“The secret behind my late-life graduation is that I never lost hope, Salwa says. Image Credit: Source Al Arabiya

Dubai: “Hope was lost, and I finally got it back,” said Salwa Al Omani, a 70-year-old Saudi woman who recently graduated with distinction from Imam Abdul Rahman bin Faisal University.

This accomplishment comes after a 46-year hiatus from her education, proving it’s never too late to pursue dreams.

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In an interview with Al Arabiya, Salwa recounted the journey that led her back to academia. At 17, she finished her high school with excellent grades and had aspirations to study chemistry.

However, life took a different course, with marriage and other responsibilities diverting her away from further studies. Despite these distractions, her desire for education persisted.

“Although I had been away from school for 46 years, the yearning for knowledge remained deeply rooted in my heart and mind,” Salwa stated. In 2016, she began to research ways to return to her studies, facing various challenges such as outdated systems and lost documentation of her past high school graduation.

Through consistent efforts and constant communication with the education department in the eastern region, Salwa managed to gain approval to pursue studies. Yet she was required to re-study middle and high school to obtain the necessary credentials. Undeterred by this requirement, she embraced the challenge and graduated from high school again.

Salwa subsequently received admission to Imam Abdul Rahman bin Faisal University, where she pursued a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She described the moment of graduation as “touching and timeless.”

The occasion was further made special as her daughters, with whom she had previously shared their own graduation ceremonies, joined in her celebration.

“The cooperation of everyone helped ease the suffering due to the age difference between me and other students,” she confessed.

Salwa concluded her emotional journey by saying: “The secret behind my late-life graduation is that I never lost hope, despite the difficult challenges I faced. This is a memory that will remain etched in my mind no matter how long I live.”