You gotta do more than just dreamMay 14, 2012 @ 8:59 am (Updated: 9:03 am - 5/14/12 )
Gac Filipaj is a janitor who just graduated from Columbia. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
If the presidential campaign is leaving you cold, with its parade of trumped-up issues, contrived speeches and dopey ads, and you're looking for inspiration, how about this.
"Nineteen years of hard work and learning behind him, Gac Filipaj, 52, graduated from Columbia University today," said a news report.
Gac Filipaj is a janitor, who 19 years ago left his native Yugoslavia rather than get drafted for the ethnic cleansing that was going on at the time.
He'd been studying law, and so when he got here, he purposely chose to become a janitor at Columbia University-- cleaning the bathrooms-- because university employees could take 14 credits a year FREE. And that's exactly what he did.
"A good education it's very important, not just for individuals, but for society as a whole," said Filipaj.
And after 19 years, during which he learned to read ancient Latin and Greek, and wrote a thesis on the Roman philosopher Seneca, Filipaj got his degree Sunday. As for what he can do with a degree in Classics -- maybe teach.
"There is a saying that Seneca said, "While you teach, you learn," said Filipaj.
But he's pretty much going to stay a janitor for now. So I suppose this isn't quite a fairy tale ending. Except maybe it is. Because as Seneca also said "It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor."
Plus, as a janitor, unlike many of his fellow Classicists -- he'll be making $22 an hour.
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