Seniors, It’s Never Too Late To Go Back To School!
Try searching the word retirement and most results would involve pictures of the sun, the beach, and seniors in arms-wide-open stance indicative of a free state of mind. However, there are those in the retiring phase who are redefining the word. Instead of being pictured as grandmas knitting or grandpas dosing through an old TV show, some retirees take the time to pick up a new and more active hobby or open up a new business venture like Nealey Godfrey.
But the most amazing thing is, a lot of our retirees and elderlies are not just thinking or planning but are really heading back to educational institutions to learn!
The percentage of individuals over 35 who are enrolled in colleges and graduate schools are expected to rise up to 19% by 2020 from 2009’s 17% in the United States alone. And Canada is no different. In fact, The Third Age University of Quebec (UTAQ), a branch of the Laval University (Université Laval) in Quebec built to help those who are 50 years old and above develop new skills and further their knowledge, reported to having over 20,000 enrollees this year compared to only having 8,000 in 2005. Another Canadian institution, the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education of Ryerson University, boasts of having 70,000 enrollees each year with ages ranging from as young as 17 to as advanced as 80.
A lot of the seniors who decided to go back to college to pursue their first or even second degrees cite financial reasons as the major factor why. Some of them had to face early retirements and needed to ante up their educational arsenal to land another good-paying job. Others needed to stay employed even after their retirements so learning a new set of skills was a must. Simply put, they want to stay relevant in today’s highly competitive job market.
Take for example Theresa Turlis, a former nurse who’s now taking online courses at the Arizona State University. An accident made her decide to leave her job as a nurse (as, according to her, she wasn’t “capable of giving the level of care her patients needed” after it happened). And at 64, she enrolled in the university’s online program taking up a course related to criminal justice.
Now, aside from completing her degree, Turlis works as the assistant of an attorney who specializes in elderly abuse. Furthermore, she’s considering going to law school after she graduates.
On the other hand, there are other elderlies who pursued education even in retirement because they wanted to chase a lifelong dream, something they’ve wanted to do in the past but had to put in the backburner because, well, life happened.
Still, there are those who are pursuing education even at their old age for mental stimulation and socialization.
Age Is Not An Issue
Seniors who are going back to school might be taking this saying to heart: “Learning is a lifelong process.” Whatever the reasons or the circumstances are, age is not an issue when it comes educating one’s self for the better. Learning new skills might be a little harder compared to when one is younger, but it’s not how fast or how slow the ride is. It’s about getting to the destination.