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Oregon State Everywhere: Grateful after a 20-year battle

After a stroke derailed her life, religious studies student finds the connection she’d been longing for

Headshot of Monique Lanier, an Oregon State University Ecampus religious studies student

A brain hemorrhage derailed Monique Lanier’s plans to attend nursing school. Now she’s back in the academic world with OSU Ecampus and finding the support she needs to succeed after two decades away.

By Monique Lanier
OSU Ecampus religious studies student
Dec. 13, 2019

I was 32 years old when I had a stroke.

I was lying in bed, half awake, half asleep, and it happened.

Big pop!

I felt it. I heard it. And there was huge flash of light. No pain, so I just laid there and wondered if I dreamt it.

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I even remarked out loud, “OK, where’s the revelation, guys?” I mean, with the flash of light I expected some sort of visitation and a nice little nugget of wisdom.

No visitation. No wisdom.

I soon found out I have a little, non-cancerous mass in my brain that often oozes blood and rarely hemorrhages. That morning it hemorrhaged.

At the time of the stroke, I was enrolled in the local community college, just about to graduate and start nursing school. I was working incredibly hard. I was a single mother to a medically fragile child. I had every intention of providing for us and getting my graduate degree. I even considered becoming a doctor.

“I had been isolated and at the mercy of a physical condition I couldn’t master. Online education has been a connection to an intellectual world that was unavailable to me and a world I deeply wanted to be a part of.”

As I started to recover, I found out none of my plans were possible. Among other things, I had lost the ability to comprehend written words.

It has been almost 20 years since then. I have tried a couple times to return to school but couldn’t. It was devastating. I’ve tried many jobs. I keep trying. I have a magnet on my fridge that says ”Never, never, never give up!” and while I forget plenty of things, I remember this.

I currently live with chronic migraines, and that is why I chose to learn online with Oregon State University Ecampus. It isn’t possible for me to attend a physical campus with a set schedule, but I can do my school work around my disability with online classes.

I am connected with OSU’s Disability Access Services, and they facilitate extra accommodations if and when I need them. It’s the perfect solution.

When I decided to return to school, I researched which university had the best reviews, and OSU was in the top 3 in the nation for online education. Plus, they had a religious studies bachelor’s degree. The study of religion is beyond fascinating to me. I find the combination of history, philosophy and mythic tradition an endless source of inspiration and surprise.

“I’ve been fully supported in this new platform – I had no idea what online classes were going to be like – and it’s been a decision that’s brought my self-esteem and confidence back.”

I’ve been fully supported in this new platform – I had no idea what online classes were going to be like – and it’s been a decision that’s brought my self-esteem and confidence back.

I had been isolated and at the mercy of a physical condition I couldn’t master. Online education has been a connection to an intellectual world that was unavailable to me and a world I deeply wanted to be a part of.

It took 20 years to get here, and I don’t mind a bit. I’m just grateful for the chance and the people here at OSU who are making it possible.

There are many roadblocks to one’s aspirations. Mine was, and often is, physical. If my story can encourage someone who feels it is too late for them, I hope they now see their future much differently.


The Oregon State Ecampus staff thanks Monique for submitting her unique, inspiring story to share with others through the Oregon State Everywhere campaign.

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