Some people have regrets about things that they never got a chance to do in their lives. This story is a reminder that it’s never too late to cross items off the bucket list!
Betty Sandison of Minneapolis, Minnesota was having lunch with some friends when the subject of bucket lists came up. Although she had spent more than 30 years working as a registered nurse, Betty confided in her friends that she regretted never finishing the bachelor’s degree she’d started more than 67 years earlier.
Betty grew up in a tiny farming town in rural Minnesota. Her first school was a one-room schoolhouse, and after high school, she became the first person in her family to pursue higher education. With dreams of becoming a nurse, Betty enrolled at the University of Minnesota. She still has her college acceptance letter from 1955.
When she was just 25 credits short of getting her degree, Betty met and fell in love with her husband. Her career was put on hold as the couple moved around for his job, spending time living in Chicago, Illinois, and Detroit, Michigan. She also raised two daughters, which kept her busy!
After her divorce, Betty returned to community college to become a registered nurse. She worked as a nurse for more than 30 years before retiring in 2013.
But in 2018, she was still lamenting that unfinished degree. All it took was a friend asking her, “What’s stopping you?” She was talking about returning to the University of Minnesota to complete her bachelor’s degree to ignite a spark in Betty’s mind.
“I really didn’t have an answer,” Betty admitted.
She enrolled in classes and started working on those last 25 credits. However, she was sidelined first by technology, which had changed dramatically since her last stint in education, and second by the coronavirus pandemic. In spite of these setbacks, Betty persevered.
In 2022, decades of hard work finally came to fruition. At age 84, Betty crossed the stage at Northrop Mall to collect her bachelor’s degree in Multidisciplinary Studies from the College of Continuing and Professional Studies. She described the accomplishment as “pure joy, pure satisfaction.”
Betty urges other seniors to never “let anybody stop you” from achieving life goals.
“My big thing is, I would like to encourage older people to go to classes, to keep learning, and not just sit in front of the TV,” she said.
Betty is not sure what’s next, but there’s one thing she does know: Life’s too short to live with regrets! She says she may even audit college classes now that her degree is complete, just for the joy of lifelong learning. Is there a master’s degree in her future? Only time will tell!
Share this story to congratulate Betty on earning her degree.
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