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Woman graduates at 84, after being forced…
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Woman graduates at 84, after being forced to abandon her studies: "Don't let anyone stop you"

June 13, 2022 • By Mark Bennett
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You are never too old to finish your studies. An 84-year-old woman finally earned her degree after pursuing it for nearly seven decades.

After enrolling at the University of Minnesota in 1955 - and earning her nursing certificate after just one year - Betty Sandison dropped out when she got married. However, she lacked less than 30 credits to finish her degree. After 67 years, two daughters and a full nursing career behind her, she has finally received her coveted degree.


"I feel just pure joy, absolute satisfaction for having achieved my goal of crossing the threshold of the University of Minnesota with my degree," commented the woman. Betty Sandison's commitment paid off, finding time to complete her degree only after retiring in 2013. Although she had always wanted to go back to school, she was never able to fulfill her dream due to raising her daughters and her career as a nurse.

Then, one day in 2018, everything changed: "I was having lunch with friends and we were talking about to-do lists and things we still wanted to do. I said I always wanted to graduate from University," Betty said. "A friend of mine asked me: 'why don't you try finishing now?' I didn't have a valid reason to say no. "

Shortly after this lunch, the elderly woman decided to resume her studies, but the university had changed a lot since she had last sat in a lecture hall. "This is a completely different world to the one that I grew up in," she said. However, she did like her classmates: "The other students were very helpful and pleasant. They made me feel welcome."

"The computer issue - how to use it - almost destroyed me," she explained, adding that she even had to drop out of the courses she was taking when the classroom went virtual during the pandemic. Betty continued: " I had to drop out of both courses I tried to take online - I just could not do it. However, I started again in the fall of 2021." She persevered, finally reaching her coveted goal, and earning her degree. Fortunately for her, Betty will not have to look for work because she is already retired.

"I felt I was missing out on something without my degree. It was an important thing, very fundamental for me. I think I'll be back to take some more courses in the future," she said. The woman then wanted to send a motivational message to all those people who have not yet realized their dreams or who feel stuck while trying: "You have to do whatever you can to reach your goal. Don't let anyone stop you" .

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