fear, actually. I’ve learned to lean into it. Since I am older, and my health is compromised, I take my classes one at a time, and I only work for half a year, or 3 classes per year. My progress toward a degree is slow but very gratifying. I have learned to live in the process!

What are your plans for the future after Antioch University?

I envision living in right relationship with life, writing meaningfully, uncovering and drawing out the beauty and significance of our struggles and encounters. I would like to publish a book of my poems.

Words of advice for future students?

Everything is done one step at a time, one day at a time. Start. Then continue. It is one of the best, if not the best, investments you can make, an investment in yourself, your expanded and deepened understanding of life and your agency in it.

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