Feeling like you’ll never finish your degree program? Worried that you’re too old to go back to school? Here’s something that can offer a little perspective: a 71-year-old man from Michigan currently has 29 college degrees, and is due to earn his 30th very soon.
Michael Nicholson claims that he’s always just worked menial jobs to earn enough cash to pay for school. He just kept getting degrees – and when he retired, he became a full-time student. He’s now in his 70’s and shows no signs of stopping. He claims he’d like to get 33 or 34 degrees total, and is confident that he can do it. “When I complete that, I’ll feel like I’ve completed my basic education. After that, if I’m still alive – that would take me to 80 or 81 – I would be free to pursue any type of degree.”
“It’s stimulation to go to the class, look at the material that’s required, and meet the teacher and students,” He says. “It makes life interesting for me.” That’s certainly one way of looking at it – what may seem dull or dreadful to you is the light of this man’s life.
It all started with his first degree: a bachelor’s in religious education, which he earned in 1963. He earned his doctorate’s in 1978. Nicholson currently has one bachelor’s, two associate’s, and 22 master’s degrees. Just for good measure, he also earned three specialist degrees and a doctoral. He’s currently pursuing his 23rd master’s in criminal justice.
He says he was inspired by his parents. Since his father was forced to drop out of school after 3rd grade and his mother only earned her high school degree, they wanted better for their kids. They were pushed to go as far as they could go, and that’s exactly what Nicholson did.
Worth noting is that none of Nicholson’s degrees have been honorary or awarded. He put in the time required to earn each of these degrees, and he went to 28 of his 29 graduation ceremonies. He enjoys the excitement of graduating, though he’s mostly just motivated by the idea of having yet another degree.
Nicholson does not think he could succeed in an online course, so he completes all his classes on-campus. He still works on a typewriter, with the help of his wife – she possesses seven of her own degrees.
He leaves recent college graduates with a word of advice: “Don’t quit too soon. Keep up with your aspirations.”