Saint Paul, MN

Retired nurse graduates at 84: "Keep learning, don't just sit in front of the TV"

Amy Christie

Just one week after turning 84, Bet Sandison got her bachelor's degree. Her graduation had been in the works for over 60 years, but once she made up her mind to go through with it, nothing could stop the grandmother from learning to her heart's content.

And her efforts certainly paid off. She felt she accomplished a major life goal and also wants to encourage everyone else to never give up on learning and adding new skills, no matter how old they are.

What are the details?

Sandison got her bachelor's degree from the College of Continuing and Professional Studies (CCAPS), based in St. Paul, Minnesota. She specialized in Multidisciplinary Studies.

This accomplishment comes more than six decades after the retired nurse first started college.

"Such pure joy, pure satisfaction that I had attained my goal of walking across Northrop," she shared with Sunnyskyz, remembering the wonderful moment when she finished her studies.

Sandison first went to college at the University of Minnesota 67 years ago. However, she had to put her studies on hold after she got married and followed her husband's career moves to different cities. She never stopped dreaming that she would graduate one day, though.

As time passed, she put that wish to the back of her mind until it was the right time to bring it to light again.

Decades after she stopped studying, Sandison rekindled her learning aspirations after reconnecting with her friends.

"I was going out to lunch with friends, and we got to talking about bucket lists and all the things we wanted to do. I said I had always wanted to graduate from the U," she said.

This time around, the grandmother was determined to see it through. She was willing to test herself and see what would happen once she undertook the studying challenge. So, she went ahead and enrolled in the classes at the university. Her second time around was very different from her first attempt.

The campus looked a lot bigger than she remembered it, and she also had to adapt to using technology, which was one of the biggest hurdles she needed to overcome.

Switching to virtual studies while the restrictions were in place nearly made her miss out on her goal since she had to drop out of both subjects she had decided to take online.

However, she was determined not to let her dream slip away a second time, and she finally got her degree.

"You need to do exactly what you want to do and keep to your goals. Don't let anybody stop you," Sandison said, beaming on her graduation day.

The retired nurse also wants to send out a positive message to everyone who wants to study but thinks they're too old to do it.

Sandison encourages people of all ages to go out and meet the challenge, always to try and learn new things. Spending a day in front of the TV is not her idea of continuous improvement, and she's convinced everyone would benefit from going to classes, regardless of their age.

"My thing is, I want to encourage older people to go to classes. Keep learning, don't just sit in front of the TV," the grandmother concluded on a cheerful note.


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Amy Christie is a passionate writer and journalist, always striving to bring out the positive and create meaningful connections.

Dallas, TX

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