71 Year Old World's Slowest Student Finally Graduates
Universities across the world are preparing to hand out degrees to their undergraduates and graduates as students level up into the 'real' world. Among the graduates of the University of British Columbia (UBC) who walked on the podium to collect their degrees during the commencement ceremony on May 25, one remarkable individual stood out - Arthur Ross. The 71 year old world's slowest student finally graduatesUBC.
Arthur Ross's life trajectory has been both interesting and inspiring. He initially enrolled at UBC in Vancouver in 1969, shortly after graduating from the Prince of Wales high school in the same city. Ross chose UBC because it was close to home, allowing him to stay with his family.
Reflecting on his decision, Ross recalled, "It was also close to home. It meant I could stay at home. I wasn't stupid." However, his interests soon shifted from literature to theater, leading him to brush shoulders with Canadian actors like Nicola Cavendish, Larry Lillo, Brent Carver, and Ruth Nichol.
After spending two years at UBC, Ross made a pivotal decision to fully immerse himself in theater. He pursued a three-year program at the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal. However, Ross eventually realized that he was a good actor, but not a 'great' one.
With this realization, he contemplated pursuing a degree in law, considering it as a last resort for individuals who couldn't quite figure out their career paths, as he shared with the BBC.
Before embarking on his legal education, Ross had to return to UBC to complete an additional year of schooling, as he needed a total of three years to apply to law school. After fulfilling this requirement, he spent the next 35 years as a civil litigator in Metro Vancouver before retiring in 2016. Rather than diving headfirst into retirement activities, Ross felt a strong urge to complete his BA degree, which he had started five decades ago.
In November 2016, Ross contacted UBC, obtained a new student number, and by January 2017, he became a part-time student focusing on history, with a particular interest in the First World War.
Taking up one course at a time, Ross worked on his degree for the next six years at his own pace. He reflected on his journey sharing a statement.
It's a waste not to take the opportunity to study something, anything, that is of interest to you. Here, the opportunity has presented itself to me, and I have enjoyed it.- Arthur Ross
At the age of 71, Ross finally achieved his long-awaited goal and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree, a remarkable 54 years after he initially enrolled in the course. When asked about his accomplishment, Ross humorously remarked to UBC.
Ross's enduring desire for learning and personal growth motivated him to persevere and complete his degree. Ross reflected on his initial aspirations:
I just wanted to learn because I was curious.- Arthur Ross
This insatiable thirst for knowledge ultimately drove him to achieve his lifelong dream.
Throughout his academic journey, Ross experienced various shifts in his interests and passions, from English literature to theater and ultimately to history. He described his fascination with history as an enlightening experience, particularly when examining the darker aspects of Canadian history.
The great revelation of pursuing a history degree was not in answering that initial question [about participating in war], but in looking at the sordid nature of Canadian history.- Arthur Ross
Ross expressed gratitude to the students and faculty of UBC for accepting him and his unique path. He acknowledged, "I'm appreciative of the students accepting that old guy tuning in from outer space."
Arthur Ross's incredible determination and commitment to his education serve as an inspiration to all, reminding us that it's never too late to pursue our dreams. His story demonstrates that age is no barrier to personal growth and the pursuit of knowledge.
As graduates celebrate their achievements and embark on new adventures, Arthur Ross stands as a shining example of resilience, proving that the journey of education is one that knows no time limits.
In a world that is constantly evolving, where new information and skills emerge at a rapid pace, the concept of lifelong learninghas become increasingly relevant. Lifelong learning refers to the ongoing, voluntary pursuit of knowledge and personal development throughout one's life, regardless of age or formal education. It emphasizes the idea that learning should not be confined to the years of formal schooling but should continue as a lifelong endeavor.
Module 1 - Part 1 What is Lifelong Learning?
Embracing lifelong learning has numerous benefits that extend beyond the acquisition of knowledge. Let's explore some of the key advantages of engaging in continuous learning:
- Intellectual Stimulation -Lifelong learning keeps the mind active and sharp. It stimulates critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and creativity. Engaging in learning activities challenges the brain, leading to mental agility and improved cognitive function.
- Personal Growth and Development - Lifelong learning provides opportunities for personal growth and self-improvement. It helps individuals develop new perspectives, gain deeper insights into themselves and the world around them, and foster personal growth. It can enhance self-confidence, self-esteem, and overall well-being.
- Adaptability and Resilience -In today's rapidly changing world, the ability to adapt and embrace new ideas and technologies is crucial. Lifelong learning equips individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate and thrive in a dynamic environment. It enhances adaptability and resilience, allowing individuals to embrace change and overcome challenges more effectively.
- Career Advancement -Lifelong learning is instrumental in professional development and career advancement. Acquiring new skills, staying updated with industry trends, and expanding knowledge can open doors to new opportunities, promotions, and career transitions. It demonstrates a commitment to growth and continuous improvement, making individuals more valuable assets in the workforce.
- Personal Fulfillment -Engaging in lifelong learning allows individuals to pursue their passions, explore new interests, and discoverhidden talents. It brings a sense of purpose, fulfillment, and joy to one's life. Learning simply for the sake of learning can be deeply rewarding and enriching.
While the benefits of lifelong learning are clear, the process of engaging in continuous education may seem daunting to some. However, with the right mindset and strategies, anyone can embrace lifelong learning. Here are some effective approaches to incorporate lifelong learning into your life:
- Set Clear Learning Goals - Define what you want to achieve through your learning journey. Set clear and specific goals that are meaningful to you. This will provide focus and direction, helping you stay motivated and track your progress.
- Diversify Learning Methods - Explore a variety of learning methods to keep the experience engaging and effective. Combine traditional methods like reading books and attending lectures with modern approaches such as online courses, podcasts, webinars, and interactive workshops. Experiment with different formats to find what works best for you.
- Develop A Curiosity Mindset- Cultivate a curious mindset, constantly seeking new knowledge and asking questions. Be open to different perspectives and ideas. Embrace a growth mindset that acknowledges that intelligence and skills can be developed through effort and practice.
- Create A Learning Routine - Establish a regular learning routine that fits your schedule and commitments. Allocate dedicated time for learning activities, whether it's a few minutes each day or a few hours each week. Consistency is key to making progress and integrating learning into your lifestyle.
- Pursue Personal Interests- Follow your passions and pursue learning in areas that genuinely interest you. Explore subjects that excite and inspire you. This intrinsic motivation will fuel your desire to learn and make the process enjoyable.
- Seek Learning Communities And Networks- Connect with like-minded individuals who share your enthusiasm for lifelong learning. Join online communities, attend workshops or seminars, and participate in discussion groups or forums. Interacting with others who have similar interests can enhance the learning experience and provide valuable support and encouragement.
- Embrace Technology- Leverage the power of technology to facilitate your learning journey. Access online resources, e-learning platforms, and educational apps. Utilize digital tools for note-taking, organizing information, and collaborative learning.
So, let us all embark on this journey of lifelong learning, embracing the power of knowledge at any age. May we never cease to be curious, to explore, and to grow.
Engaging in lifelong learning has positive impacts on mental health. It provides intellectual stimulation, fosters a sense of purpose, and promotes continuous personal growth. Learning new skills and acquiring knowledge can boost self-esteem and confidence, reduce stress levels, and help prevent cognitive decline.
Yes, lifelong learning can have financial benefits. Acquiring new skills or knowledge can enhance employability, leading to better job opportunities, promotions, and increased earning potential. Additionally, continuous learning can help individuals stay updated with industry trends and technological advancements, making them valuable assets in the job market.
Lifelong learning contributes to personal fulfillment by allowing individuals to pursue their passions, explore new interests, and develop new talents. It provides opportunities for self-discovery, personal growth, and the pursuit of meaningful goals. Engaging in learning activities that align with one's interests and values brings a sense of fulfillment, satisfaction, and a greater sense of purpose in life.
Yes, lifelong learning can improve social connections. Participating in learning communities, attending classes, workshops, or online forums allows individuals to interact with like-minded people and build social connections. Learning together and engaging in discussions promotes networking, collaboration, and the exchange of ideas, fostering meaningful relationships and a sense of belonging.
No, it is never too late to start lifelong learning. The journey of continuous education can begin at any age. Whether you're in your 20s, 40s, or beyond, the benefits of lifelong learning are accessible to everyone. It's never too late to acquire new knowledge, develop new skills, and explore new interests. Lifelong learning is a lifelong opportunity for personal growth and enrichment.
In conclusion, the story of the 71-year-old world's slowest student finally graduates after 54 years serves as a powerful reminder that age should never be a barrier to pursuing one's educational dreams. Arthur Ross's remarkable journey of lifelong learning showcases the enduring value of education and the immense personal growth that can be achieved through continuous intellectual engagement.
His story inspires us to embrace the opportunities for learning that present themselves throughout our lives, reminding us that it's never too late to pursue knowledge and reach our goals. Arthur Ross's graduation at the age of 71 stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of determination and the transformative power of education, proving that with perseverance and dedication, we can achieve remarkable feats at any stage of life.