I read frequently about retirees choosing to retire in places where continuing education programs are available. But how do you select what sort of classes to take? One group of retirees tend to see their newly found lifestyle an opportunity to have fun, explore new things and develop new interests. Maybe for them photography, scuba diving or needlepoint classes are the ticket. Others, however, have concerns about finances so perhaps small engine repair, handy man classes or gardening might serve the purpose better. Or maybe your interests are so practical that one class serves both purposes. What kind of classes might you choose to attend, and why?
My Uni offers a dozen or so inexpensive "life long learning classes" every semester taught by retired professors. You never know what you might be interested in until you tried them in class. I like em all, so I guess I will keep taken new ones as they become available.
TroutBum, great idea for a discussion thread! What courses are you thinking about taking?
DRJJG, what have you taken so far?
As a maintenance professional I have a pretty good grasp of most of the practical fix-it type training. One weakness I have is small motor repair and I might jump at that opportunity. I'd really like to take a photography class, just for the fun of it.
I have seen a national organization that offers educational opportunities at various universities called the Osher Lifetime Learning Institute. Our local state university lets seniors in to courses tuition-free when space allows. But from what I see of your interests it sounds like a community or technical school might suit your interests. We have all three of these within 25-30 miles. So you can look into anything from the most academic to the technical like HVAC to just would like to know, depending on your interests.
I have been tempted to take up the university on courses, then I remember the all that work and how irrelevant I thought most of my college courses were. Then i wonder about all of those interesting new topics in IT, my previous profession. Then I start thinking "What the heck, it's 5 o'clock somewhere!". :-))))
But for you, TroutBum, it sounds like Habitat for Humanity is right down your alley. But, I recall that you mentioned that you have built 150+ houses and think that maybe you have been there done that.
Have you sought out any classes that reflect your ID, trout fishing with fly rod, or tying flies?
Now I have it!!! Why don't you teach some of these things? Now there is a challenge. I did a bit of that when we tried to teach PC-illiterate and poor people computer stuff and then refurbished old donated PC's and gave them one. Besides Habitat types are there any high schools with technical/manual type courses that would just love to have a person with real-life skills pop in to add to the educational experiences of young impressionable kids.
TroutBum, you sound like you are the type to find something where you can add or lend value. GOOD LUCK!!! :-)))
JerryD, I'm so glad you mentioned the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. We just posted a blog about all of the different opportunities for continuing education, including the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes at various universities, Coursera online courses and Road Scholar learning-based travel programs. I encourage everyone to check it out: Opportunities for continuing education in retirement.
OLLI has many and diverse classes and they change 2X per year.
There's no doubt I'll be volunteering (and I have done a little Habitat for Humanity volunteering in the past) and I really enjoy that kind of stuff. While looking at lots last week I noticed the boardwalk needed minor repair and the trees needed trimmed back. Right away I told my wife and the realtor that if we bought a lot there, I would address those even before starting construction on a house.
I can also see myself teaching classes on things that interest me but I have to be careful not to volunteer to teach anything that is less than fun or exciting to me. I'd be much better teaching kayaking or volunteering instructional presentations about sea turtles than I would teaching drafting, because I see it as fun, not work. The epithet on my headstone will never say, "He was a patient man" when it comes to anything work related.
TroutBum, I like your thought about teaching what you like and not necessarily what you did. Although I am not well connected to organized activities for teaching outdoors skills and safety, it might be interesting to get involved in teaching the next generations(s) the joys of the outdoors.
This interest of my own has almost been overtaken (by events) - One Laptop Per Child - since it is circa 2005. Folks can take a look at it on yoU-Tube - if you do an internet search - OLPC Kibwezi - there is a video by a film crew Europe (Netherlands) after our group delivered a hundred to a Primary school the summer of 2009. We had taken six there the previous summer.
Re: Continuing education: What classes to take
. The City University of New York campuses offers residents over the age of 60 the ability to audit two classes a semester for processing fee of $80.00. Your verbal participation will depend on the Professor. I have taken several Art and History classes, that I never had time for while and undergrad and grad student. I love to go to Museums here, and when I travel. The classes have really enhanced my knowledge and enjoyment. Art and History are so intertwined.
A big bonus: my student ID provides free entrance to two major museums in the City: MOMA and The Whitney Museum of American Art.
Next might be Digital Photography, it I can get a seat.
I is my understanding that most public colleges/community colleges and universities have similar programs.
That sounds great, Catherine S!
I find that it's fun to take classes totally unrelated to my vocation in the medical field. So - history, anthropology, psychology - all the fun classes that I never had time for when I was an undergrad and grad student. "How To" classes are useful, too, but not as intellectually stimulating as academic classes are.
MollyBailey, do you take classes at a university or online?
I like to get permission to audit, and sit in the big lectures with the students. I enjoy the energy and enthusiasm of young people, so like it better than taking courses especially designed for seniors. The How To coursess are through community rec and ed.
I retired in May. I never really had the time for the studying involved when I was working, but now that I can devote the time I just signed up to take a course to prepare me for the exam for a captain's license issued by the U.S. Coast Guard. I've sailed for many years in New England waters But not as an "official captain."
I'm thinking the studying will help keep my brain engaged and the fact that the course is scheduled in the dead of winter will definitely help keep me occupied in my first winter as a retiree.
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