NEW DELHI: He dropped out of the Delhi University (DU) around 42 years ago.
Rakesh Kumar Rawat, now 70, has got another chance to fulfil his "long-cherished" dream of completing his Master of Laws (LLM) as part of the varsity's 'centenary chance' initiative.
Rawat, a 1979-batch DU student who is now settled in Lucknow, believes that it is never too late to pursue dreams and be a student.
He said he could not complete his degree due to his regular outstation assignments while working for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Now, he is among over 8,200 former DU students who have registered for a second opportunity to complete their degrees.
The varsity has given a one-time chance to allow former students to complete their degrees in view of its year-long centenary celebrations that commenced on May 1.
Rawat, who is also a lawyer, said he is excited about the opportunity as it will help him get deeper knowledge in the field.
"It is a great opportunity for those who are desirous of completing their course. A long-cherished desire will be completed. I want to thank the university for this opportunity," he said.
"During my time in the university, I worked hard but my hard work did not meet the conclusion. With this opportunity, I will be able to get a degree and delve into the study of law," Rawat told PTI over the phone.
Rawat did his LLB from Lucknow and later joined the CBI as an investigative officer.
He was transferred to Delhi and took admission to LLM course at the Delhi University in 1979.
"It was a three-year course -- there were papers in five semesters and one was supposed to submit a dissertation in the last year. I completed four semesters and gave one paper in the fifth semester but due to my job, I had to go far away on assignments so had to drop out and I could not give two of my papers," he said.
Life went on for Rawat who got engrossed in his work.
However, there was a deep-seated yearning to complete the degree.
"I was very keen to complete my degree. I tried different universities for transfer of credit system, but no help came. I came to know about the DU advertisement about the special initiative through one of my friends. I turned out to be eligible and have registered for it," he added.
Rawat's family is supportive of his decision to pursue his degree.
"I have a son and a daughter. At a time when they have completed their education and are settled, I have started mine again," he jokingly said.
He was quick to add: "My family is quite supportive of my decision. They are happy that I am trying". Age is just a number, You should not think that I have retired so I don't have to do anything. It is never too later to pursue your dream. It is good to be student at some age and this is a new experience that when my children have finished their education, I am going back to study. The study must not stop," he added.
In March, DU Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Singh announced that DU students who dropped out would be given a "centenary chance" to complete their studies and get their degrees.
A proposal for this was approved at a special Executive Council meeting on January 28 held to discuss the centenary celebrations of the university.
The eligible candidates can appear for a maximum of four papers for the annual mode of exam and up to eight papers for the semester scheme.
The examination will be conducted tentatively during October this year and March next year through physical mode.
It will be held for theory and practical examination, and not for internal assessment, the university stated.
The university informed that the students while applying for "centenary chance" need to provide the details and documents as required.