RIYADH — “Hope is lost but I have regained it. The moment of my graduation and honoring on the dais at Imam Abdul Rahman bin Faisal University was so impressive and memorable as it came after a long wait spanning over 46 years,” said Salwa Al-Omani, a 70-year-old Saudi woman. She graduated from Imam Abdul Rahman bin Faisal University with a bachelor’s degree with honors.

Salwa expressed her delight after winning success in her long fight to obtain a university degree, defeating all the heavy odds that stood in the way. The presence of her daughters at the graduation ceremony added the intensity of her joy. “This is a memory that will remain in my mind as long as I live,” she said while speaking to Al-Arabiya.net.

The elderly woman recounted how she successfully managed to overcome the tough task of returning to school studies after a long life, replete with challenges. Salwa revealed that she graduated from high school with an excellent grade, at the age of 17. When she intended to do her bachelor’s degree, she approached the university and obtained permission for official enrollment to specialize in chemistry as her major.

However, her life took a different turn all of a sudden as she was unable to pursue her educational goal at an early age. She attributed this to her marriage and other compulsions. But the passion to pursue studies remained deeply attached to her heart and mind throughout this period.

Salwa said that she resumed her pursuit to complete her education after a gap of 46 years. “In 2016, I started the process of searching for a mechanism to return to school again to complete my studies, but the regulations did not allow me to go ahead as planned. My strong passion and continuous communication with the Education Department in the Eastern Province enabled me to obtain approval from the Education Department to resume studies,” she said, adding “my 46-year-long absence from studies and the loss of official documents to prove that I had graduated from secondary school proved a villain that stood in the way of my educational track,” she said.

Therefore, the authorities insisted that she should attend intermediate and secondary phases of school once again. Salwa was not ready to give up her passion for her higher education and hence she joined classes for intermediate and secondary school examinations and later joined Imam Abdul Rahman bin Faisal University for her bachelor’s decree in sociology.

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