Friday, August 28, 2009

Continuing Education

I went away to college with the idea that I had to study something practical that would land me a job. This meant I could enjoy those foreign language and English lit classes as electives, but the majority of my credits would be earned in the math department. (I remember being somewhat intrigued with the older woman -- probably all of 45 -- in my honors French class.)

After graduation my math degree and my four years of experience working in the FSU Computer Center did land me a good government job. I moved to DC with the idea that I would work for a couple of years and then go to graduate school.

But those years wore on as I was never sufficiently enamored with math or computer science to throw myself into a degree program. My one grad course in CS at the U of MD was enough to convince me that I really didn’t want to spend years earning more credentials, at least not in that field.

So I decided to postpone going back to school until after I retired, when I could take advantage of all those programs for seniors that offered low-cost college courses. I figured at that point I would be motivated by the love of learning rather than getting a grade or earning a degree.

But in the three years I have been retired, the most enjoyable classes I have taken have been cooking classes (file this away). I loved the new ideas I took away from each of them and felt motivated to go home and try the recipes I had seen demonstrated.

Thanks to a friend’s suggestion, I am now signed up for a 3-session course at the NVJCC entitled “What Happens Next? Jewish Perspectives on the Afterlife.” I have yet to make a commitment to a semester course or a curriculum, much to my surprise.

Maybe those courses will come. Maybe I will take art, philosophy, comparative religion, sociology, Spanish lit, and that whole host of courses that never made it into my college schedule because I was bent on getting a job. Maybe I will take craft courses, like quilting.

But for now it will probably continue to be a short course here and there as something appeals to me or as a friend or my husband wants company.


Blogger bozoette said...

I have always thought that, should I win the lottery, I would go back to school and take whatever appealed to me. Not so much to get a degree or learn a new skill, but just to satisfy my curiosity. I would audit all the courses, because who wants to stress over exams? (Hmm. I should write a post about this.)

3:16 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

I'd be a lifelong student if I could afford it. As it is, my daughter who'd getting her PhD in Higher Ed. supplies me with reading materials.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Bozoette -- I quite agree. It would be such a different experience to take classes without the stress of getting a grade. I was a super-Type-A student, which was one reason I wasn't so anxious to jump back into the academic scene in a degree program.

I'll look for your post! :)

5:05 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- At least you have the reading even if you don't get to attend the lectures. Is that the field you would study if you could co back to school? There is no limit to what one could study, is there?

5:09 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I've never wanted to go back to school. Sometimes I think I should but I have been fighting it tooth and nail!

6:07 PM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

My grandmother was in her seventies when she got her B.A. in English from GW. So I guess it's never too late!

8:53 PM  
Anonymous John said...

Great Post,

I'm gathering this kind of information for my new blog which will be live shortly.

Thanks for it !


continuing education

4:43 AM  

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