GEORGE TOWN - After her children grew up and had good jobs, 64-year-old Zainon Ghazaley decided to focus on her studies and now, she has a PhD she can call her own.
While most people her age opt to spend their time leisurely, the Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj) member wants to be a source of inspiration for the older generation.
"I was occupied with work and family when I was younger. It is when we are older, with more time on our hands, that we can use our time for studies," she said.
Zainon said her son Mohd Shafiq Ali, 27, a co-pilot, and her daughter Suraya Ali, 36, an accountant, had been supportive, and even sponsored her studies.
But her success did not come without challenges.
"I needed a lot of help in the beginning since I was not computer literate. I managed to overcome the setback through time," she said.
Zainon even established the Kajang Elderly Excellent Club last year as a social platform to help the elderly by promoting interaction and educating them on computer usage.
The proud new doctorate degree holder (in Social Work) was among 373 graduates (morning session) of Universiti Sains Malaysia's (USM) 49th convocation yesterday. She received her scroll from university Chancellor Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail, the Raja of Perlis.
Among the guests was Hasnah Hassan, 69, who was moved beyond words to witness her two daughters and a son-in-law graduating with Masters in Education.
"I wish my late husband was here to see this."
Graduates Wan Maizura Wan Mahmud, 43, her sister Wan Sharifah Mastura Wan Mahmud, 45, and the latter's husband Mutalib Mohd Noor, 48, are all teachers.
Wan Sharifah said: "It was difficult since we were juggling work, studies and families. My mother was very supportive, she helped take care of our children."
In the afternoon, 715 other scrolls were handed out, including one to Janariah Jamaludin, 29, who came in place of her late brother Mohd Jasmedey Jamaludin, who died at 26 in May last year of a coronary heart disease.
"It is a proud, yet sad moment for us," said a tearful Janariah.