Reaching the milestone of a college graduation is a significant achievement, and sometimes, it’s a luxury that not everyone can access. There are individuals who harbor dreams of getting a college degree, but for various reasons, they might not be able to realize this aspiration.
However, there are some individuals who never let go of their ambitions, regardless of how much time has passed. A prime example is Betty Sandison, who has long harbored the dream of a college education. Celebrating her 84th birthday recently, she received the best present she could ask for – she achieved her long-held goal and became a college graduate!
Sandison’s journey to a college degree is a pioneering achievement for her family, having grown up on a farm without the benefits of electricity. Her college journey began in 1955 at the University of Minnesota, where she completed a certification program to become a licensed practical nurse.
However, financial constraints led her to switch paths, and she decided to pursue a teaching degree. But life had other plans for Sandison. In the middle of her degree, she had to pause her education to focus on her impending marriage and her desire to start a family.
As the years passed, Sandison managed to earn an associate’s degree in the 1980s, which allowed her to work as a registered nurse. She dedicated her career to this profession until retirement.
Yet, her dreams didn’t stop there. A conversation with a friend reminded her of the unfulfilled dream of getting a higher degree. She confessed it was something she’d always desired. When asked by her friend, “What’s stopping you?”, Sandison found herself without a response, rekindling her ambition once again.
After a six-decade hiatus, Sandison made the remarkable decision to return to college. In 2018, she reignited her pursuit for higher education, eager to finally achieve her degree.
Fast forward four years, at the age of 84, Sandison proudly strode across the stage to receive her bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies from the College of Continuing and Professional Studies. Overjoyed, Sandison expressed her pride and satisfaction in achieving her long-standing goal, describing it as a dream come true.
Reflecting on her journey, Sandison acknowledged the challenges she faced. She mentioned that the increased tuition fees and mastering new technologies were significant obstacles. However, she found immense support from her classmates, who were always there to assist her. She fondly recalled her friendships with them as a significant part of her college experience.
Sandison found immense joy in her interactions with her younger classmates, and looking at them, she felt reassured about the future of the world. Her experiences also inspired her to encourage others to chase their dreams, regardless of their age. She argued, “People say, ‘I could never do that,’ and I say, ‘Yes, you could if you want it bad enough.'”
Nearing the end of her journey, Sandison had just 25 credits remaining to complete her degree. When she finally achieved her long-awaited goal, her friends and family threw a party to celebrate this extraordinary milestone.
Betty Sandison’s inspiring journey is a testament that it’s never too late to accomplish our dreams, reminding us all that age is just a number when it comes to reaching our goals.