Did you attend college? For many, going on to higher education isn’t much of an option.
Neither of my parents managed to finish their degrees, and I never thought it harmed them much in life. For what it’s worth, I’m happy to have a pair of degrees, although I wouldn’t say that lacking them would’ve greatly impoverished my life.
Some people, though, absolutely love the idea of learning in an academic setting. Such perpetual students rack up degree after degree and learn some interesting lessons along the way that have little to do with their various curricula.
Michael Nicholson, a 75-year-old from Kalamazoo, Michigan, has earned 30 degrees. According to Vice, he has a bachelor’s degree, a pair of associate degrees, 23 master’s degrees, a trio of specialist degrees, and a doctorate degree.
Why would a man amass such a wealth of credentials? Nicholson told ABC News that he simply liked it.
“I just stayed in school and took menial jobs to pay for the education and just made a point of getting more degrees and eventually I retired so that I could go full-time to school,” he said. “It’s stimulation to go to the class, look at the material that’s required and meet the teacher and students.
“It makes life interesting for me. Otherwise, things would be pretty dull.”
When asked to provide some insights from his studies, Nicholson offered up counsel that was more practical than technical, counsel that everyone from freshman to old souls could take to heart. “I get up at 4 a.m., and I walk two miles at that hour,” he said.
“That doesn’t mean everyone has to get up at 4 a.m., but you do have to have some kind of a routine. If you sleep through your morning classes, you’ll be running around trying to make up for lost time.”
He also urged young people to take more pride in their physical appearance, noting, “What I see in the classrooms of today — frankly, I’m embarrassed. Everyone looks sloppy.”
Nicholson believes that people should commit themselves fully to a task once they’d decided upon it. It bothered him to sit in the back row and watch students fiddle away on their laptops, indulging in diversions that had nothing to do with class.
Perseverance matters to Nicholson, too. “I went to Detroit Bible College, and every year, the president of the college would give the students a message entitled, ‘Don’t quit too soon,’” he recalled.
“He was trying to keep us all in school until we graduated. That would be my message to any young folks: Don’t quit too soon.”
Finally, Nicholson emphasized the importance of not going into debt. Despite his mind-boggling number of degrees, he hasn’t racked up a bunch of loans, and he secured his first degree thanks to a paper route.
“That’s how I got through the first four years: delivering newspapers, every day of the week,” he said. “Of course, back then, college didn’t cost as much as it does today.
“But tuition has never been a problem. I had several teaching positions along the way, and I wrote parking tickets at one university for 11 years — but all the time that I was working, I was in school as well.”
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