Since last week Friday, one Janet David Silla has been a topic of discussion in social media circles after graduating with a Master’s degree.
At age 80, Mrs Silla proved that age is just a number when she graduated with a master’s degree in Development Studies at St Paul’s University in Limuru, Kiambu County.
She was among 2,969 graduands who were conferred with degrees, diplomas, and certificates in various disciplines during the varsity’s graduation ceremony.
Speaking to the Standard during the graduation ceremony, Silla, who was born in 1938 in Muthumo village, Machakos County, narrated how her family tried to prevent her from enrolling for a degree in Social Work at the university in 2009.
“My children said that I was going to embarrass them and my grandchildren laughed at the idea. I was however determined,” she said.
She said life at the university was challenging as she was confronted by culture shock and fast-paced life.
“Things were very challenging at first for me. My fellow students could not believe I was one of them. They thought I was a lecturer but I soldiered on and graduated with a degree in Social Work,” she said.
She said that the treatment by some of her fellow students and a section of lecturers almost made her abandon her studies.
“At first, I felt disappointed and out of place. One of the lecturers even told me I did not belong there. My young classmates asked me why I was studying at my age and who would be interested in employing me. Their attitude did not, however, deter me from pursuing my goal,” she said.
Silla, who now has two degrees, has her eyes set on a doctorate degree. She hopes to continue with her campaign to empower women and the girl-child.
“I want to encourage the young pupils and students in the country that education is the key to a good life,” she said.