At the age of 82, Columbian native Ana Reynales earned her bachelor’s degree! When she arrived in the US at the age of 60, she started studying English right away at Northern Virginia Community College, and “earned multiple associates degrees in applied sciences before enrolling at Mason.”
Now that she has her bachelor’s, Reynales’s goal is to become a Spanish teacher at the university level, and says, “I plan to continue studying for as long as I can.” She wants to help others to learn English or Spanish, particularly focusing on “assisting illiterate adults to learn to read and write, and eventually help them to get back into school.”
“The secret is to start everything at the most basic level, learning the main principles before moving on,” Reynales says. “I used to get so frustrated with my studies before I learned to start at the beginning. I had to learn patience before I could learn anything else.”
What an awesome example of “beginner’s mind”!!! What an inspiring story!!! I love what Ms. Reynales has to say about going back to basics. I feel that a big part of my job as a tutor is finding where the missing links are and helping students to fill it in. It seems that this inspiring lady has learned to do that completely by herself—and look at what that has enabled her to do!
I know I’ve wasted so much time by trying to skip ahead and being frustrated with myself for not moving at the same pace as others. But I do believe that if you’re willing to start wherever you actually are, wherever you need to begin, so many more paths are open to you.
Thanks to my brother, who forwarded this article to me!! I am super proud of him for also graduating this spring from George Mason with his Masters in Public Policy, and for being selected to be included in this article because of his awesome accomplishments!!!
(I learned about this story via the George Mason Gazette, Oldest Grad of 2009 Earns Foreign Languages Degree at 82 [by Dave Andrews]).