Indulata Jayapal, the oldest 2015 graduate at 74 years old, lives in Albany, New York and works as an adjunct clinical instructor for Mildred Elley. She earned a Master of Science (MS) in nursing degree, specializing in nursing education. Jayapal migrated to the United States from India in 1985 and since that time, has been living in the Capital Region. Excelsior College graduates like Jayapal embody lifelong learning and as her passion for learning has grown, so has her inspiration to share her passion with others. Jayapal proves that there is never an age limit to learning as she shares her educational journey with Excelsior Life.
Excelsior Life: Why did you decide to go back to school?
Jayapal: I went back to school because of my children. I thought if I continued studying, I’d be an example and give them the desire to study too.
Excelsior Life: How did you learn about Excelsior College?
Jayapal: At the time, I worked at Albany Medical Center as an RN and they mentioned Excelsior College as an educational partner. I think it’s a great program. It gives you a chance to study at your leisure. You can do your job, tend to your family, and study. The instructors are extremely student oriented and they go out of their way to meet our needs. If it was not for them, I don’t think I could have completed my degree.
Excelsior Life: Why did you choose to pursue a Master’s degree in Nursing Education?
Jayapal: I feel that nurses need to be able to read, comprehend information, relate to the patients, and teach the patients’ family. When it comes to the nursing students, it’s almost like we’re introducing them to how to think all over again. It’s very challenging but it’s very worthy.
Excelsior Life: Did you face any academic challenges to overcome along the way?
Jayapal: Yes, learning the computer work! But instructors, friends, classmates, and my neighbors helped me along the way.
Excelsior Life: How do you think your education will position you beyond Commencement?
Jayapal: It will help me teach students during clinicals about nutrition which will translate to teaching patients. I am interested in working on a program that promotes nutritional education for patients to promote healthier lifestyles.
Excelsior Life: Do you think that you’ve been able to apply what you’ve learned toward your career?
Jayapal: Yes, they taught us all the metrics of teaching, how to train, how to ask questions, and how to make teaching plans. Without this, I would not have been able to do it.
Excelsior Life: What does having this degree mean to you?
Jayapal: It means a lot! First of all it gives me a status. I have now gained this knowledge and can share it. When [other nurses] discover that at this age (74 years old), that I got my master’s they don’t believe it! But it is so nice that they realize how important it is to continue with your education. It’s not only the getting of the knowledge but the sharing of the knowledge with patients, families, communities.
Jayapal thanks Albany Medical Center for introducing her to Excelsior College as she completes this educational journey. She will be walking across the Commencement stage on Friday with her 87 year old sister and niece in attendance.
On July 10, Hundreds of graduates from across the world will convene in Albany, New York for Excelsior College’s 2015 Commencement, to be held at the Empire State Plaza in downtown Albany, New York. With ‘Commencement Stories’, Excelsior Life explores the personal and educational journeys of a few of this year’s outstanding graduates.
Follow #ExcelsiorGrad2015 for all Commencement-related updates and activities.