The couple prioritized raising their children, and the pandemic provided them with the opportunity to return to school.
A Concord couple took advantage of the epidemic to try something they’d been meaning to do for years. They did it jointly, too.
Rhonda and Eric Hodges, both in their 50s, put off finishing college in order to raise their children. They graduated ten days ago, and they did so together. They’re now navigating a new course.
The pair had spent their adult lives putting everyone else first until COVID-19 struck, leaving them with some unexpected free time and the prospect of new jobs for both of them.
“We can sit there and look at each other and say we did this. It’s a major accomplishment,” Eric Hodges said.
Eric Hodges is 50 years old. Rhonda, his 51-year-old wife, and had three children after 26 years of marriage. During the epidemic, the couple decided to use the extra time to finish the college degrees they’d put on hold for their family, and they recently received their diplomas from UNC Greensboro.
“We both had a long road to get here – we were in and out of school over the years as time permitted but never had this kind of time to put forth the effort needed to graduate,” Rhonda Hodges said.
“It was liberating to me to finally say ok it’s my time, it’s our time. We put blood sweat and tears into our children we made sure they were well-rounded and finally came around for us and it felt good to accomplish something for yourself,” Eric Hodges added.
It wasn’t always easy for them, but having each other helped.
“We held each other accountable,” Eric explained.
“It was a challenge,” Rhonda said. “All of our friends and family were behind us but it wasn’t always easy.”
Eric works as a school bus driver, and Rhonda works in finance, assisting individuals with retirement planning, but they both have higher ambitions now. Rhonda wants to be a museum curator, while Eric wants to be a social worker.
“There are many doors that open, I think it really does give us a competitive edge,” Rhonda said.