Nancy Davis has a bit of advice for both young and old: an academic education is all important and one should never stop striving to learn.
“You are never too old to learn – my mother told me that,” the Lower Five Islands resident said. “She said when you stop learning things you are going backwards.”
Davis, 62, dropped out of school in her mid-teens and spent many of the intervening years with deep regrets.
Friday, however, she put those long-held regrets to rest when she took the stage at the Rath-Eastlink Community Centre to accept both her Grade 12 Diploma and a certificate as a Continuing Care Assistant from the Truro Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College.
Speaking just prior to the convocation ceremonies, Davis said the last 18 months since she enrolled have been both trying and challenging as she dealt with life’s interventions, including the loss of her husband of more than 40 years.
“It’s something I always wanted to do. I felt when I left school at 15, I was going to go out and conquer the world and go to work and whatever,” she said. “And as the years went by, I realized that in order to get anywhere in the world you need to have an education.”
In the midst of getting married and raising a family, Davis has toiled at a number of vocations, including waitressing and being involved in various aspects of the food service business and working in manufacturing plants.
But her heart has always been set on working with people in a caring capacity, especially the elderly or those with physical or mental challenges.
“I like people,” she said. “I’ve always liked people and I have always liked older people and people who have challenges because they’re not always understood.”
Many times throughout the years, Davis said, she has thought about going back to school but something always got in the way of those plans.
“Lots of times you think things are going to work out and life intervenes,” she said.
Clad in her black and white graduate’s gown, Davis said she is both ecstatic to begin the next phase of her life in a career that has been far too long in the making.
“I feel quite humbled that I’ve actually got to do this and to get my Grade 12, which I’ve always wanted to do. And to be able to do this and be able to go to work and be a contributing person again,” she said.
“Just because I’m 60 doesn’t meant I’m dying. Life is what you make it.”