72-year-old valedictorian inspires young to study

August 08, 2022 - 09:29

Trịnh Đức Chinh has just graduated top of his class at the University of Economics and Finance HCMC with a Master's degree in Business Administration.


For Chinh, learning is about accumulating knowledge, and it's never too late. — Photo Thuỳ Linh/VTC

HCM CITY — Trịnh Đức Chinh has just graduated top of his class at the University of Economics and Finance HCMC with a Master's degree in Business Administration.

For over two years now, the old man with white hair and a kind face sitting at the front desk has become familiar to the members of the MBA class of 2020. This special person is Chinh, the oldest student in the class.

Sharing his learning journey, Chinh said that although the campus is 3km from home, he often walks.

On rainy days, he rides a motorbike by himself. Sometimes his wife or daughter also drives him to school. Although it was a bit difficult, he was always the first to come to class and has never been absent.

When the pandemic hit, like many other students, Chinh switched to online learning.

"Half an hour before class, I was ready to go. Even when I study online, I always remind myself to dress properly and behave seriously because someone behind the computer might be my teacher," Chinh said.

Having worked as an electronic engineer during the online learning process, he had no problems using computers. He also regularly selects information, looking for official reports to document.

"I find every form of learning has its advantages; learning online requires searching for documents, but I have been trained in research skills," he said.

A septuagenarian, his memory also affected his learning process. However, Chinh still overcame many obstacles to complete a new milestone on his learning journey.

On July 27, Chinh successfully defended his graduate thesis with the topic "Factors affecting the development of general aviation in Vietnam."

For the survey results to be of high quality, he sought relevant training courses for comments.

"Whether in Nha Trang or Ha Noi, I also fly out and send the survey to each person. If anyone is unclear, I will discuss and explain in detail," Chinh said.

Besides "lifelong learning," he also imparts knowledge to the next generation. He not only has more than 20 years of experience at the University of Transport, Hồ Chí Minh City, but also teaches many officials and employees at various enterprises.

Chinh is the "idol" of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Every new school year, he also buys a new set of textbooks for himself to study and teach his children.

While studying in the same class with "friends" the same age as his children, Chinh does not have problems with the generation gap. On the contrary, thanks to the knowledge accumulated over decades and his eagerness to learn, he gradually became the "leader" of the class.

"My graduate class had many students who had to be busy with their families, work, and life, so they couldn't fully participate in the sessions. I am retired, and my ability to listen and absorb well is strong. On the days when the group is studying or about to take the exam, what content you do not understand, I will try to convey and explain again," Chinh said.

At an age when everyone just wants to be comfortable and happy with their children and grandchildren, he chose to pursue higher education. 

Chinh explained that for more than half of his life, he studied and worked mainly in engineering and lacked social knowledge. Taking advantage of his free time, he continued attending school to improve his knowledge and skills.

"For me, learning does not discriminate against age. Learning is a lifelong necessity because human knowledge is a wealthy treasure. If we stop learning, we will decline," Chinh said.

After two years of retirement, in early 2012, he resumed his education by studying Financial Accounting and Distance Learning program at Tra Vinh University. At this time, his daughter was a classmate and graduated with him.

After that, with the desire to open a free legal consultation office for his relatives, he continued to study Law in Distance Education program at Tra Vinh University. However, this wish has not been fulfilled because the procedures to open a law office are rigorous.

Graduating with a Bachelor of Law in 2019, he did not allow himself to rest but decided to study for a Masters of Business Administration program in 2020 at the University of Economics and Finance of Ho Chi Minh City.

Thanks to his diligence and hard work, he became the top valedictorian in his class and, most recently, the valedictorian of Master of Business Administration with an overall score of 9.0.

Chinh said that there are still people with fake diplomas in society. However, the core of learning is knowledge. According to Chinh, a fake diploma is "a worm that upsets the soup," causing serious consequences for society.

Although his health is declining, Chinh's spirit is still young. He loves the quote: "The way of life is a ladder without an end, and learning is a book with no final page."

Perhaps that's why he will start his PhD program at the University of Economics and Finance in Ho Chi Minh City next October.

Chinh is not only an example for his children and grandchildren, but also inspires and motivates today's young generation. — VNS