When alumna Erin Eskew first started attending Patrick Henry College, she had considered pursuing a life of politics through her studies at school and her future career. Yet while attending a government-heavy school just outside the nation’s capital, she found her passion in something a little different: telling stories.
Eskew graduated from PHC in 2011 with a major in political journalism. “My political aspirations before going to PHC morphed into a desire to change the world and influence our culture through written stories,” she says. Eskew has persistently pursued opportunities to exercise the skills she learned during her time at PHC. After graduating, Eskew worked as newspaper reporter for two years. After moving overseas for her husband’s work, she wrote for Kaiserslautern American, a publication for American military stationed overseas. She also kept up a blog chronicling her journey as an army wife.
Writing for Kaiserslautern American was an enjoyable experience for Eskew. Kaiserslautern is the largest military community outside of the states, even attracting civilians as far away as Turkey, Italy, and France. "Working as a reporter helped me with my writing and eventually my own business," Eskew says. "I learned that I’m not just telling my own story; I am listening to others and to their needs, sharing their story and not my agenda." Erin particularly enjoyed writing articles showcasing the different Christmas traditions of cultures around the globe.
As a mother of three energetic children, Eskew’s career has shifted for the time being. She is currently a homemaker, a stay at home mother for three small boys, and an independent distributor for SeneGence. This company sells long-wear skincare and cosmetics that promote skin health and natural beauty. She says that her time at PHC, from editing the Herald to spending quality time with friends, prepared her to think critically, work as a reporter, and connect with people.
Eskew reflects on her time at PHC fondly. She loved the classes, the dances, and the traditions. Six years ago, students still enjoyed current crowd favorites like the D4 block party, the Liberty Ball and Sadie Hawkins dances, bobtisms, and even back page quotes on the Herald. These traditions, along with the vibrant social life and strong community at PHC, contributed to many life-long friendships. Eskew also enjoyed her small class sizes and the depth of learning. “…I felt like I could ask questions as I had them and really dig into the materials we were studying,” she says.
The professors at PHC added tremendously to Eskew’s academic experience. She specifically mentions Dr. Les Sillars and Dr. Michael Kucks as two of her favorites. Her favorite class was Narrative Non-Fiction, a journalism upper-level taught by Dr. Sillars, because she got to make a real story come alive. “[Dr Sillars] transferred his passion for truth and integrity in journalism to his students and cared about our every day lives and our goals for the future…” Eskew also notes that although math isn’t her easiest subject, she loved taking physics with Dr. Kucks because “his patience and determination carried me through that class."
Asked to give advice to current Patrick Henry College students, Eskew wisely quips, “Don't become bitter and jaded if things aren't going exactly as you planned, keep your eye on the bright side and learn from any and all set backs. Invest in the lives of the people around you and those relationships will be worth more than your degree down the road.” Even when papers and looming finals make school seem impossibly difficult, Erin Eskew reminds us to keep pushing, because every moment is worth it.