77-year-old UK Woman to Complete University Education 60 Years After Leaving School

A woman beat the odds and proved the saying ‘It’s better late than never’ right. Hailing from Wolverhampton city in England, the woman had to leave school due to familial reasons. Now, 60 years later, she embarked on a journey to realise her life-long dream. At a very young age, Janet MacDougall was asked by her parents to forget education and focus on marriage and family life. She wanted to take up learning but she was told a creative degree would not get her a job. She is 77-year-old now and is nearing the completion of her degree in arts. So what has her journey been like and what inspired her to pursue university education in her 70s? Janet lost her youngest daughter to throat cancer seven years ago. Following the death of her 45-year-old daughter, who was always the creative, arty and musical one, Janet picked up painting as an outlet of her grief. She felt inspired to achieve her childhood dreams and enrolled on a course.

Speaking about the course, Janet told Express & Star, “I love the tutors at the university and creating the work. It’s great for people who might be lonely or are looking to do something for themselves after many years of looking after other people.”

After a long struggle, she has fulfilled her desire to study. She is nearing the completion of her degree and is now in her final year at the University of Wolverhampton. She also successfully secured a student loan to pay for the textiles and surface pattern course. Later, she would tell the BBC, “Although I’m not great with computers, I really love the creative side.”

Before focusing on her family, Janet worked as a window dresser and a counter assistant at a pharmacy.

Sharon Watts, course leader at the university, told Express & Star, “The university is a very strong ambassador for lifelong learning and I think that Jan’s story epitomises this in every way.” She added Janet’s story is exceptional because she has had a difficult journey. She feels she really demonstrated that it’s never too late to learn.

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