Friend Overcomes Age Gap, Graduates from ATU-Ozark

Roberta Friend ATU-Ozark Class of 2022

Roberta R. Friend did not earn her G.E.D. until she was in her 40s. As she approached the age of 70, she felt a desire to continue her education at Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus.

“I wanted to keep my mind active and get out of the house,” said Friend. “I decided I wanted to go to college, and my husband said go for it, so I did.”

Friend, 69 of Ozark, received her Associate of General Studies degree from ATU-Ozark during fall commencement on Saturday, Dec. 10.

“It’s been scary because I seem to be older than a lot of my professors,” said Friend. “It was enjoyable…very enjoyable. I enjoyed interacting with the other students and learning the tactics and strategies they used.”

Friend began her studies at ATU-Ozark in computer science before shifting her emphasis to business.

“I had to get comfortable with the professors and get to feel relaxed around them,” said Friend. “I didn’t know how the other students would interact with me because I’m an older person. I learned how to cope with the age gap. You’re never too old to learn, no matter what. If you are struggling the first couple of years and feel like you just can’t do it, keep on. Even if you have to drop out for a little it, come back to it because you can do it.”

Friend hopes there is more education in her future. After a break, she would like to earn her bachelor’s degree.

“It means the world to me,” said Friend. “I’m not giving up. I just wish my parents were alive to see it.”

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