ballesteros, graduate The graduate.

80-year-old student granted law degree

But María Ballesteros says she's not finished studying yet

Eighty-year-old María Dolores Ballesteros, a grandmother of six, has just been granted a law degree by the University of the Valley of Mexico (UVM) but she’s not finished her studies yet.

She sees her degree as just another step on the way. “This achievement satisfies me, but I am not fulfilled. I feel there’s still more for me,” she told the newspaper El Universal.

Lolita, as the student was known by her classmates, found civil and commercial law compelling, “but I tilt more toward criminal and agrarian law,” she said.

Ballesteros was 18 when she concluded her nursing school studies at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, after which she worked at several hospitals in Mexico, the United States and Canada.

After returning to Mexico she had four children and the grandchildren followed. Then, not satisfied with her achievements, she decided to enroll in university and resume her studies.

Not a fan of cooking, unless there’s no one else around to do it, Ballesteros does love reading and gardening. She is passionate about her collection of orchids.

“I’ve got a small collection . . . from small and young plants to ones that have reached their splendour. I like to look after them a lot, they’re my favorite passtime.”

Classics of literature like Patrick Süskind’s Perfume: The Story of a Murderer and Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment are among her favorite reads, along with crime novels but the law has been her passion.

One of Ballesteros’ grandsons told El Universal that his grandmother’s home was full of law books.

The new graduate describes the current wave of violence as deplorable but she doesn’t see that changing despite the new accusatory justice system.

“Violence outpaces the time it takes [for the law enforcement system] to respond. The laws are there, but they are not being correctly and expeditiously applied.”

Still, the new system is necessary. “What’s new is often distrusted, and some may not see it as favorable but if one analyzes it, it has benefits,” said Ballesteros.

Mexico’s situation can only change through actions, not just words, she said. The way in which each individual can help is by simply doing their part.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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