The guy who cleaned toilets became a professor at Cambridge University (8 photos)

29 November 2023

Briton Jason Arday once worked as a night cleaner and a supermarket salesman - and now, at the age of 37, he has become the youngest black professor at the University of Cambridge. As a child, he was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and developmental delays, but nothing stopped him. This story is a simple reminder that anything is possible.

Briton Jason Arday believes in fate - according to the guy, he always knew that he would have to do something big in life. Now, at the age of 37, he is the youngest black professor at the University of Cambridge. Before that, he was a professor at other prestigious universities (Glasgow and Durham), published three books and even raised more than £5 million through charity work. But it was not always so. Jason worked in a supermarket for 15 years and before that as a night cleaner cleaning toilets.

“I had a mantra that I always told myself: ‘It won’t always be this way,’” Jason said.

Jason was born in London to immigrant parents. According to his stories, he always did not have the best environment: many of those with whom he grew up “either died or are in prison.” When he was young, he was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and developmental delays. The doctors said that Jason's life would never be easy, and he would have to face many difficulties in the future. The boy began to be taught sign language, a speech therapist and his mother worked with him, who found all the ways to help her son.

As a teenager, the guy said his first word, “Hello,” and from that time on he stopped using sign language. It wasn't until he was 18 that Jason finally learned to read and earned a degree in physical education. He also started working, cleaning toilets at night and also working in a supermarket. He then earned two master's degrees and a Ph.D., and set a big goal for himself. The young scientist wanted to lecture at prestigious universities such as Oxford or Cambridge. He had no idea that thanks to his own efforts and the support of his loved ones, his dreams would come true quite quickly - in less than 10 years.

At 37, Jason Arday is the youngest black professor in Cambridge's history. Its current goal is even broader - to attract more ethnic minorities to higher education, and to ensure that everyone has a fair chance of obtaining a quality education. Despite his enormous achievements, Jason remains a modest, simple and open guy. He hopes his incredible journey will inspire others to persevere towards their dreams and never give up.

“What has always been important to me is selfless actions that serve the greater good. With humility, faith, hope and love, anything is possible,” says Jason.

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