Interview with Sloane Rhodes:
“I appreciated that Antioch’s Core Purposes ran throughout all the classes giving them a unifying purpose, and giving me an opportunity to grow in ways I didn’t (and couldn’t have) anticipated.”
At what point in your life did you decide you wanted to continue your education at Antioch, Santa Barbara?
I was a stay-at-home mom, but as soon as the youngest of my three children was able to attend pre-school, I immediately enrolled back in college. My goal was to complete the bachelor’s degree I had abandoned (for various reasons) so many years before. However, when I searched for a good college to attend, I found that the larger universities were not particularly interested in students like myself. I was in my late 30’s at the time, and was so excited when I found Antioch and discovered how welcoming they were to me as a returning student.
How did Antioch help you grow and become the strong person you are today?
I appreciated that Antioch’s Core Purposes ran throughout all the classes giving them a unifying purpose, and giving me an opportunity to grow in ways I didn’t (and couldn’t have) anticipated. I was challenged to open and broaden my perspective to include a world outside my own experience, and with Antioch’s emphasis on self-actualization I was able to connect to my own heart and inner wisdom. The confidence I gained while at Antioch, emboldened me to shift the direction of my life, both personally and professionally. I didn’t just receive an education in terms of academics and intellectual pursuit, but I was also challenged to open my mind AND my heart.
How did Antioch contribute to your hunger for knowledge and passion for life?
I have always been a seeker, and enjoy change and challenging myself. Antioch was the perfect place to continue to foster these qualities in myself. I appreciated that the instructors at Antioch had a host of different passions and perspectives, and were not locked into a purely academic path. Some of the instructors were very approachable and willing to engage in intellectual discourse or debate. This always served to excite my imagination and continued passion for learning and life.
In particular, I took an Academic Writing class with Doug Bradley who was extremely supportive of my creative writing. I believe he was the first instructor who really seemed to “see” me, and his encouragement was sort of mind-blowing at the time. It took me awhile to take in and believe what he was telling me. No one had ever told me I was talented like that before. He probably doesn’t remember, but for me, it was life changing.
After graduating from Antioch how have you continued your educational path?
One week after I finished classes at Antioch, I entered graduate school at Pacifica Graduate Institute. I am not sure I would have had the confidence to dive into graduate school without the unique support that Antioch provides its students. I felt prepared academically and intellectually, and also inspired and self-assured emotionally and psychologically for the rigors of graduate school and my doctoral studies. I completed Pacifica Graduate Institutes’ MA/PhD program in in depth psychology with an MA, and as soon as I complete my doctoral dissertation will earn my PhD.
In addition to the standard educational path, I am always reading, and learning, and absorbing new information. I have always been spiritual and extremely intuitive, and as I have gained confidence in myself, my clairvoyant abilities have strengthened. It used to be that I felt my logical left-brain was at war with my creative, intuitive right brain. However, I now apprehend that I have been blessed with the beautiful gift of being able to access and utilize both sides in harmony. So, I have been working to strengthen this gift of clairvoyance with private spiritual work, as well as attending the University of Metaphysical Sciences’ online program in order to earn my Doctorate of Divinity.
And in keeping with my logical, practical side, I am completing the Paralegal Certification program through the UCSB extension. This will provide me with the security of that profession, as well as giving me a strong foundation in law as I pursue volunteering as a child advocate through CASA. I am also learning Spanish, since it has always bothered me that I can’t communicate with a large segment of the population.
As you can see, I am still embodying some of Antioch’s Core Purposes such as, Critical and Creative Thinking, Holistic Personal Development, Intercultural Awareness, and Effective Communication (to name a few!).
What are some ways you have become part of the community in Santa Barbara?
Through their Praxis for Social Justice, Antioch instilled in me a desire to give back to the community. I have volunteered at the Wildlife Care Network, The Boys and Girls Club, Hospice of Santa Barbara, and am interviewing next week to volunteer at CASA as a child advocate through the court system.
Becoming educated truly is a privilege, and I personally feel that with that privilege comes certain joys and responsibilities. So for me, I enjoy using my skills and knowledge to help and support others in a variety of ways. In addition to my volunteer work, I started a blog several years ago as a way to share with others my experiences during a difficult time, so that they also might feel empowered and/or less alone during their own time of turmoil.
I also have a YouTube channel where I make free videos as a way to share information and provide encouragement and support on a variety of issues. Giving to others brings me great joy, and teaching and helping people realize their own potential, see their inner beauty, and trust their innate wisdom is a major passion and drive of mine.
I have also recently become a Level II Reiki practitioner, and am honored to be working with a team of volunteers called Light of Avalon. We provide Reiki healing to rescue and shelter animals, with one of the goals being that the animals have a better chance of becoming adopted.
What have you done since graduating from Antioch, and how did your Antioch education help you do this?
One of the benefits of Antioch was gaining confidence in my own abilities. After graduating with my both my BA from Antioch and MA from Pacifica, I needed to work from home so I could be there for my three children as I had sole custody. I put my professional and educational goals on hold and worked from home as a life coach. And with the help of my family, I was able to achieve my goal of being there to raise my children during a pivotal and difficult time. Now, two are in college with academic scholarships, and the other is a straight-A student at San Marcos.
With only one child at home and thriving, I am able to pursue my career goals more freely, and am truly enjoying every single second of it. I am being strongly and intuitively guided in ways that I was not open to before. Everything really does seem to happen for a reason, and I can’t imagine what my life would look like had I not been brave enough to apply to Antioch, been fortunate to have been accepted, and complete my BA. My world completely changed for the better as a result of my experiences and education at Antioch.
I am also currently creating a teaching proposal and sample syllabus to submit to Antioch so that I can teach and give back to the school that provided so much to me.
It is often very hard to explain to someone who has not attended Antioch why it is such a special place. In your own words, what makes Antioch different and stand out from the other educational systems?
It is difficult to explain to someone how unique Antioch is. I think I would first have to point out the general culture that exists at Antioch. Staff members and faculty (and by extension, students) all seem to have one goal in mind; and that is to graduate students who can think for themselves, and who have a deeper sense of who they are and what they bring to the world, as well as a more strongly developed understanding of how they, as individuals, can effect change in their lives, communities, and the world in general.
Having said all that, I would also say that the small class sizes, coupled with the fact that the students in general are older with some life experience, creates continually unique opportunities for learning and growth.
And with that said, I would add that Antioch is also just a fun, welcoming environment to learn in. You are challenged to be your best self in all areas of your development. I never felt pressured to this ideal, more that I personally wanted to be my best self because Antioch showed me that being “more and better” was part of me already. Antioch just helped to introduce that better person to me, and I would not trade that for anything.