Barbara Michaels graduated with a B.A. in English Literature in 2006 – at the age of 73.
“I am always thrilled to hear of Cardiff University’s successes, and still feel personally involved with the University. I initially gained entrance to university when I was 17, but decided to pursue a career in journalism instead.
“Although I thoroughly enjoyed, and still do, working as a journalist and, in latter years, a freelance writer, I have always regretted that decision – but thought it was too late to do anything about it. Then, some years ago, I enrolled, purely out of interest, in an English course at the University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning. To my amazement, my tutor Sheila Weeks (now lecturing in Creative Writing at the University) suggested I applied to the University to do a degree.
“My initial reaction was: ‘At my age? I’ve got six grandchildren, for goodness’ sake! I’ll feel ridiculous, with fellow students the age of my eldest granddaughter.’
“But I applied, and was accepted as a part-time student. I gained my degree after four years. Those years were of immense benefit - not just in terms of gaining knowledge, but mixing with keen young minds gave me an insight that I would not have had otherwise. Since then, I have had several short stories published, one of which was in an award-winning anthology, and have won a writing award.
“During my time at University, I became interested in writing for children, and have now embarked on a book for children, as well as writing an adult novel.
“Without the expert tutoring at Cardiff, I would not have felt sufficient confidence to embark on either of these projects.
“It shows that a university education is never, ever wasted – even at my advanced age. The saying that ‘All of life is learning’ is certainly true in my case. So a very Happy Birthday, Cardiff! I wish you all success!”