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The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a winkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being. She said, “Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m 86 years old. Can I give you a hug?” I laughed and responded, “Of course you may!” and she gave me a big squeeze. “Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?” I asked. She replied, “I’m here to find a rich man, get married, have a couple of children, and then retire and travel.” “No seriously,” I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age. “I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!” she told me. After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became friends. Every day for the next 3 months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this time machine as she shared her wisdom and experience. Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the years end Rose finished her college degree she had began many years before. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over 2,000 college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be.

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