Back to school time is here. Signs are everywhere. Stores are running sales on school supplies. Summer vacations are wrapping up. And worn out parents are priming to do the happy dance on the first day of school.
But back to school shouldn’t be for just kids. People over 50 ought to consider heading back to the classroom.
What subject have you always wanted to know more about? Go. Study. Learn.
Why bother? Here’s a couple of quick reasons you ought to consider going back to school.
- Learning keeps the brain active and nimble. I’m convinced as we age the brain will atrophy if allowed to sit parked in front of the TV for hours.
- You deserve it. For all these years you’ve sacrificed. You made sure the kids got off to school with a sack lunch in hand. Now it’s your turn to learn.
- It might help you earn extra money during the transition from full time employment to full time retirement. For many people income is needed until able to draw full social Security. Learn something which will help you make money doing what you love.
- It’s fun. My own geekiness is showing through but I love to learn. Maybe the thought of taking a class turns your stomach. But your reaction might be because in high school you accumulated some bad memories. Forget all that. Give learning another chance.
Studying a new subject has never been easier. Opportunities for learning abound. Here’s a few ideas.
- Start your own book club. Find someone to read a book with. Several years ago a friend and I met and discussed Gone With the Wind. Out of that experience an informal book club was started. We now have 6 members in the Bowtie Boys Book Club!
- Your local YMCA, high school, and college often offer continuing education classes for a nominal fee. Explore your community and see what’s available. You will be surprised by what is offered in your own backyard.
- You can do a lot of learning these days by doing online classwork. Most major universities off this option. This is a highly structured way to learn while at home. You actually have a real group of people who learn with you. The teacher monitors the discussion and grades the homework. Do a little digging and you will discover many opportunities to learn using this model.
- There is a company called The Great Courses. This company has been around for a while and offer college level courses on all sorts of subjects. You can buy a DVD or stream the classes off the internet. If you want to learn about Quantum Physics or the literature of great American authors this is the place to do it. HOT TIP: I have it on good authority within the next 60 days the company is going to offer a subscription model. For example for a monthly fee you can learn all you want. You can check out this company by clicking HERE.
- Another online option is Udemy.com. The prices on these classes go all the way up to $500. But here’s the deal. These often go on sale for under $30 and some classes are even free. I wrote an entire blog about this option several weeks ago. To read that post click HERE.
Yes! It’s back to school. But back to school isn’t just for kids. Give it a try. You might like it.
Randy – great article…I too love the classroom….reading, learning….Kent wants me to write a book, and I want to learn a couple languages and to play the piano … :-)
Geekiness? Bowtie Boys? Well, you’re alright in my book, Randy. And I, for one, love learning…I’m an old lady, but the world, and each new day, is my classroom…I just learned to quilt four years ago…and write! I have no use for TV, so I have a lot of time to read. And I must say, I learn a lot about what God says in His book when I journal every day…that’s my homework. :) There is SO much to learn!!
I love to learn as well! Am working at a high school and at 56 am going back to school to get my teaching certificate in art. Crazy? Sometimes I think so. Scared? Yeah, for sure. But help others? I hope so! A new journey after putting in my time. :-)
Garry! Really proud you are going back to school. You will do great.
Great post Randy, I agree 100%. One additional option for those interested in arts and crafts is to attend an immersive folk school experience–I’m doing that right now. You live on campus, for a weekend to two months, learning under the instruction of masters in fiber arts, glass blowing, wood carving, metalsmithing and more, and if the option to do work study is available you can reduce the cost. It’s the best kind of vacation, and can jump start your “second life”. Search for Penland, John C Campbell, the Clearing, Haystack or “folk school” for more.
I’m not a boomer, but today, at 37, I begin classes to earn a degree in psychology. I plan to continue on to achieve a msw. It will be long road, but I know this is where God is calling me. Who knows, I may be retirement age when I finish ;)