Mehmet Deniz always had a knack for learning new things, but a university diploma came very late in his life. The retired military officer now boasts his fifth diploma at the age of 80, some 19 years after he started enrolling in multiple programs in a prominent university offering distance learning programs.
Deniz, who lives in the western Turkish city of Izmir, is now a graduate of law, after his degrees in office management, economy, business administration, Turkish language and literature studies. This is not the end of his educational pursuit though, as he plans to study emergency and disaster management and pursue a master’s degree in public relations.
Actually, his interest in boosting his education started at a much earlier stage in his life. As a high school dropout, he earned his high school diploma only after his retirement. He then enrolled in office management studies at the age of 61.
“I did not want to spend time at home or in coffeehouses like my peers,” Deniz, a father of two, said in an interview in his home, where every corner is adorned with diplomas and certificates from various courses. “I always wanted to learn more and more things. I am an avid reader and volunteer for nongovernmental organizations. This makes me healthier. I still feel like I am in my fifties at most."
Back in his youth, Deniz worked as a Russian and German interpreter and started learning the Quran in adulthood. Before enrolling in university, he completed amateur courses on radio and computers. “I spent my days well,” he boasted. “Young students I sit exams with are amazed at how I was able to succeed. This is something about resolve. It is simple. You need to pay attention to textbooks. I study day and night so I can set an example for others. I call on people of my age to do something like that so they won’t have Alzheimer’s. You can work, you can volunteer, so you can feel happy and feel like you are still up to any task. Young people too should not live their days without learning anything; they should work hard, study hard,” he said.