It was raining hard on the morning of June 9, 2014. Jemeika Jones had just dropped off her infant son and was excited for the first day on her new job. About 10 miles from home, Jemeika came around a bend in the road and saw a man crossing the street in front of her. She swerved to miss him.
Three days later, she awoke in the hospital and her family pieced together the rest of the story for her. After Jemeika swerved to miss a man on the street, she hit a tree and the impact catapulted her through the sunroof. The ambulance found her 75 feet away, with a ruptured artery in her right arm, losing an incredible amount of blood.
Jemeika was airlifted to a Tupelo Hospital, where the doctors were forced to amputate her arm. In addition to this loss, she also was left with a broken collarbone and a punctured lung. The doctors told her it was a miracle she survived.
Jemeika spent over a month in the hospital before she was released to continue her physical therapy at home. She was right-handed, so she had to learn how to do a lot of things with her left hand, especially writing.
Completing her degree had always remained in the back of her mind. So, in 2018 she did some research and called Social Security to ask if she could keep her disability while in school. The answer was yes.
“What motivated me most to go back and finish my degree,” explains Jemeika, “was when my daughter looked at me and said, ‘Mama, I’ll be your right hand.’”
“I found a C2C ad online,” she explains, “and clicked on it out of curiosity. The next thing I knew, I was talking to Emily Tucker at Itawamba Community College. She was amazing. She went at my speed, and told me about the C2C program, the C2C Grant, and asked me what I wanted to study. She was there every step of the way through this process.”
After combing through Jemeika’s previous transcripts, Emily found that Jemeika only needed about two semesters to graduate. But she was still going to have to pass the basic history class she had also failed.
“I failed that history class the first time I took it online,” she adds. So, this time, I asked if I could take it in person. And Emily worked it out so that I could. And I aced it.”
The walk of her life
“At first, I didn’t want to walk across the stage for graduation,” Jones continues. “But then Emily kept on me – she asked me – ‘Don’t you think your kids want to see you walk across that stage?’ And I did. I can’t expect my kids to do something that I haven’t done. So, I got over my fears and walked across that stage.”
Since earning her degree through the C2C program, Jemeika Jones has been accepted to Ole Miss – Tupelo where she is working toward her bachelor’s degree in social work. Her plans then include a master’s degree and a doctorate. She wants to work with teens and children who have been neglected and abused.
Jemeika is convinced that her accident happened to show her that there’s a better life for her than she ever imagined.
“My mom always says, ’Meika – God left you here to tell your story… so tell it,” she says with a smile. “And I tell my story all the time. And I tell people not to put going back to school on hold. No obstacles are too big – I’m living proof. Earning your degree is the only way to get the life you want.”
Get the life YOU want
If you earned credits from a Mississippi community college or university in the past but never completed your degree, contact Complete 2 Compete. This program helps Mississippi adults identify the clearest pathway to completing their degree. You’ll get the support of a C2C coach – who will help guide you through the process of earning your degree. And as Jemeika has shown us, there’s no barrier too big to overcome.