Inspirational story from 65-year-old graduate USSH student

At 65, Ms. Nguyen Hoang Mai made a decision which surprised her family. She decided to go back to school instead of enjoying her retirement with her family or during vacations. A university graduate from National University HCMC decided to continue her education at higher levels, enrolling in graduate faculties at USSH.


On 12 July, Board of Master Thesis Examination at Faculty of Vietnamese Literature (USSH – VNU HCMC) were taken aback when the senior citizen Nguyen Hoang Mai (born in 1954) stood up in her white ao dai to defend her thesis.


Ms. Hoang Mai graduated from Faculty of Vietnamese Literature, Vietnam National University HCMC (which is USSH now). After 30 years holding her B.A., Ms Mai has made a life-changing decision when going back to school during her retirement.


Ms. Mai confessed that, “Many discouraged her decision of continuing her education at such old age when other activities such as hanging around with friends and family, taking care of grandchildren are more typical. However, I believe education is life-long, when society modernizes, pursuing further education to keep ourselves updated with new knowledge is advisable. I want to spending time studying and researching my favourite field, and I’d like to set an examplary lesson for my children and grandchildren.”


Ms. Mai informed us that when preparing her application form to graduate faculty, she was advised with different training institutions. However, as she’s emotionally attached with her old university where she received her B.A., thus despite USSH’s more demanding admission criteria, she tried her best to brush up her knowledge for the entrance exam.


During her graduate education, she has been teaching in her tutor classes at her home to afford tuition fees.


After a 2-hour oral defense, Ms. Mai’s thesis (Exploring novels of Ba Tung Long) was remarked by Board of Thesis Examination as “unique, original, extensive in research efforts with comprehensive reference lists). Her thesis is considered by the Board as a valuable reference source for future researchers in relevant fields.


After the video recording Ms. Mai’s sharings on her education journey on USSH fanpage, many young students touchingly shared the clip to their personal news feed, commenting that, “Education is boundless and it’s never late getting back to school. Education is a lifetime journey. Thank you Ms. Mai for being an inspiration source to us.”


At 65, Ms. Mai received 8 for her master thesis and acts as an inspirational example for lifelong learning.


Some pictures in Ms. Nguyen Hoang Mai’s oral thesis defense:

Ms. Mai in her white dress confidently defensed her thesis – Pic: MANH KHANG


Ms. Mai with her Board of Thesis Examination – Pic: MANH KHANG


Ms. Mai with her thesis supervisor – Pic: MANH KHANG


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