Monday, December 11, 2006

This may be me one day!!

As I am preparing for my exam on Friday, December 15 and studying until my brain feels it is on overload, I begin to wonder why in the world I have taken up the return to attempting to get my degree. I love learning, although I am sure I could learn at a much cheaper rate by lots of reading and self study. The other point here is a degree helps me to get a better job at work.

I sometimes get discouraged that this will take forever! I only get funding for one course a year from the Career Development Fund. The university I work for does not offer staff a reduction in tutition fees. My workplace promotes higher education, but then does not offer it to its own staff. I suppose helping me by a fee reduction would mean I'd just be a graduate doing a clerk job!!

No matter how long it takes, and no matter if this is to obtain a better job or for my own pleasure and goals, today I came across this story. It hits home on the university front and that it will not matter if I don't get my degree until I am sixty or seventy or eighty for that matter. It proves that in a society where we put so much value on youth and so little on our seniors there still is brain power after 50 and value no matter what one's age.

Kansas woman, 95, prepares for final exams

HAYS, KS - Like most students at Fort Hays State University, Nola Ochs plans to spend some time reading and studying during this week's fall break. But she'll take time out on Wednesday to celebrate her 95th birthday.

Ochs is living at Wooster Hall on campus while pursuing her general studies degree at the university. She has about 15 hours to take next semester to get her degree.

If she does it, Ochs will be the Guinness Book of World Records' oldest college graduate.

But it will also be the culmination of a lifetime of learning. She started at Fort Hays in 1930, when it was known as Kansas State Teacher's College.

Then in the 1970s, in her 60s, she took classes part time at Dodge City Community College, and eventually St. Mary of the Plains in Dodge City. She took some virtual classes earlier at Fort Hays before deciding to attend classes this semester.

On Friday, the last day before fall break, her family and fellow classmates threw her an impromptu birthday party during her Biblical Studies class. Her son, Alan Ochs, flew in from Jetmore for the occasion. Her granddaughter, Alexandra Ochs, didn't have to travel as far — she's in the same class as her grandmother.

After the party, Alan Ochs took his mother home for Thanksgiving break.

"We're happy to get her back home for a while," Alan Ochs said. "We missed having her out there, especially through the fall harvest."

Though Nola is amused by her potential status as the world's oldest graduate, she said she's more excited about getting to walk at the graduation ceremony with her granddaughter.

Asked for some words of wisdom, Ochs simply said, "I give thanks to the Lord and try to live day by day. I try to do whatever is pleasing to Him. That's what I want to do.

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