May 15, 2010

USA: 90-Year-Old Gets Her Master's Degree

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DALLAS, Texas / ABC News / World News / Retirement / May 15, 2010

Helen Small Satisfies 'Unfulfilled Desire' by Earning Master's in Psychology at UT Dallas

By Lauren Vance

She's full of energy and wisdom, and at 90 years old, Helen Small is proof to many that it's never too late to try and fulfill your dreams.

Helen Small, 90, just got her graduate degree in psychological sciences (she got her bachelor's in 2007) from the University of Texas at Dallas, after leaving school to get married in 1939. Courtesy University of Texas at Dallas

Small received her undergraduate degree at the age of 87 and, as of today, she will enter the history books at the University of Texas at Dallas and receive her master's degree in psychology. In 1939, Small entered college but gave up the books for her sweetheart and became a wife and mother.

 She's had to learn computers, embrace the Internet and juggle being the grandmother figure to an entire student body during long study sessions. Small always wanted to return back to school and in April 2004 she did. She said it was that nagging "unfilled desire," that prevented her from never giving up.

"It's just mind over matter," Small told ABC News affiliate WFAA in Dallas. "If you want to do something badly enough you do it."

Small welcomes her status as role model and hopes to encourage other elderly people to pursue their long-held aspirations.

"I hope I can inspire some of these people to continue their education," she told WFAA. "That's my goal."
Small became the second-oldest to graduate at UT Dallas. Her future career plans include volunteering and at nursing shelters and maybe even signing up for a few more college classes.

As of yet, she has no plans to pursue her Ph.D. [rc]

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