A 77-year-old woman from the United Kingdom has completed her university education. It’s been 60 years since I graduated from high school

Janet MacDougall

A woman defied the odds and proved that “better late than never” is true. The woman from Wolverhampton, England, had to drop out of school due to family obligations. Now, 60 years later, she has set out on a quest to fulfil a long-held ambition. Her parents told Janet MacDougall to put studies aside and concentrate on marriage and family life at a young age. She wanted to continue her education but warned that a creative degree would not lead to employment. She is now 77 years old and is reaching the end of her arts degree. So, what has been her journey and what has motivated her to pursue a university education in her seventies? Janet’s younger daughter died seven years ago from throat cancer. Janet took up painting as an outlet for her sadness after the loss of her 45-year-old daughter, who was always the creative, arty, and musical one. She was motivated to pursue her childhood ambitions and enrolled in a course.
Janet told the Express & Star about the course: “I enjoy working with my university professors and developing new pieces. It’s ideal for folks who are lonely or searching for something to do for themselves after years of caring for others.”

She has finally achieved her goal of studying after a lengthy battle. She is in her final year at the University of Wolverhampton and is reaching the end of her degree. She also got a student loan to cover the cost of the textiles and surface pattern course. She would later tell the BBC, “Despite my lack of computer skills, I enjoy the creative aspect.”

Janet worked as a window dresser and a pharmacy counter assistant before focusing on her family.

“The institution is a powerful champion for lifelong learning,” Sharon Watts, a course leader at the university, told the Express & Star. “I think Jan’s tale epitomises this in every way.” Janet’s tale is unique, she said, because she has had a terrible path. She believes she has proved that learning is never too late.

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