Graduate After 45yrs Drop Out
Malaysian Indian graduates 45 years after dropping out
Fortyfive years after dropping out, 62-year-old Gurcharan Kaur has earned a first class honours degree – and the journey had been tough. She used to drive 113 km to the university and return home late at night. For Gurcharan Kaur, it meant 14-hour days over weekends for four years to earn the first class honours degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL).
She resumed higher studies 45 years after she dropped out to look after her parents. The Malaysian Indian used to wake up at 5 a.m., leave an hour later from her home in Kuala Pilah, the district town in the neighbouring Negeri Sembilan state and drive 113 km to Universiti Putra Malaysia. It also meant driving back home at 8 p.m. along a road that tested even the most experienced drivers.
It was a daunting task, as she now acknowledges. Failing memory also posed a problem at her age. She had to spend 10 times as long as fellow undergraduates to memorise her studies. ‘I believe in the saying ‘If there is a will, there is a way’. Although I had to sacrifice my weekends and be on the road for two hours a day every weekend to attend classes, it was worth it,’ she said on graduation Tuesday.
Her five siblings were there to greet her as she stood all smiles along with 1,075 graduates who received convocation scrolls from University Putra Malaysia Pro-Chancellor Nayan Ariffin. Incidentally, Gurcharan Kaur has not ended her studies. She wants to enroll in the Master’s programme in TESL at the university, New Straits Times said. Estimated at 100,000, Sikhs are part of the two million-plus ethnic Indian community that forms eight percent of Malaysia’s multi-ethnic 28 million population.
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