Turkish woman graduates from university at 84

Published 26.06.2015 16:03
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AA Photo

After 61 years of dreams, Fatma Mihriban Aktarı, a 84-year-old Turkish woman, graduated from Istanbul's Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University.

Aktarı spoke to Anadolu Agency on the day of her graduation saying that her four-year academic course had gone by fast.

Aktarı was born in 1931 in a town in the north-western Turkish province of Balıkesir, where she also attended elementary school. She graduated from secondary school in Istanbul, where her family moved due to work.

She graduated from high school with a teacher's diploma and wished to enter the painting department of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, but was forced to apply for the French Language Department.

On the day she was to attend her first day of school, her father died. As a 17-year-old she quit school and decided to work as a teacher. She was assigned to a school in the northeastern province of Erzincan, where she worked for a year.

She moved back to Istanbul to work in the printing office in the company her father had worked in. In 1951 she decided to apply to Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University and was accepted.

She worked and studied at the same time, yet she was forced once again to leave school, due to the workload and financial problems.

She returned to teaching, got married and had two sons. She graduated from the Faculty of Education of Eskişehir Anadolu University and retired by 1988.

In 2011, after retiring, she was reading the decision of academic amnesty, allowing students to re-enroll after they had signed up, but were not able to complete their education.

With the help of her son's friend, an associate professor in Mimar Sinan's Fine Arts Faculty, she found her application in the archives and returned to university after 61 years in 2011.

"The first days were hard and I was ready to quit, but my husband convinced me to hold on a bit longer," she said, explaining her struggles in first classes after 61 years.

She also gave advice to the young and women, saying: "They will work, they will work very hard. Let them stroll around, let them have fun, but everything in its time."

Aktarı stated that they should have respect and value people and added that women should not stay in their homes, but be active outside.

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