Roubini Nikolopoulou

Roubini, 48 years old and the mother of two children, is the oldest person in class but misses class the least. A hospital worker, she is been considering going to a technical college to become a nurse’s aide once she finishes the Second Chance School. Why are you returning to school? Aside from great inhibitions, I had to deal with a very serious problem and closed myself off. My daughter offered me a lot of options, but I didn’t like anything. Suddenly one day she said: «Mama, do you want to go to school?» And I said, «of course.» I came here, talked to the director and waited to find out if I got in. Is there a test to get in? We get in through an interview and they select those people who have the greatest need. Unemployment and age also play a role. In the beginning, they said I was wait-listed. I was very upset. Finally, a month later, they called me and, what can I say, it’s like I’ve gained 20 years of life! Your children must have been overjoyed. Greatly. My son sees me studying and says, «Mama, I don’t want to go to school and hear them say you’re a bad student.» Why did you drop out of school in the past? I grew up in a village without a junior high school. I was good student in elementary school. In those days, people believed that girls didn’t have to go to school. Also, it was a half-hour walk to get to school. I didn’t have the money to rent a house in the city. My departed father had his objections. I went to school secretly and he figured it out. Are you still holding a grudge about that? Back then, I got very upset and hurt. A year later my father regretted it but by then I had another goal in life… I wanted to leave the village. An opportunity for marriage came up. It looked good at the time. Can knowledge alone make the person? What do I believe? That someone with street smarts and someone with university smarts can both stand out. But one must complement the other. I may be well-mannered but I can’t move forward in my career with that alone. On the other hand, I have very little to say to a well-educated person who is ill-mannered.

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