Going-Back-to-School

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					Going Back to School

For most of us, our senior citizen years are a time to relax, maybe
pursue a hobby, travel or just relax and let life go by. But, for many,
retirement isn’t just a time to lay the goals of life down. It is a time
to look back over life at the unfinished challenges and then go back and
finish them. And for many, an unfinished goal in life is to go back and
get that degree. Whether it is finally graduating from high school,
finishing your bachelor’s degree or starting and finishing a masters or
PHD, it’s a big challenge to go back to the classroom and get that
certificate, especially when you do that as a senior citizen.

So why do we do it? This may be a question your children ask when they
see you going after such an ambitious goal so late in life. But when you
think about it, we as senior citizens have a right to be a bit offended
by the question. Where is it written that we are denied the right to
better ourselves just because we are in the later years of life?
Implicit in the question is the implication of, “What is the point of you
getting a degree since you are not going to do anyting productive in
retirement and you are so close to death?”

The last thing we as senior citizens want is to be seen as people who are
just sitting around waiting to die. Many a senior citizen has started an
entirely new career and accomplished great things after 50. With the
advances in medical science today, it’s perfectly logical that you could
live 20-30 years or more “in retirement”. That is plenty of time to
accomplish great things. And starting out this era of life with a good
education makes just as much sense as a youth doing so as they start out
on their first career.

This is not to say that going back to school is going to be easy. If
finishing your high school degree is the goal, you are going into an
alien world and one that was probably pretty hostile the first time you
were there. Your presence in the high school or college classroom is
going to be the source of some humor and you might take some teasing for
being there. But those same kids will come to admire what you are doing
and enjoy having “grandpa” in class with them each day.

On top of the social situation you may create in a high school or college
classroom, school is a challenge. You will have to get used to being in
the classroom and listening to lectures, reading textbooks, taking notes,
doing papers and taking exams all over again. If you go after an
advanced degree and take several classes, you will be a very busy senior
citizen just keeping up with your studies.

But there are some joys you can expect from going after an advanced
degree. College life and being on a college campus each day is by itself
a very stimulating environment. And you may find yourself at a few pep
rallies and enjoying campus life just like the other students. Being
with young people each day can be energizing and you may find yourself
looking and acting as much like the youth you “hang out with” as you do
your fellow senior citizens.
But the greatest benefit of getting that advanced degree is the pride or
accomplishment you will get. If you are finishing your high school or
bachelor’s degree, it no doubt nagged you all your life that this was
something that you started and didn’t finish. So by going back and
finishing it, you close that door and take away the power of that nagging
voice.

Don’t be surprised if you fall in love with academic life. Learning is
tremendously addictive and you may wish to go on for yet more studies in
fields of learning that have always fascinated you. Nobody will turn
away your tuition dollars if you just want to be in college for the pure
joy of learning. And you will be an inspiration to your fellow students
when they see you succeed and they tell themselves, “If Grandpa over
there can do it, so can I.”

PPPPP 727

				
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posted:3/14/2011
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