Debbie Conradie enrolled for a veterinary science course at the age of 51 – and now she is graduating!

Posted on April 22, 2015

Debbie Conradie’s dream of working with animals was realised when she received her Diploma in Veterinary Nursing at the University of Pretoria’s Autumn Graduations this year. Previously, Debbie studied for a course unrelated to animals, but she could not let her childhood dream of working with animals go unfulfilled, and at the age of 51 she enrolled for a programme in veterinary nursing.

Debbie’s passion for working with animals comes from her childhood experiences of seeing veterinarians work with animals. However, after completing school she studied for something else, but the dream of becoming a veterinarian never died. To satisfy her urge to work with animals, she enrolled for a few animal behaviour courses and also landed a job at a veterinary practice. 

In 2012, Debbie registered for a Diploma in Veterinary Nursing at the Faculty of Veterinary Science at UP, and this year her years of hard work and commitment to her studies finally paid off.

Debbie never let her personal setbacks, such as divorce, or her age deter her from achieving her dream. She attributes her success to the support she received from her family as well as to hard work and commitment to her studies, which often put her among the top ten students in her class.

“It was a huge undertaking and at times overwhelming, but I did it! I would not say that my age hampered me in any way. Everyone among my family and friends supported me and they are all very proud of me. Most of all, though, I am proud of myself!” she said.

Debbie strongly believes that if one really desires something, even though on the surface it looks impossible, one should not give up trying to make it happen. “Age and circumstances do not have to be an issue. It’s all in the way you choose to see it,” she said.

- Author Department of University Relations

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