JIM’S STORY: First class

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On my first day of college, the professor did the usual and made the students introduce themselves to the person sitting next to them. When I turned to my left I saw that I was beside a smiling older gentleman with grey hair and thick glasses.

“Hello! I’m Ron. I’m 82 years old,” he said. He caught my hand in a strong handshake. I was really impressed that he was taking on the challenge of higher education when he could have been relaxing in a timeshare somewhere and I told him so. He smiled good-naturedly. “Well, I had to start working right away and I’ve always regretted not getting an education.”

Ron turned out to have a wicked sense of humour and a real knack for storytelling and we grabbed some food after class to keep up the conversation. He made friends with everyone he met, charming teachers and students alike with his quick wit and intelligence. When he finally got his degree four years later, the whole class got up and gave him a standing ovation. I’ve fallen out of touch with Ron now, but I’ve never forgotten him. He taught me that you’re never too old to follow your dreams.

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