‘Never give up, just pursue’: 72-year-old works towards college degree at Robescon Community College

Anniatha McMillan
Anniatha McMillan(Robeson Community College)
Published: Apr. 13, 2023 at 1:32 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 13, 2023 at 3:28 PM EDT
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ROBESON COUNTY, N.C. (WMBF) - Anniatha McMillan doesn’t let anything get her down.

Throughout the Lumberton woman’s life, she has overcome adversity but says the key to success is living a life well lived, no matter what obstacles may lay before you.

“Never give up, just pursue,” Anniatha McMillan said in an interview with Robeson Community College. “They will look at you like you lost your mind.”

McMillan’s husband died in a terrible horrific accident in 2005 that almost claimed her life as well.

“There was an explosion, and I had to be pulled out of the car,” McMillan said. “They cut the top off, somehow, I made it out alive.”

It was one of the scariest, saddest experiences of her life, but she said her faith in God got her through, and she along with her sister, started what she called a Teaching and Deliverance Ministry, where people could attend church on the phone and hear God’s word, according to an interview with RCC.

“People criticized it,” McMillan said. “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.”

That’s how she met a farmer from Robeson County, “a nice deacon man” as she says, whom she would eventually marry.

“The Bible says a good man findeth a good wife,” McMillan said. “But I asked him to marry me.”

The couple built a new house on the farmland her husband already owned in Lumberton, where she says she found more peace than she ever had before.

“I stay busy working in my flower garden,” said McMillan. “I used to go to the doctor to complain about my knees, joints, high blood pressure and I’d go home, sit down, and got bored, I thought, I got to do something, I’m just wasting away.”

That’s when she decided to finish the degree she started years earlier.

“I thought, maybe I’m not too old, I could still get my degree and so I made up my mind to go back to school,” she said.

Anniatha McMillan at Robeson Community College
Anniatha McMillan at Robeson Community College(Robeson Community College)

McMillan told RCC that her husband has five or six credentials from the college, including degrees and certificates, and he recommended she start there.

“You may never be encouraged to go, but I needed that push,” McMillan said.

McMillan says she’s enjoyed her classes so far and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

“I’m never going to stop,” she told RCC. “Writing essays has helped me, it helps broaden my mind. It makes you more conscious of what you say, and if you are saying it correctly, which is important.”

For others thinking about going back to school, Anniatha has a message.

“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.”