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Kirkcaldy gran celebrates 34-year degree with daughter who inspired her

Anna Drysdale and her daughter Fiona.
Anna Drysdale and her daughter Fiona.

A Fife gran who took 34 years to complete her degree was joined at her graduation by the grown-up daughter whose birth inspired her studies.

A new mum in 1985, Anna Drysdale, of Kirkcaldy, was determined to make her newborn daughter proud and enrolled with The Open University.

Her daughter Fiona Docherty, who now has children of her own, was at her side as she was presented with her Bachelor of Science open degree at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall.

Humanist celebrant Anna, 62, fitted her studies round her life including work, children, marriage and divorce, illness and bereavement and eventually completed her course.

She said: “When I got handed my daughter Fiona, I just thought, ‘I don’t ever want you to be ashamed of me. I want you to be proud of me.’

“The motivation for my studies was to prove that I was just as good as everybody else.”

During Anna’s extended studies learning with The Open University has transformed dramatically.

She said: “In 1985, learning was somewhat different, you were sent books and audio cassettes in the post.

“You would have to set your alarm to get up at daft o’clock to watch the television programmes.

“Essays were hand-written, sent to be marked, then duly returned by post.

“More recently, I enjoyed the online forums, and the engagement among the students on online tutorials was inspiring.”

Anna said achieving her degree was life-changing.

She said: “Some journeys are longer than others, and mine has been longer than most.

“The beauty of OU study is that you can always pick it up at a later, and hopefully better, time.

“Now I just need to think, ‘what next?’”

Congratulating Anna, Susan Stewart, director of The Open University in Scotland, said: “There’s no such thing as a typical OU student but what they all have in common is that they have hugely busy lives.

“They fit their study in along with family, work and all sorts of other responsibilities, which makes today’s ceremonies particularly special.

“Anna is an incredible example of that dedication and it’s an absolute pleasure to be able to celebrate with her and fellow graduates today.”

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