For a lot of young people, getting a degree from college is an important milestone in their lives. But not everyone will be able to finish college in the usual four years.
Sthembile Mngwengwe was initially unable to attend college, but she made it a point to ensure that she would not allow the conditions of her life to stop her.
Sthembile Mngwengwe, who was 40 years old and from South Africa, led a straightforward existence. After Sthembile completed her high school education and received her high school in 1998, she had every desire to continue her studies at the college level; however, her parents were not in a financial position to pay for her higher education.
She had been employed as a cleaner at the University of KwaZulu-Natal for the past ten years as of 2018, when all of a sudden, a great opportunity presented itself to her. She was allowed to attend classes at the university at no cost; nevertheless, it had been twenty years since she had set foot in a classroom, and she stated that it had been challenging for her to adapt to the academic setting.
“Balancing work and studies gave me a lot of stress,” she said. “But if you work hard and pray to God, He will help you to achieve what you want.”
She revealed that one of the things that motivated her to get her college degree was cleaning the offices of her professors. She added, “I was motivated by being on campus too, seeing students walking up and down going to their lecture theatres to attend classes made me wish to be them.”
She went on to talk about how supportive her daughter and her colleagues had been and how important it had been for them to be there for her to finish her degree.
Sthembile wants her experience to inspire people to follow their goals even when they don’t seem possible.
“No matter how old you are you can still fulfill your dreams,” she reiterated. “Age is just a number — look at me completing my first degree at the age of 40. It’s a blessing and I’m so proud of myself.”
She worked at the same college for a total of fourteen years, during which time she also attended classes and great heroes a bachelor’s degree in social science.
“I was very lucky,” she says. “After wishing to study for so long, I grabbed the opportunity.”
Even though it was only a virtual ceremony, she was pleased to be finally graduating.
Sthembile Mngwengwe went all out for her special day. She bought a black dress, rented a graduation gown and cap, and asked her professor to take pictures with her to remember the event.
This is such an immensely motivational story, and it serves as a good reminder of the many reasons why age is just a number. At any point in their lives, humans can acquire new knowledge.
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